Lacson: Duterte can’t do it in 3-6 months
CEBU CITY—Former Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson —who served as director general of the Philippine National Police for two years—on Monday said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s promise to rid the country of corruption, crime and illegal drugs in three to six months should he be elected president is not doable.
Duterte made the promise during the first televised presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections on Sunday.
“Without taking anything away from Mayor Duterte, knowing he had proven his ability in Davao City, I think that promise would be difficult to fulfill… it’s not doable,” Lacson said in an interview over local radio station dyLA on Monday.
Duterte has said that he will order the killing of all criminals, but this would be done in accordance with the law.
Lacson, who is running for senator as an independent candidate, said solving crime entails strategic and tactical planning. The police, he said, must employ strategies to suppress and prevent crimes and this would need massive police visibility.
He said this would be a huge task, what with only 150,000 policemen protecting 100 million citizens spread across the country.
Suspected criminals, he said, should be given due process under the country’s laws.
“Once you assume the presidency, you cannot just pull an Armalite rifle and shoot all drug lords, gun down all criminals. That is not how the democratic system works. We have to respect due process,” Lacson said in Filipino.
He said policemen could kill suspected criminals in self-defense or to defend a victim, but not all criminals resist arrest during a police operation.
“So they will be arrested, and the police must convince witnesses to testify for the filing of charges until the suspect’s conviction. However, under our judicial process, it’s difficult to even get a conviction in a year and if convicted, the accused can still appeal his case in the Supreme Court,” he said.
Lacson said law enforcers need diligent intelligence work to find drug lords and other criminals.
“That is not an easy task. Duterte’s pronouncement that he could stop crime in three to six months was very bold. All forms of crime will be with us to stay, no matter how effective or efficient our leaders are,” he said.
While Lacson respects Duterte’s view, he said he just wanted to be practical about it.
“We should be practical and it takes common sense, in my view. You cannot end criminality even in a year,” he said. Jhunnex Napallacan and Carla Gomez, Inquirer Visayas
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