Duterte’s war on drugs could bring back ‘wild West’–Lacson
PRESIDENT-ELECT Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs could turn the country into a “Wild Wild West.”
That’s what worries Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chief of the Philippine National Police and anticrime czar during the Estrada administration.
Lacson was reacting to Duterte’s call for citizens to arrest drug traffickers and shoot them if they resist.
Duterte has also promised a hefty bounty of up to P5 million for the arrest or death of a drug lord.
“While there is a provision in the Revised Penal Code that allows citizen arrest and self-defense is a valid legal defense for killing a person, the danger of the president-elect’s proposal is that civilians are not trained to gather and process intelligence or conduct operations against armed criminals,” Lacson said in a text message yesterday.
“The situation could escalate into a serious peace and order problem in the entire country,” he said. “No peace loving citizens need and deserve a ‘Wild Wild West’ environment,” he said, referring to the violence attending the western migration in the United States in the 1800s.
Lacson noted the “tedious” task in coming up with an order of battle of drug suspects. “The OB is a classified document and declassifying it follows a defined procedure and timeline, hence the public has no direct or indirect access to it,” he said.
“Private citizens should be encouraged instead to report to the authorities the presence of drug pushers and drug lords and that is where the incentive of a monetary reward should come into play,” Lacson said.
Citizen’s arrest is provided for under the law, said Sen. Vicente Sotto II. He said the difference now was that Duterte was offering a bounty for drug traffickers.
“I would advise citizens to be very careful,” Sotto told reporters yesterday. “These drug dealers are armed.”
Sen. Gregorio Honasan said there was no need to be alarmed by Duterte’s pronouncements.
“I don’t think he will go beyond the limits of the Constitution and laws which the president is sworn to uphold and defend,” Honasan said in a phone interview.
Honasan likewise pushed for the activation of the barangay information system or the “iskinita” system so information on suspected drug lords could be passed to law enforcers before any confrontation happens.
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