Aguirre cites convictions in 2013 Subic drug case
JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has vowed government’s relentless efforts to crush crime syndicates as he lauded the conviction of those behind one of the Philippines’ biggest drug busts in recent history, where an estimated P2 billion worth of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) was seized.
Police in Subic arrested Albert Chin and Romeo Manalo on Aug. 11, 2013, and seized 432 kilograms of shabu from them. The illegal drugs were found in 22 gym bags and balikbayan boxes and authorities took 18 hours to haul all the shabu to the police station.
Chin and Manalo were sentenced to life in prison on Friday and fined P1 million each.
Their arrest was “one of the biggest drug busts in the history of the Philippines,” Aguirre said in a statement.
“This is a major victory in the President’s war on drugs. It sends a chilling effect to all involved in the drug trade in the country,” he added.
With the convictions, Aguirre said the government has “sent a very strong warning and message” to drug syndicates.
“Deal with drugs and you will find neither refuge nor respite from the law. We will be relentless in pursuing you. We will be relentless in prosecuting you,” he said.
Aguirre said the effective actions of the national police, prosecutors and judges to put drug gangs behind bars was helping to restore the public’s trust in the government, even as rights groups continue to question the high toll of suspects killed in police operations and by vigilante groups.
The European Union in the Philippines, meanwhile, urged more protection for human rights defenders as their job had become more crucial amid the rising death toll.
“While the number of drug-related killings in the Philippines has recently attracted public and international attention, we should not lose sight of the plight of human rights defenders who continue to work in difficult situations,” EU Ambassador Mattias Lentz said at a Human Rights Summit held on Friday.
Citing the 2016 report by Dublin-based NGO Frontline International, Lentz said there were 31 human rights defenders who were killed in the Philippines in 2015 out of a total of 156 killings around the globe.
Among those slain was Gloria Capitan, a human rights defender with connections to Medical Action Group and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, who was shot dead by two unidentified men in Bataan two months ago.
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