De Lima dares Duterte to apprehend big-time drug pushers, users

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today dared President Duterte to run after big-time drug lords and drug users who remain scot-free instead of simply targeting the poor and the helpless in his administration’s all-out war on drugs.

De Lima made the statement after an Indian national was nabbed for purportedly supplying “party drugs” to clubs and admitted that his clients include politicians, celebrities and affluent families, among others.

“How can this government succeed in its much-avowed campaign to solve the drug menace in the country when it only targets the ordinary Juan de la Cruzes whom he thinks incapable of protecting themselves?” she asked.

“Roughly two years since he launched his all-out war on illegal drugs, Duterte still failed to go after high-profile drug pushers and users who unabashedly continue with their illegal activities,” she said.

Based on news reports, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested Indian national Rajiv Gidwani and his Filipino accomplice Jeremiah Alero Carillo for allegedly selling pricey recreational drugs to Metro Manila’s “high society” in a buy-bust operation at Alabang Hills Village in Muntinlupa City last May 25.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino confirmed that the authorities seized supposed illegal drugs worth over P1 million such as “kush,” a high-grade type of marijuana, ecstasy tablets and liquid ecstasy or “ketamine” which was believed to be smuggled from India.

De Lima said she found it alarming how Gidwani reportedly admitted, as confirmed by Aquino, that “[the suspect’s] clients are celebrities, millennials, affluent families and models–those who are well-off in life–because he’s selling expensive drugs. [T]here were also some politicians.”

“Kung matapang talaga si Duterte, bakit mukhang naduduwag siyang panagutin ang tunay at maimpluwensyang drug users at pushers? Bakit laging mahihirap lang ang biktima at tinatarget ng kanilang gyera laban sa droga?” she asked.

The Senator from Bicol likewise urged Duterte to reassess his administration’s murderous war on drugs which took the lives of more than 20, 000 suspected drug offenders without the benefit of due process.

“He (Duterte) should not allow suspected drug offenders–regardless of his/her social class or his/her relationship to him– to evade justice and go unpunished, the same way that he should not allow suspected offenders to get killed without giving them a day in the court,” she said.

Note that during the campaign period, Duterte promised to end illegal drug trade in three to six months, but he later on admitted that the drug menace could not be solved easily and that the campaign would have to continue until the end of his term in 2022.

A staunch critic of injustices happening in the country since Duterte assumed presidency, De Lima vowed to defend human rights even while in detention for politically-motivated trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the present administration.

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