Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Duterte administration to rethink its anti-drug policy which has miserably failed in stopping criminal syndicates from the illegal drugs trade but instead led to the killings of thousands of individuals.
De Lima, a known human rights defender, said the government’s war on drugs is a dismal failure because it only led to the summary killings of poor individuals, including innocent ones. It targets the powerless but allows big-time offenders to remain scot-free.
“Niloloko na lang ni Duterte ang sarili niya sa pag-iisip na gumagana ang palpak niyang War on Drugs. Sa loob ng dalawang taon, nagbunsod lang ang marahas at madugo niyang polisiya sa pagpatay sa libu-libong maralitang Pilipino, habang malaya pa rin, kundi man inaabswelto ang malalaking drug lords,” she said.
“Kungsabagay, wala naman talaga tayong aasahan kay Duterte na ubod ng sinungaling. Wala pa talaga siyang nagawa sa kanyang termino kundi ang magpapatay, magmura, mambastos at manira ng kredibilidad ng mga tutol sa kanyang baluktot na pamamahala,” she added.
Since Duterte launched his war on drugs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded a total of 22,983 cases of killings that were classified as deaths under inquiry (DUI), but it claimed that the recorded homicide cases under investigation (HCUI) were different from incidents of drug suspects who were killed in police operations.
Human rights watchdogs, however, have pinned the drug war deaths, including those from vigilante-style killings and “legitimized” police operations at an estimate of 23,000, with minors – including four-year-old Skyler Abatayo from Cebu City – literally being caught in the barrage.
“Obviously, Duterte’s drug list has not produced the filing of criminal charges, but instead resorted to ‘short-cuts’ with the killing-spree of small-time drug users and dealers. Worse, we have yet to see or hear high-profile drug traffickers getting apprehended,” the Senator pointed out.
De Lima, the staunchest critic of the administration’s war on drugs, remains illegally detained over trumped-up drug charges based on testimonies of convicted felons who struck a deal with the government to pin her down in exchange for own privileges.
“With the privileges given to these convicted felons, Duterte enabled them to resume their illegal drug operations which only show that as long as you are willing to cooperate with Duterte’s evil scheme, you can get away with anything,” she said.
With Duterte’s “promotion” of the culture of violence, policemen were also involved in cases of abuses against women that were documented from January 2017 to July 2018 by the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR).
Based on CWR’s report, 33 policemen have committed abuses against women with their cases ranging from rape (48%), acts of lasciviousness (36%), physical assault (12%), to harassment (3%).
“Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs has inspired this culture of violence and brutality. He should realize that violence will never solve the drug menace in the country and will only lead to more crimes committed by state authorities,” she said.
Last year, De Lima through Senate Resolution (SR) No. 499, urged the appropriate Senate committee to investigate the successive reports of killings of children either by police or vigilantes.
A staunch critic of injustices happening in the country since Duterte assumed presidency, De Lima vowed to protect human rights of women and children even while in detention for trumped-up drug charges fabricated by the present administration.