PH turns to a ‘narco-state’ under Duterte – De Lima

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PH turns to a ‘narco-state’ under Duterte – De Lima

The Philippines has become a narco-state under the presidency of Mr. Duterte who is exceptionally indifferent in going after drug lords who smuggle tons of illegal drugs into the country, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has claimed.

While the administration continues to have a bland response to the smuggling of billions of pesos worth of shabu by high profile personalities, De Lima lamented it has no qualms in ordering the killings of suspected small-time drug pushers and users.

In her recent Dispatch from Crame No 411, De Lima shared the pattern which show Mr. Duterte’s obvious “disinterest” in going after big-time smugglers and drug lords: “First, there is a denial, and then a whitewash.”

“In the two years that billions of pesos worth of shabu was smuggled into the country, one thing is clear. Duterte is not interested in going after the drug lord smugglers, or the Customs and other government officials who cover up their role or incompetence in the smuggling,” she said.

“Instead, he is the first to clear anyone of responsibility and frustrate any serious investigation on this network of drug lords, drug smugglers, and Customs officials that all point to a very influential person as the alleged leader of the so-called Davao Group,” she added.

De Lima noted that billions of pesos worth of shabu has slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and was smuggled successfully into the country twice, and perhaps even more, the most recent of which was the entry of P6.8-billion worth of illegal drugs into the country last August.

According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the said smuggled shabu worth P6.8B which was supposedly contained in magnetic lifters that slipped through Customs has now found its way in the market.

De Lima also cited reports where former Customs X-Ray Chief Lourdes Mangaoang admitted that if not for incompetence, or deliberate omission, Customs officials could have detected any illegal shipment hidden inside the hollow magnetic lifters.

“Despite these confirmations, the BoC and Malacañang, including Duterte himself, continue to deny the existence of this shipment,” she said.

“In the meantime, no official investigation as to who are responsible for this latest billion-peso shabu smuggling is ordered by Duterte. No Customs official is investigated or fired,” she said, noting how Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña continues to avoid responsibility for his agency’s incompetence in stopping the smuggling of shabu.

With repeated incidence of huge shipments of drugs being successfully smuggled into the country, De Lima said it is clear that Duterte’s drug war is just part of the cover-up of large-scale drug operations controlled by drug lords and their government protectors.

“What is [c]lear is that Duterte is just letting shabu smuggled into the country find its way into our streets, to be sold by small-time drug pushers and addicts who are in turn marked for summary execution by the PNP and its death squads,” she said.

“This is the real Philippine Narco-State that Duterte has built for himself, and for which he alone is responsible as the President who made it all possible,” she added.

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