Palace shrugs off Gordon’s tirade vs. drug war

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

April 6, 2022, 4:58 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday brushed aside Senator Richard Gordon’s fresh tirade against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s anti-narcotics drive.

In a virtual presser, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, also acting presidential spokesperson, dismissed as a mere “political noise” the claim of Gordon that Duterte seemed to have failed to end the drug problem in the country.

“As we all know, we are in the middle of the campaign season and this is part of the political noise,” Andanar said, when sought to react to the statement of Gordon, who is seeking reelection in the May 9, 2022 national elections, on Duterte’s drug war.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Gordon branded Duterte as “idol of the blind.”

Gordon also blasted Duterte for the latter's alleged unfulfilled promise to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in his first three to six months in power.

On March 31, Duterte expressed optimism that the country’s next president would also be eager to eradicate illegal drugs.

Duterte also bared his plan to discuss with his successor the gravity of the drug problem in the country and its possible resurgence if the anti-narcotics campaign is terminated.

According to the latest Real Numbers data released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, a total of 24,379 out of the 42,045 villages have been declared drug-cleared since the Duterte government waged a war on illegal drugs in July 2016.

As of February 2022, around 6,606 villages have remained drug-free while 11,060 have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs.

Authorities have also seized a total of PHP76.01 billion worth of illegal drugs, including PHP63.46 worth of shabu.

The conduct of the 229,868 anti-illegal drug operations led to the arrest of around 14,648 high-value targets and the death of 6,235 drug suspects.

On March 29, Duterte ordered the PDEA to furnish the human right groups with a copy of the report on the government’s anti-narcotics drive to enlighten them about the drug problem in the country. (PNA)