Duterte’s drug war almost perfect: PDP-Laban Senate bets

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

April 26, 2022, 4:18 pm

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

(File photo)

MANILA – At least three senatorial candidates of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), gave the Chief Executive a near perfect score for fighting illegal drugs.

In a joint press conference on Tuesday, PDP-Laban senatorial bets Salvador Panelo, Astra Pimentel, and Rey Langit touted Duterte’s drug war as a success, citing the seizure of illegal drugs and the reduction in drug-related crimes in the country.

On a scale of one to 10, Duterte received a perfect score from Pimentel who believed the President has done his best to address the drug problem.

“Para kay President, on a personal level, 10 iyang si President Duterte sa kanyang war on drugs (For the President, on a personal level, President Duterte deserves to receive a grade of 10 on his war on drugs),” she said, when asked to rate Duterte’s drug war.

Pimentel, however, said she would only give an “eight of 10” grade on the “whole aspect” of the anti-narcotics drive, given that there are some workers in the government who refused to cooperate because of their supposed involvement in the illegal drug trade.

Langit likewise said he would give Duterte a score of “9.5,” considering the Chief Executive’s admission that the drug problem would remain unsolved beyond his term.

“Aminado naman dito ang ating Pangulo na bababa siya na meron pa rin somehow na mag-aattempt at ibabalik itong ganitong challenge ng ating period, ng ating era pagdating po sa ating laban sa droga (The President admitted that when he steps down from office, there would be attempts to make the fight against illegal drugs more challenging),” he said.

Panelo, on the other hand, said Duterte’s drug war deserves a “nine out of 10” rating, noting its effectiveness in dismantling illegal drugs and eliminating public fear of unsafe streets due to the presence of drug addicts.

“On a scale of 10, it should be 9. Kasi (Because) if you’ll notice, malaki na ang pinagbago ng sitwasyon ng drug operation sa bansa (the situation on drug operation in the country has improved),” he said. “Ang kagandahan po, pag pumasok, nahuhuli ulit. Mahirap kung pumapasok at hindi rin nahuhuli (It’s good that authorities have been able to seize illegal drugs).”

No need for apology

Duterte vowed to pursue a relentless fight against illegal drugs until his term ends in June 2022.

He also expressed his desire to discuss the gravity of the drug problem with his successor to convince the latter to continue his administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.

Amid criticisms thrown against Duterte’s drug war due to the supposed killings of drug personalities, Panelo said there is no need for the President to issue a public apology.

Panelo, who was Duterte’s former spokesperson, insisted that the drug-related killings are not state-sponsored, saying the members of the drug syndicates are killing each other.

“Malaki ang nagawa ni Presidente (The President has done so much [to stop the drug menace]),” he said. “There’s no need for him to apologize. Bakit mag-apologize? Eh ginawa lang niya yung trabaho niya (Why would he apologize? He’s just doing his job), except for the killings. We recognize the fact that marami ang nagawa niya sa problema ng droga (he has done a significant stride in addressing the drug problem).”

Pimentel expressed hope that the public also shared the same view that Duterte is successful in dealing with the problem of illegal drug trade in the country.

“Itong ginawa niya (What he did) is a seed that has been planted. At lahat tayo na citizen ng ating bansa, sana nakita kung gaano kahalaga ang ginawa ng Pangulong Duterte (I hope that all the country’s citizens appreciate the importance of President Duterte’s [war on illegal drugs]),” she said.

A total of PHP76.01 billion worth of illegal drugs have been seized nationwide from July 2016 to February 2022, according to the Real Numbers data of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Around 14,648 high-value targets and 331,694 individuals involved in illegal drugs have been arrested as of February 2022. (PNA)