DRUG HAUL. Two cousins are caught with 5.12 kilos of shabu worth PHP34.8 million in a buy-bust in Cebu City on March 26, 2022. Sale of shabu, regardless of quantity and purity, carries the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine ranging from PHP500,000 to PHP10 million. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Senator Ronald Dela Rosa said the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs which he chairs would likely discontinue the proceedings on Senate Bill No. 202 that seeks to decriminalize drug use.

In an interview Monday, Dela Rosa said he pushed for the measure hoping to decongest jails and transfer convicted drug users to drug rehabilitation facilities.

However, he found out that some jails are not crowded anymore while the law enforcement community strongly disagreed with his bill.

"Huwag na lang siguro ituloy lalong lalo na at umayaw 'yung law enforcement community sa idea na ‘yun dahil it would send a wrong signal daw sa mga tao na it's okay to use drugs. Anyway, 'di ka naman makukulong. Mare-rehab lang. So, nagdadalawang-isip na tayo (We might not continue it anymore, especially after the law enforcement community did not agree with the idea because it would send a wrong signal to the people that it's okay to use drugs. Anyway, they will not be convicted. They will only be sent to rehab. So, we are now having second thoughts)," Dela Rosa told reporters during a distribution activity of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations at Caloocan High School.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who was also at the event, also expressed his reluctance on the measure because it may be prone to abuse.

"Talagang pag-isipan po nating mabuti na i-decriminalize ang drug use dahil maaari pong maabuso po ito at hindi na po natin makontrol itong paggamit ng ilegal na droga. Kung i-decriminalize po ito, baka wala na pong takot ang ating mga kababayan (We have to think about decriminalizing drug use thoroughly because it might be abused and we cannot control the use of illegal drugs. If we decriminalize this, people will not be scared [to use illegal drugs])," Go said.

"Dapat po talagang takutin sila. Kapag walang takot, hindi po titigil ang mga 'yan (They should be scared. Without fear, they will not stop)," he added.

Former senator Panfilo Lacson similarly opposed his fellow former chief of the Philippine National Police with a warning that decriminalizing the use of illegal drugs will widen the market base.

“Decriminalizing drug use is a very bad idea. Why? It will inflate the market for drugs. When demand is high, supply will become abundant,” Lacson said in a tweet on Sunday. (PNA)