De Lima: Resumption of drug war ‘height of arrogance,’ ‘reckless’
By Yuji Vincent Gonzales
2017-03-01 12:41:01
Senator Leila de Lima AP

Senator Leila de Lima. AP

Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday slammed the Duterte administration’s plan to resume its war on drugs, saying that rogue policemen should be weeded out of their ranks first and be held accountable for their crimes.

“It’d be the height of arrogance if our government would resume its most murderous war on drugs without correcting its defects, without getting rid of corrupt policemen, and without making them accountable for their crimes,” De Lima said in a statement.

“Like many of you know, the illegal drug abuse and trafficking present a persistent problem not only for the Philippines but also for other countries. We are against drug trade, but we should not allow innocent people summarily killed,” she added.

De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison, which the senator has vehemently denied. De Lima, the most vocal critic of the administration, had dismissed the charges as politically motivated and personal vendetta.

Speaking to reporters in Malacañang, Duterte on Tuesday said he would have to call some of the police back to his war on drugs. PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa earlier said the police force would welcome a resumption of its antidrug operations following reports that drug perpetrators were supposedly back on the streets during the campaign’s suspension.

Calling the war on drugs as “reckless” and a “dismal failure,” De Lima urged the government to do away with its “Oplan Tokhang” and form an antidrug campaign that “respects and protects the fundamental human rights of individuals, including suspected drug offenders.”

“It is reckless, to say the least, to allow the resumption of the anti-drug operations of the Philippine National Police which is more interested in the incentives given them than in investigating and preventing death-squad-style killings,” De Lima said.

“The present war on drugs is a dismal failure because there were innocent individuals who were summarily killed, those who were apprehended were not accorded due process of the law, and only the poor were targeted,” she added.

Duterte suspended the war on drugs in January at the height of controversy surrounding the murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside police headquarters in Camp Crame. ASU

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