Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Manny Pacquiao on March 1, 2017 defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to rejoin his war on drugs.
Both senators claim that drug dealers are back on the streets after President Duterte suspended the PNP’s role in the government’s anti-drug operations.
“I agree na kailangan ipagpatuloy ‘yan dahil nakita niyo, nung hininto biglang bumalik ‘yung kalakalan ng droga so ipagpatuloy talaga ‘yan. Hindi pwedeng magrelax-relax,” Pacquiao said.
Cayetano added that use of illegal drugs “accounts for 40 to 60 percent of crimes in the country.”
“Hindi pwedeng sabihin tigil na lang yung war on drugs kasi may mga abuse, ang kailangan itigil, yung abuso,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP Chief, said he is in favor of the President's plan.
On Tuesday, President Duterte announced that he has asked the PNP to rejoin his war on drugs.
President Duterte said that he told PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to form task forces at every station for drug operations.
“I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao. And I am also fighting again with the NPAs and I have this problem in Mindanao about terrorism and drugs. So kailangan ko ng tao. I have to call back the police again to do the job most of the time sa drugs. Hindi lahat. Hindi lahat,” he added.
President Duterte suspended the PNP's involvement in the drug war after the death of South Korean National Jee Ick Joo, who was allegedly abducted and killed inside in Camp Crame by anti-drug operatives.
President Duterte then denounced the PNP as a corrupt organization, directing Dela Rosa to conduct a cleansing of the police force.
When asked whether the PNP's Oplan Tokhang will also be back, President Duterte said: “I will leave it to the police to decide. If that is the best way to do it, fine.”
Cayetano said President Duterte has never tolerated alleged abuse of policemen.
“Does the PNP need to reform? Yes. From the start, sinabi ni Pangulong Duterte na maraming reporma na kailangan sa pulis,” he said.
He said drug-related killings can only be avoided if drug users and pushers voluntarily surrender.
“The mere fact na grabe ang drugs eh meron talagang mamamatay. Ang question, gusto niyo ba protektahan ang pusher at itigil ang war on drugs o gusto mo protektahan ang pamilya mo and unfortunately may resulting death?” Cayetano said.
Pacquiao, for his part, said the use of drugs despite the government’s anti-drug operations is tantamount to “rebelling” against God.
“You’re disobeying the command of the land and the command of God because the Bible says whoever is rebelling against the authorities is rebelling against what God has instituted,” he said.