Pacquiao defends war on drugs: Drug lords, not cops, kill people

Camille Elemia
The neophyte senator met with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, August 1, and discussed the administration's programs against criminality

MINDANAOANS. President Rodrigo Duterte and neophyte senator Manny Pacquiao meet at Malacañang Palace on August 1, 2016. Photo by King Rodriguez/PPD

MANILA, Philippines – Neophyte senator Manny Pacquiao fully supports President Rodrigo Duterte and his fight against drugs and criminality, despite allegations of extrajudicial killings.

Pacquiao defended Duterte and the Philippine National Police (PNP) from allegations, saying they are stewards of the law. The drug lords, not the police, are responsible for the killings, he said.

“Si President at kapulisan natin ay ayaw nila lumabag sa batas. Sinusunod nila ang due process… Alam n’yo ‘yung iba kasi, may ibang mga drug lord pinapatay na rin nila ‘yung mga tao nila dahil baka magsumbong. ‘Yun ang nangyayari,” Pacquiao told reporters on Tuesday, August 2.

(President Duterte and our policemen do not want to violate the law. They follow due process… You know, there are some drug lords who kill their men because their men might squeal on them. That’s what is happening.)

The senator said he, as a parent, is more worried that the problem of drugs would worsen. (READ: Music, drugs, and alcohol: Do young Filipinos party to get high?)

“Nababahala ako kasi may mga anak ako. Nababahala ako pag ‘di nalutas ‘yung krimen sa droga. Napakaimportante ‘yan,” he added.

(I’m worried because I have children. I’m worried that the problem of drugs, crimes won’t be solved. It’s important to address the problem.)

If there’s one thing he realized at the height of the drug controversy, he said, it’s that the President is the right man for the position.

Pacquiao said had Duterte lost the presidency, the nation would not realize how big the problem is. He could not have imagined then how drugs proliferate even in small barangays.

“Now I realize everything – na talagang kaya nilagay si Digong na maging presidente dahil ganun na pala katalamak ang droga sa Pilipinas,” Pacquiao said.

“So kung ‘di naging presidente si Digong, patuloy laganap ang droga, maraming magiging siraulo sa pamamagitan ng bisyo.”

(Now I realize everything – the reason why Digong was elected president is because drugs are everywhere in the Philippines. If Digong hadn’t become president, drugs would continue to proliferate, many lives would be ruined because of drugs.)

ONE-ON-ONE MEETING. President Rodrigo Duterte leads Senator Manny Pacquiao to the Study Room of Malacañang Palace on August 1, 2016. Photo by Rey Baniquet/PPD

Pacquiao met with Duterte on Monday, August 1, at Malacañang Palace. This is not the first time the two met, as Pacquiao was among Duterte’s early visitors in Davao City even before the latter’s proclamation.

Asked what they talked about, the senator said they discussed the President’s programs against criminality and his desire to restore death penalty – something that Pacquiao also strongly supports.

“‘Yung mga magagandang programa sa ating bansa tsaka sa pagsugpo ng krimen dito sa Pilipinas, droga – ‘yun ang pinag-usapan namin. Hinihiling niya sa taumbayan na ‘yung death penalty ay mapasa na para makatulong rin,” Pacquiao said.

(The good programs in our country, as well as the fight against criminality and drugs in the Philippines – those are what we talked about. President Duterte is appealing that death penalty be restored so it can help deter crimes.)

It was Pacquiao who sought the meeting. Teased by media that he is special for bagging a one-on-one encounter with Duterte, Pacquiao shyly said: “Mindanaoan eh.” (I’m also a Mindanaoan like the President.)

Pacquiao recently took his oath as member of the ruling party, Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban)– Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com