Suarez on Duterte's war on drugs: 'End justifies the means'
MANILA, Philippines – The campaign may be "unorthodox" but House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez fully supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, saying the "end justifies the means."
“One way or another, it’s unorthodox yet it’s Machiavellian. The end justifies the means. The objective is to eliminate the drug issue at all cost. Kung ano man ang ginagawa ng Pangulong Duterte na pamamaraan (Whatever actions President Duterte is taking), as the minority leader, in my personal capacity, I support him,” Suarez said on Wednesday, August 17.
According to Suarez, Duterte’s war against crime and illegal drugs has shown the magnitude of the drug problem in the Philippines. (READ: War on drugs: While you were sleeping)
“‘Di natin akalain na ganito pala kagrabe. Kahit kayo sa media, we understand ang agree with me, ‘di natin sukat ang kalalala ng drug issue, tama?…At ito, ginagawa niya (Duterte) ’yung paraan para matigil,” added the Quezon 3rd District Representative.
(We didn’t realize how serious it is. Even those in the media would agree with me that we have not been able to gauge the magnitude of the drug issue, right?…And he is doing this to stop it.)
For his part, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza said he is questioning the way the police is handling Duterte’s directive, given the rising number of drug suspects killed since July 1. (READ: Kids unsafe in society that condones violence – female LP lawmakers)
“Drug campaign, we are 100% in support. Now the way police is handling it, eliminating their associates, their partners, their assets, their everybody – teka muna (wait a minute). I’d like to find out how are they killing people nightly,” said the Buhay Representative.
“‘Yung police action on the ground, pag-aralan natin, siyasatin natin baka kumalat nang kumalat diyan, lumala ang problema (We should study and scrutinize the police action on the ground because it might worsen the problem),” added Atienza, who plans to join the congressional probe into the spike in drug-related killings.
As of August 15, 612 alleged drug personalities have been killed in encounters with the police while 8,623 have been arrested across the Philippines. Independent groups have tallied more than 100 dead in apparent extrajudicial killings around the country as well.
Duterte and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have since received local and international criticism on their war on drugs – ranging from their supposed tolerance of vigilantism and human rights abuses in the country.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa insisted that drug syndicates, not vigilante groups, are killing their own people. This is a view shared by Suarez.
“Most of these killings were perpetrated among the groups. Para ‘yung pinaka-big-time supplier ay maa-identify, kailangan magsasabi ‘yung mga pusher. ‘Yun ang namamatay (To identify the big-time supplier, the pushers need to identify him or her. They are the ones being killed),” said the lawmaker.
Drug pushers and users who have surrendered to the police under Oplan TokHang, wherein cops knock on drug suspects’ doors to give them a chance to change their ways, are now up at 576,176 as well. (READ: Dela Rosa warns drug personalities: ‘More shock and awe’ to come)
Three lawmakers have already filed a bill seeking to create drug rehabilitation centers for the poor in every legislative district. – Rappler.com