Cayetano to Duterte, PNP: Relaunch 'war on drugs'
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano asked President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday, February 25, to relaunch its "war" against illegal drugs.
Cayetano made the plea during a vigil-rally at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, Manila, to show support for President Rodrigo Duterte. (IN PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Luneta to support Duterte)
The senator said he has been going around asking ordinary people about the peace and order situation in their respective areas following the suspension of anti-illegal drug operations nationwide on January 30.
He said, "Alam niyo po, itong dalawang linggo na nakalipas, anong sabi sa akin? 'Sir, simula noong sinabing sinuspinde ang [Oplan] TokHang, maraming pusher ang bumalik.'"
(You know, in the last two weeks, what did they say to me? 'Sir, since Oplan TokHang was suspended, many pushers have come back.')
"Totoo ba? Sa inyong lugar, bumalik ba 'yung mga pusher?" Cayetano asked the crowd, who shouted in the affirmative. (Is it true? Have the pushers returned in your area?)
"Kapag bumalik ang mga pusher, kasunod na niyan ang patayan ng inosente. Kasama na diyan ang rape, ang nakawan," he continued. (With the pushers' return comes the killing of innocent people, as well as rape and robbery.)
"Kaya ngayong gabi, ako ay nakikiusap sa ating Pangulo at sa PNP: i-relaunch ninyo ang inyong anti-drug drive." (That is why tonight, I am asking our President and the PNP: Relaunch your anti-drug drive.)
Starting that day, coincidentally the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, Cayetano proclaimed in a mix of English and Filipino, "It will not be named Duterte's 'war on drugs.' It will be the people's 'war on drugs' because we're all involved in fighting illegal drugs. Not only illegal drugs, but corruption, too."
Cayetano also said that extrajudicial killings (EJKs) happened even during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III. This was in response to what critics like Senator Leila de Lima described as the severity of the killings under the Duterte administration.
"Grabe na ang patayan dati pa. Kaya lang, noong araw, ang napapatay 'yung mga inosente. Ngayon, ang napapatay ay 'yung mga lumalaban sa pulis na mga pusher," he said.
(Even before killings have been severe already. But the difference is, before, only the innocents got killed. Now, those who get killed are the pushers who fight the police.)
He also talked about how the Department of Justice (DOJ) under then-secretary De Lima during the Aquino administration defined extrajudicial killings.
Cayetano was referring to the 2013 operational guidelines of Administrative Order No. 35 which created an inter-agency committee on extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations to the right to life, liberty and security of persons. The said committee is chaired by the DOJ.
"It is said there, if the killing is not connected to an ideology, if the victim is not a labor leader, not a priest or nun, nor an activist, it's not an extrajudicial killing. It means if a pusher is killed, or if pushers killed each other, it's not an EJK," he said in Filipino.
Then, when Duterte became president, Cayetano said each death during the "war on drugs" was tagged as an EJK and blamed on Duterte.
Cayetano also spoke about the changes since Duterte took office, like the people's attitude toward policemen.
"Somehow, when we see policemen now, we don't run away from them in fear. We run toward them, because we know they'll help us," he said in Filipino.
At the end of his speech, Cayetano asked Duterte supporters to continue protecting the President and fighting for change. – Michael Bueza, with reports by Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com