Families to Duterte gov’t: You killed our loved ones, not the drug problem

Jodesz Gavilan
Families to Duterte gov’t: You killed our loved ones, not the drug problem
The Rise Up for Life and for Rights network says the Duterte government must pay its 'bloody debt'

MANILA, Philippines – Families reiterated their demand for accountability from the Duterte government after a report released by Vice President Leni Robredo showed the dismal performance of the anti-drug campaign.

In a statement, the Rise Up for Life and for Rights network said authorities have a lot of explaining to do over the findings that only 1% of the total supply of illegal drugs in the Philippines has been seized by authorities.

“Napakahina ng PNP (Philippine National Police), akalain ‘nyo, nabuwisan ng buhay ang mga dukha, samantalang 1% lang ng total ang nasamsam nilang shabu, iyan ba ang tinatawag nilang tagumpay?” said Emily Soriano of Rise Up.

(The PNP is so inept. Imagine, the poor lost their actual lives, while authorities were only able to recover 1% of shabu. Is this what they call victory?)

“Humihingi kami ng matinding paliwanag. Bakit ninyo sinakripisyo ang aming mga anak at mahal sa buhay, samantalang napakahina ng inyong ginagawa para lutasin ang problema ng illegal drugs sa Pilipinas?” she added.

(We’re demanding a thorough explanation. Why did they sacrifice our children and loved ones, when authorities are practically doing nothing to solve the problem of illegal drugs in the Philippines?)

Robredo on Monday, January 6, called President Rodrigo Duterte’s flagship program a “failure,” and gave the Duterte government a “1 out of 100” score as she released her findings during her 18-day stint as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.

Robredo’s findings include that authorities were only able to seize less than 1% of the estimated 156,000 kilos of shabu consumed across the country every year. The Vice President also found that the Anti-Money Laundering Council only confiscated P1.4 billion worth of drug money from 2017 to 2018 out of the estimated P1.3 trillion a year. (READ: Here are reforms Robredo wants in Duterte gov’t’s drug war)

Duterte’s war on drugs is widely criticized for the high number of killings. More than 6,000 people have been killed in anti-drug operations by police alone, while human rights groups estimate there may be as many as 27,000 deaths, including victims of vigilante-style killings. (READ: The Impunity Series)

Soriano said families of victims, Rise Up, and other human rights groups will continue to fight for justice. The Duterte government, she added, must pay its “bloody debt.”

“Hindi kami titigil hangga’t hindi nananagot si Duterte sa pagpaslang ng mga dukha,” Soriano said. “Oo, patay na sila at ‘di na mababalik ang buhay, pero hustisya lang ang makapagbibigay sa amin ng katahimikan at kapayapaan.” 

(We will not stop until Duterte is made accountable for the killings of the poor. Yes, we cannot bring back the dead, but justice alone can give us peace and quiet.)

For rights group Karapatan, Robredo’s report reaffirmed that the war on drugs is anti-poor.

“State policy of mass murder against the poor failed and has been ineffective in curbing the proliferation of illegal drugs and in resolving the root causes of such in the country – at the expense of millions of pesos in government funds and resources and thousands of lives,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said. – Rappler.com

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.