The Makabayan bloc on Wednesday, November 10, filed a resolution urging the House of Representatives Dangerous Drugs Committee to investigate the alleged cover up of the beach drug raid in Davao de Oro that involved Mayor Sara Duterte’s former information officer and several other personalities from Davao City.
In a draft resolution, the militant lawmakers’ bloc raised the issue of double standard in the arrest of 17 suspects now detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regional office in Davao City while the mayor’s aide, Jefry Tupas, and other persons who also attended the party were set free.
Makabayan said the contrasting treatment of persons allegedly involved in drugs hewed to the tactics of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-illegal drug campaign.
“The administration’s anti-drug campaign reeks of double standard or of selective justice, where alleged ringleaders of drug cartels, big-time drug lords, high-value personalities and their alleged protectors in the government have escaped the anti-drug campaign, while thousands of suspected small-fry dealers and victim-users have been targeted, and worst, killed. This war on drugs has already claimed the lives of innocent civilians mostly from poor families including minors and youth,” read part of the House Resolution No. 2342.
It also noted claims by some of the arrested individuals that they suffered physical blows from members of the raiding team.
The names of Tupas, her boyfriend, and another friend whom Tupas said was with her when she left the party before the raid did not appear on the list of the arrested individuals.
Suspects interviewed by Newsline Philippines contradicted Tupas’ statement. The suspects said it was the name of Tupas that was first called out when PDEA operatives read aloud from a logbook which contained the the agency’s high-value targets.
Agents, however, segregated Tupas and, later, her companions when she told them she worked for Mayor Duterte, the arrested suspects said.
PDEA filed drug complaints against 17 the 59 guests at the party of main target, Revsan Ethelbert Elizalde, a resident of Davao City. The rest were released.
PDEA’s Davao Region chief Aileen Lovitos explained that it was a planned operation so they focused on their targets.
Duterte on Tuesday said she fired Tupas from her post as the city’s information officer on Sunday, November 7. The Davao mayor said Tupas had been involved in a PDEA-led drug raid. Duterte added that only Tupas and the law enforcement agency knew the details of that involvement. – Rappler.com
Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and awardee of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.