SC Justice Carpio: ‘Why is PNP ignoring big-time drug lords?’

MANILA, Philippines – Why is the Philippine National Police (PNP) practically ignoring the big-time drug lords in its war on drugs?

This was the question Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio raised on Tuesday, December 5, during the third session of the SC's oral arguments on the PNP's currently suspended drug war.

Carpio was grilling the PNP's counsel Solicitor General Jose Calida, leading him to admit that much of the illegal drugs that reach the Philippine streets come from big-time drug lords mostly from China.

With this, he asked: "Can you explain to me why PNP, in this circular, is concentrating on street level operations and is practically ignoring the big-time drug lords?" 

"How come the flagship project of the President is concentrated on going after the small-time peddlers, why not the big time drug lords," Carpio added.

In the PNP's defense, Calida said that "big-time drug lords are not in our jurisdiction", referring to Chinese narco-bosses. 

"Actually, your honor, the instruction of the President is to go after all of them, however, the big-time Chinese drug lords are outside our jurisdiction – they are in China," Calida said.

Carpio pursued his point, arguing that the PNP also knows that there are drug lords in the archipelago. Calida conceded, saying that "some", who are in the country, had been monitored by the PNP before they were pulled out from the drug war. – 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.