With blood pact, new ICAD co-chair Dante Jimenez vows commitment to drug war

Sofia Tomacruz

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With blood pact, new ICAD co-chair Dante Jimenez vows commitment to drug war
Newly appointed Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs co-chair Dante Jimenez proves his support for the drug war with a thumbprint marked in blood

As he vowed to defend President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial anti-illegal drugs campaign, newly appointed Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs co-chair Dante Jimenez pulled out all the stops to show his “commitment” to his latest role yet.

How? By signing an acceptance letter with his own blood.

Jimenez opened his first press conference as ICAD co-chair on Tuesday, March 3, by reading out a letter to Duterte stating why he accepted the new appointment.

Jimenez shared the story of how his younger brother, Buboy, was killed in 1990 by drug syndicates operating in Parañaque over a case of mistaken identity. His new role, Jimenez said, is dedicated to his younger brother, whose death had also pushed him to found the pro-administration Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).

The VACC is known to be behind many controversial complaints filed against Duterte’s critics, including the drug case against Senator Leila de Lima.

“From the day I held my brother Buboy’s body in my arms that fell by a bullet or two that pierced through his brain, I have become a different DanteJimenez…. I pledge to continue the war against illegal drugs waged by the President as promised from the time of his campaign to this day,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez’s speech, which lasted about 5 minutes, ended as a man approached him, took his outstretched arm, and proceeded to cut his thumb.

Drawing out blood, Jimenez declared, “I sign this in acceptance with my own blood to represent the thousands of victims of illegal drugs and as a manifestation of my commitment to the unrelenting war against the social menace that must be destroyed by all means.”

A few seconds after, he then imprinted on the letter a thumbprint marked in blood.

Duterte’s drug war, however, has been widely denounced by human rights experts who have warned of grave abuses and thousands of extrajudicial killings under the bloody campaign.

The government has reported over 5,000 people have been killed in the war on drugs. However, in an interview with ABS-CBN in December 2018, the Commission on Human Rights estimated the death toll to be as high as 27,000, including those believed to be inspired by Duterte’s violent tirades.

Despite this, Jimenez declared complete support for the drug war as he refuted claims the campaign was a “massive failure.”

Jimenez was referring to Vice President Leni Robredo’s scathing report on Duterte’s landmark anti-illegal drug program, which she delivered after Duterte sacked her from the controversial post.

Robredo said the anti-illegal drug campaign was a “failure” after authorities were able to sieze only 1% of the total supply of illegal drugs in the country. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.