DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A church-based group on Friday condemned the planned resurgence of the government’s bloody “war on drugs” after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that police drug operatives would continue his anti-illegal drug campaign.
“Not only are we suspect of any assertion that the Philippine National Police is actually capable of extricating themselves from the influence of the drug-connected, corruption-riddled officers in their ranks, but, more importantly, we condemn any resurgence or continuation of unabashedly wanton killings in poor communities,” UCCP Bishop Reuel N.O. Marigza, spokesperson of Rise Up for Life and for Rights, said in a statement.
Marigza questioned the Philippine National Police’s credibility because of police’s involvement to “grievous crimes and immoral conduct.”
“The Chief PNP himself announced that 40 percent of the police force is tainted and almost an equal number was cited by the President as having connection or participation in the illegal drug-trade,” he pointed out.
He said that “due process and the rule of law can too easily be laid aside due to the urgency of our nation’s illegal drug problem.”
Instead of killing those involved in the illegal drug-trade, he suggested that the government should also pursue an alternative approach by convicting those proven to be involved in the commission of the offense.
“Corrective and legal measures against those involved with illegal drugs must also be pursued. Illegal-drug producers, suppliers, and drug-syndicate kingpins must be swiftly identified, charged, incarcerated, and convicted; these criminals, as well as those protect them, belong in jail,” the church leader said.
The group specifically pointed out that those groups or individuals “coddling of government police, military, officials or employees—both present and from previous regimes—must be dealt with accordingly.”
“Erring parties must be immediately held accountable and removed from their post and power. This is how government should show its seriousness in tackling the drug problem,” it said as it “denounce the flagrant abuse of State power to induce and proliferate the wide-spread killing, harassment, and sowing of terror in poor communities under a so-called ‘war against drugs.’ (davaotoday.com)