SEN. Ronaldo ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa yesterday sneered at the failing marks given by Vice President Leni Robredo on the government’s war on drugs, and claimed only the “yellows” – the political color associated with the opposition Liberal Party – believe her post-drug czar report.
In an interview over radio dzBB, Dela Rosa said Robredo and her political allies painted a failure scenario of the drug war because they continue to reject that people now feel safer on the streets as compared during the past administration.
“Kahit hindi na tayo magbigay ng figure, doon na lang sa bayan-bayan magtanong ka kung failure ba ito o hindi para malaman mo mismo… Kasi ‘yung mga sinasabi niya, siya lang naman ang naniniwala niyan at saka mga kasamahan niyang ‘yellow.’ Ayaw talagang tanggapin ang katotohanan at pilit binubulag ang sarili nila (Even without giving figures, you can just ask the people if they think the drug war is a failure or not so we can have a clearer picture. It is only the vice president and the ‘yellows’ who believe otherwise. They cannot accept the reality and they keep on turning a blind eye on the truth),” Dela Rosa, who is the chairman of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs, said.
The senator said public perception is the best barometer to determine if the war on drugs was a success or a failure, and not the biased assessment of Robredo.
He noted the September 2016 Social Weather Stations survey where 84 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with how the administration was handling the anti-narcotics campaign.
In her 40-page report following her brief stint as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Robredo gave the Duterte administration’s war on drugs a failing score of 1/100, pointing out that law enforcers were only able to seize a minute amount of illegal drugs which entered the country.
Dela Rosa claimed Robredo’s report was based on data given by only an anti-illegal drug agent, and not the official data from the Philippine National Police as claimed by the Vice President.
“Ang PNP ang nagsabi na hindi raw ‘yun ang official data nila. Estimate lang ‘yun ng isang operative nila. Huwag na tayo mag-debate sa sinasabi niya dahil wala naman laman ang sinasabi niya. Kasama siya sa 16 percent na hindi naniniwala, na hindi satisfied.
Respetuhin natin ang kanyang opinion (The PNP said it was not their official data but rather an estimate made by one of its operatives. Let us not debate on what she said because she is talking non-sense. She belongs to the 16 percent who do not believe, who were not satisfied. Let us just respect her opinion),” Dela Rosa said.
He said while it is true that illegal drugs still enter the country because of the country’s open shorelines, Robredo must be thankful that operatives have been able to seize illegal drugs smuggled into the country, subsequently preventing them from finding their way to the streets.
“Nakakapasok nga sa ibang bansa na maski solid ang kanilang geography, landlocked sila, how much more sa atin na composed of more than 7,000 islands? Ganyang karaming islands ang ating dapat bantayan kaya nakakapasok (If illegal drugs can enter landlocked countries, so much so here that we have more than 7,000 islands to guard),” he said.
“Kung gusto mo talaga na maubos or wala nang makapasok na droga dito, puntahan natin
ang China atakihin natin ‘yung mga laboratory na doon ginagawa , puntahan natin giyerahin natin para hindi na sila makapag-supply dito (If you really want to stop illegal drugs, let us go to China and attack their drug laboratories. Let us go there and wage a war against the drug lab maintainers so they cannot supply illegal drugs anymore),” he added.
Dela Rosa said Robredo should have given credit to the ICAD since illegal drugs are no longer manufactured in the country following the dismantling of drug laboratories in the country. Drug traffickers, he said, now have to import the illegal narcotics from China and other Asian countries.
The senator, who was the brainchild of Oplan Tokhang in the PNP which he introduced when he was PNP chief, likewise hit Robredo for recommending that the government stop the campaign’s primary course of action.
Dela Rosa said Tokhang paved the way for the surrender of more than 1.3 million drug users.
“Ititigil, ano ipapalit natin? Meron siyang alternative plan? Wala naman. Kasi ang Oplan Tokhang ini-uugnay niya sa killings. There is nothing wrong with Oplan Tokhang. Maghanap ka sa history ng Pilipinas kung meron ba oplan na nakapag-surrender ng 1.3 million users or baka almost 2 million na ngayon (What will take the place of Oplan Tokhang if we stop it? Does the VP have an alternative plan? I don’t think so. She wants it stopped because she is linking Oplan Tokhang to killings. There is nothing wrong with Oplan Tokhang. Can you name a strategy in our history that convinced 1.3 million or 2 million drug users to surrender?),” he said.
Dela Rosa said he will push for four legislations aimed at improving the country’s illegal drug situation: the re-imposition of the death penalty for drug traffickers, removal of the court order requirement for those who want to undergo voluntary rehabilitation, establishment of regional and provincial drug rehabilitation centers, and inclusion of drug awareness in the curriculum of schools starting Grade 5.
He said local authorities must also strengthen coordination with other countries to stop the shipment of illegal drugs to the country, aside from intensifying sea patrols.