VICE President Leni Robredo yesterday demanded a resolution to the cases of vigilante killings which she believes are linked to the government’s bloody anti-narcotics war and warned the PNP that “blood will be on your hands” if the killings remain unresolved.
Robredo issued the statement after attending a community-based drug rehabilitation program in Caloocan City where cases of drug-related killings are known to be rampant.
“Nagre-report iyong mga taga-dito na kagabi mayroon na namang mga pinatay. Iyong style ngayon, vigilante killings, pero iyong sa akin lang, iyong panawagan ko sa PNP, ‘hindi ba kargo niyo pa din kahit vigilante killings? Obligasyon niyo na maresolba ito, kasi kapag hindi niyo ito maresolba, dugo pa din ito sa kamay ninyo (The people here are reporting that someone was killed again last night. The style now is vigilante killings. My call now to the PNP is, isn’t vigilante killings part of your duties? It’s your obligation to resolve this because if you don’t, blood will still be on your hands),” Robredo told reporters.
Sought for comment, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac refused to comment on Robredo’s statement.
The Vice President, who was fired by President Duterte as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs (ICAD) after only 19 days in office late last year, said those who are killed still come from the ranks of the poor or “those who can’t fight back.”
Robredo said the effectiveness of community-based drug rehabilitation programs nullifies the need for a bloody war on drugs because drug dependents eventually overcome their addiction.
“Kailangan lang nila ng tulong. Bakit alam na natin na hindi epektibo iyong pagpatay, ginagawa pa din? (They just need help. Why do killings still happen when we know it’s not working?” she asked.
The Vice President also visited the community-based drug rehabilitation center at the vicinity of the Our Lady of Grace Parish Church.
Robredo has said she was raring to attend a House inquiry into her 40-page report on the illegal drugs war which she made after her ICAD stint, saying the House of Representatives “will be giving me a platform to divulge all of my findings.”
“Hindi lang ako willing, pero ako, gusto ko siyang matuloy (I’m not only willing to attend but I want it to push through),” she said. “Mabibigyan ako ng pagkakataon na sabihin what is wrong with the campaign. Pero ang purpose ng pagsisiwalat ng what is wrong with the campaign para ayusin ito (I will be given a chance to say what’s wrong with the campaign but its purpose is to address it).”
Robredo had called the war on drugs a complete failure because it only focused on a single aspect, which was the street-level enforcement “or going after small drug pushers.”
In her report, she said “Oplan: Tokhang,” which has become synonymous with drug-related killings, “must be abandoned in favor of a reinvigorated policy on anti-illegal drug enforcement that strongly promotes and ensures accountability and transparency.”
Robredo said the introduction of Tokhang, where the police conduct house-to-house visits as part of the institution’s anti-drug operations, was “unprecedented” especially since “there were no clear guidelines and protocols on how this was going to be implemented.”
She said the lack of guidelines, together with the wide discretion that was given to the police, “provided an opening for a number of unscrupulous individuals to commit abuses, tainting the integrity of the whole institution in the process.”