Press Release
August 9, 2016


"Illegal drugs are a rampant problem in almost all parts of the country that has affected all levels of our society. It is good that there is an effort by the government to eradicate this colossal menace and President Rodrigo Duterte is sending a strong signal that nobody will be exempted from death prosecution or rehabilitation. It would be best if charges will be filed against those involved in illegal drugs because people will know that justice and law will prevail, regardless of a "big or small fish." Now, it is time for the poor to get their day in court and get justice as well.

However, as I have stated earlier, there is a potential for a slippery slope here. Pres. Duterte announces 159 names of politicians, government officials, judges, policemen and police officers that are allegedly involved in drugs. The list was damning and the reputations of the people in the list have been sullied. In announcing the names, did Pres. Duterte follow the rule of law? I urge the President to be more careful about making such announcements. These pronouncements must be based on probable cause so that our public prosecutors/fiscals may be able to file an information against these alleged drug protectors to formally charge them in court, and detain them while trial is ongoing if evidence of guilt is strong.

If I were one of those in the list and I was not guilty, I would ask for a bill of particulars, assuming a case has been filed in court already, and inform the President that what he had done was hearsay. My name should be cleared because there are vigilantes who are taking the law into their hands and are responsible, according to reports, for some of the killings. Supposing, I am killed because my name is on the list? If I were guilty, I would now be even more scared. But if I were innocent, the injustice to my family and me would be immeasurable.

The President should be very sure of the facts. He has immunity from suit but not the officials of the Philippine National Police. The PNP chief is not covered by the immunity from suit so he cannot just say, as he was reported to have said as a warning to the policemen on the list, that he will shoot them. He must likewise choose his statements more prudently to ensure that these do not constitute grave threat

Let me reiterate that we trust and applaud and support the President's goal in saving our nation from becoming a narco-state; which most of us are most surprised to learn how close the Philippines really is to becoming a "narco-state" as shown by the number of drug users who have surrendered.

In this great effort, there must be evidentiary control measures in place, in accordance with the law. There can be a win-win situation for us, especially by building and facilitating rehabilitation centers, staffed with addiction specialists immediately to treat all the users and traffickers who are surrendering themselves. There needs to be a balance here - and it must be evidence-based or indeed it will be perceived not only as a slippery slope but an avalanche."

News Latest News Feed