Press Release
January 30, 2017

Hontiveros to Gov't: End "corrupt war on drugs" PERMANENTLY

"Kung ano ang puno, siya rin ang bunga. Kung korap ang nagpapatupad, korap din ang kampanya. The Duterte government is guilty of implementing a corrupt war on drugs. It is but right for them to heed the people's demands to stop it."

This was Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros' reaction to Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronaldo dela Rosa's order to stop the war on drugs as the police force focuses on "internal cleansing." Dela Rosa issued this statement following President Rodrigo Duterte's admission that 40 percent of the police force is corrupt at a midnight press conference on Monday.

"Ako ay nagagalak at tumugon ang PNP Chief sa aking panawagan na itigil ang abusadong war on drugs na bumibiktima sa maraming inosenteng mamamayan at sumisira sa imahe ng PNP," Hontiveros said.

"With this move, the PNP owns up to its abuses and confirms that indeed the war on drugs operates on similarly corrupt foundations," Hontiveros added.

Public health approach and rules-based law enforcement

Hontiveros said that there is absolutely no need for the government to resume the abusive war on drugs, amid conflicting pronouncements of the PNP to stop it and Duterte's pronouncement that he will extend the drug war until the last day of his term in 2022. As an alternative, the senator proposes a strong public health framework to respond to the drug problem together with a regular and rules-based law enforcement approach to drug-related crimes.

72,000 deaths until 2022

"This should spell the end of the flawed anti-drug campaign. Internal cleansing will only restore moral authority to the PNP if the war on drugs, the unwarranted killings, is stopped permanently. As it is, the government's war claims an average of 1,000 lives a month. To continue with this human rights-deficient anti-drug campaign until 2022, we will be looking at 72,000 deaths. This means creating the Philippines' very own 'killing fields'," Hontiveros remarked.

PNP worth saving

Hontiveros said that the PNP is not beyond redemption but warned that Duterte's statement on police corruption might pave the way for the creation of a "Metrocom-style" police force which will further undermine human rights.

"I am wary that the government, in the guise of internal cleansing to address police corruption, might create a new narco police force that is far deadlier than what some abusive officers and personnel have made the PNP today, to amplify the authoritarian tendencies of the Executive," Hontiveros said.

"I believe that many in the police force are honest. The PNP as an institution is worth saving. What we need are deep-cutting reforms such as stricter requirements at the recruitment level, better police benefits, capacity enhancement and infrastructure modernization. Through a professional and corrupt-free police institution, we strengthen our judicial institutions, we protect our citizens and foreign guests, and we keep our streets safe," Hontiveros ended.

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