Press Release
March 6, 2017

Hontiveros files resolution calling for an end to abusive and corrupt Oplan Tokhang

As the Duterte government proceeds to resume its implementation of the suspended Oplan Tokhang, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday filed a resolution calling for an end to the anti-drug campaign, which she branded as abusive and corrupt.

Hontiveros, who in a senate hearing called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to suspend Oplan Tokhang, said that the campaign is a widely discredited operation which has cost the deaths of thousands, among them a Korean businessman, and stained the integrity of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

On October 18, 2016 Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was taken from his home in Angeles City. He was brought to Camp Crame and strangled to death allegedly by police officers assigned to the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG). Following the ensuing public outcry, PNP Police Chief Ronald "Bato" De la Rosa suspended all anti-drug operations last January 30, 2017.

"The resumption of Oplan Tokhang and project double barrel will only result in more suffering and needless death for our countrymen. Oplan Tokhang has been used by corrupt and abusive policemen as a cover for, among other things, acts of extortion and murder. The president himself has said that nearly 40% of the police force is engaged in illegal activities. Prudence demands that the cleansing of the PNP and regaining the trust of the public be our first priorities. " Hontiveros said.

Before its suspension, the administration's war on drugs has claimed over 7,000 lives, 2,555 came from police operations and another 3, 603 unsolved drug-related killings, many presumed to be extrajudicial in nature.

"Our message remains the same. The drug problem is a public health issue and should be treated accordingly, using a variety of approaches. If experience of other nations that have implemented a punitive strategy against drug addiction can teach us anything, it is that these strategies do not work," Hontiveros said.

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