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Solons say minors now being targeted, slam drug testing in schools

Some lawmakers on Friday condemned the killings of several drug suspects in Bulacan and Metro Manila, including a 17-year-old Grade 11 student during an anti-drug police operation in Caloocan City.

Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano pointed out how authorities seemed to continue its violent war against illegal drugs, when a huge amount of shabu from China was able to get past Customs recently.

"Ito ay nakakalungkot dahil patuloy ang pagpatay sa mga suspetsado na di na dinadaan sa proseso ng batas. Napapatanong tuloy tayo bakit dahil sa isa o dalawang sachets ng shabu ay pinapatay na habang ang sangkot sa tone-toneladang shabu shipments ay buhay at patuloy na namamayagpag? Bakit tila napakabait natin sa Tsina na source ng bulto-bultong droga at napakalupit natin sa kapwa nating mahihirap na Pilipino?" Alejano said in a statement.

"Saan hinuhugot ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte ang sinasabi niyang mahal niya ang mga Pilipino kung wala siyang pakundangang pumapatay ng libo-libo? Paano siya maituturing na ama ng bansa kung siya ay natutuwa pa sa mapait na sinasapit ng kanyang mga anak? Walang puso si Duterte. Tama na ang iyong pagkukunwari," he added.

Alejano called on the police force not to serve as Duterte's "private army," saying that the President's order to shoot drug suspects when they supposedly resist arrest was illegal.

"Sa mga sangkot na miyembro ng kapulisan sa pagpaslang ng mga suspetsado, ilegal ang utos na ito. You serve and protect the Filipino people. That is your oath. You are not the private army of Duterte. Hindi habambuhay nasa pwesto si Duterte. Huwag niyong sirain ang pangalan ng PNP (Philippine National Police) at nang inyong mga kasamahan na tunay na nagsisilbi sa bayan," Alejano said.

Alejano also urged the citizens to "denounce this inhumane policy of killing as much as we denounce illegal drugs and corruption in government."

In a separate press release, ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro said the latest series of drug killings were still part of the government's "modus operandi" to make the incidents appear as shootouts.

“We condemn this most deplorable killing of a child on the incredible pretext that he was a drug suspect and ‘nanlaban’—the modus operandi of elements of the PNP in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs,” Tinio said.

The statements came following the death of a Grade 11 student identified as Kian Loyd delos Santos, 17, after being shot during an Oplan Galugad police operation in Barangay 160 in Caloocan City on Wednesday night.

“This is yet another proof that Tokhang is a fascist, anti-poor tool in the guise of an anti-drug campaign. Kian Loyd was a child whom police tagged then killed as a drug suspect, a student from an OFW family who sold candy in front of his school just to have baon,” said Castro.

“This so-called war on drugs is actually a war against the people, mostly the poor, who are being killed on mere suspicion and say-so of police," Castro added.

Authorities claimed that Kian attempted to escape when they were approaching him. Police then gave chase but the victim allegedly drew a gun and fired at them, forcing them to fire back.

A relative of the victim, however, said the police's account was not true.

Recovered from Kian were a caliber-.45  and two sachets of suspected shabu. Kian's relatives said the items did not belong to him.

Aside from Kian, several drug suspects in separate police operations conducted in Bulacan and Manila have been killed this week.

Drug testing

Tinio and Castro also expressed concern that the drug testing directed by the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education will just "claim more lives."

“Children are already being made victims of tokhang even without the drug testing. What more if it is fully implemented in our schools, against our students and teachers? They say it’s for rehabilitation and prevention but in an anti-drug campaign such as this, no rehabilitation and prevention at all will happen," the lawmakers said.

Meanwhile, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said the violent war on illegal drugs was becoming similar to military rule due to its "disregard" for human rights.

“We condemn this act of madness, as if the accused comes from poor sectors, the result is consistently gruesome. This is identical to a martial law rule, an outright symptom of failure of the justice and law enforcement system, total disregard of basic rights of the people and tantamount to reign of impunity,” Casilao said in a press release.

“War on drugs is not even a war, as victims are helpless, like the case of the Grade 11 student killed in Caloocan, we demand justice for him and all the victims, and call on various sectors to unite as this exhibition of atrocity should have no place in a supposedly democratic and free society in the country,” he added.

Casilao urged various sectors to join the indignation activity in Scout Rotonda, Quezon City this afternoon to seek justice for the war on drugs victims. — MDM, GMA News