Dela Rosa: ICC probe, PRRD's exit weaken gov't anti-drug drive
Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said Wednesday the government's anti-illegal drugs campaign has become less vigorous due to the International Criminal Court's investigation, and the exit of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD).
Dela Rosa made the statement at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, devoted to discussing recent seizures of illegal drugs.
"It takes the whole PNP to really concentrate on the war on drugs...unlike during our time na grabe nakatutok kami ... lahat 'yan sabay-sabay," Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, pointed out.
"Pero yun nga, dahil dito sa ICC, nawawalan tayo ngayon ng-- yung vigor na ginagawa dati, yung tapang-- wala na rin silang presidente na nagsasabi na 'bang.' 'Pag may tinamaan kayo dyan, 'pag may kaso kayo sagot ko kayo. Ako makukulong.' Nawawala na yung tapang," he added.
[The anti-drug campaign has lost its vigor mainly because of the ICC probe, and the absence of President Duterte who was willing to stand by the law enforcers].
"Sasabihin ng mga pulis, 'Bakit ako magpapa-hero hero dyan? 'Yung dating chief PNP namin ay ngayon may kaso sa ICC pati ang presidente namin. So bakit magpa-hero hero.' So 'yan ang thinking ngayon ng mga pulis. Masama ang epekto talaga," he said.
Dela Rosa blamed the individuals who raised the alleged drug war excesses before the international tribunal.
"You have to blame these mga tao, 'yung mga politically motivated, na galit kay [ex-President] Duterte na ang complain dun sa ICC," he said.
"Tingnan niyo ngayon kung ano ang nangyari sa mga kasamahan niyo dahil naglipana na naman ang droga, nagkalat na naman ang mga adik," he added.
But he also said that erring cops should not be tolerated, underscoring that the country's justice system is working.
In December last year, Dela Rosa delivered a privilege speech claiming that drug syndicates are back with a vengeance.
On Tuesday, Dela Rosa said he is planning to conduct a Senate hearing over reports that some police personnel were apprehended for allegedly “recycling” confiscated drugs.
Dela Rosa was then-President Rodrigo Duterte's first PNP chief, and was placed at the forefront of the previous administration's war on drugs throughout much of Duterte's term.
Duterte's drug war has been blamed for the thousands of deaths, pegged by government sources at roughly 6,000. But the number is a far cry of the 30,000 that human rights groups claimed killed in the bloody anti-drug campaign.
The ICC in January announced that it is reopening its investigation into the killings that happened purportedly as a result of Duterte's bloody war on drugs, saying it "is not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the court's investigations."
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla had described the ICC's move as an irritant, noting that he would not stand for any antics that would tend to question the Philippines' status as a sovereign country.
Former president Duterte, meanwhile, defended his drug war, saying his administration had to carry it out to fulfill his sworn duty to protect the Filipinos.
The Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, in March 2019 during the Duterte administration. —LBG, GMA Integrated News