MANILA, Aug 18 (Mabuhay) — Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday defended the Aquino administration against criticisms that it had been negligent in battling the illegal drug trade in the Philippines.
During a Senate inquiry, De Lima, a former Justice secretary under the Aquino administration, asked Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa if he thinks the previous leadership did nothing to solve the country’s drug menace.
“Actually, the primary reason why nagkaganito ito lahat… Hindi ko masabi na nagpabaya ang previous admin but to tell you frankly with due honesty… hindi po [naging] ganoon ka masigasig,” Dela Rosa responded.
Dela Rosa, however, admitted he never asked for any drug-related accomplishment reports from law enforcement agencies to get a picture of how the previous administration fared on its anti-drug campaign.
“Hindi po ako humingi… bakit pa ko magdi-dig… Ang dami kong problema. Hindi na ako makatulog,’ he said.
De Lima, however, pointed out to Dela Rosa that she could personally attest to the fact that the National Bureau of Investigation under her term as Justice secretary had conducted numerous anti-drug operations.
“Hindi lang siguro napapabalita… The difference with the previous administration, walang nangyayaring patayan na ganyan araw-araw. Wala rin yang name-shaming na iyan,” she said.
De Lima also noted how the Duterte administration has a “very focused attention, singular focus to end this drug menace kaya lahat ito nauungkat na.”
“Iyong previous administration, hindi ganoon ang thrust ng previous administration. Madaming areas of governance na dapat i-address ang administrasyon na hindi naman talaga focus sa labas ng droga,” she said.
“Pero hindi naman siguro tama[ng] sabihin [na] nagpabaya o walang ginawa ang dating administrasyon,” she added, to which Dela Rosa responded: “I agree with you.”
De Lima vowed to tackle, during her own Senate inquiry on the summary killings under the Duterte administration next week, whether the current administration’s “violent approach” to stamp out the illegal drug problem is correct.
Dela Rosa, who had been invited to De Lima’s inquiry next week, on August 22 and 23, said: “I would be very happy to face you on Monday.”
Meanwhile, De Lima also asked Justice Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon, her former subordinate at the DOJ, to submit to the Senate a list of all the challenges besetting government prosecutors that contribute to the low conviction rate in drug cases.
“There are also bad eggs and misfits in the National Prosecution Service. Kapag may nadi-dismiss na drugs case, nagtuturuan ang prosecutors at imbestigador,” said De Lima. (MNS)