Tell It to SunStar: Justice for ‘drug war’ victims

WE WELCOME the release of Vice President Leni Robredo’s report on the “drug war,” in her short stint as co-chairperson of the the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad), which showed how the Duterte administration’s brutal and anti-poor drug war has been a “massive failure.”

Her report merely affirms what human rights groups have already reported based on work with grassroots communities--that the State policy of mass murder against the poor failed and has been ineffective in curbing the proliferation of illegal drugs and in resolving its root causes--at the expense of millions of pesos in government funds and resources and thousands of lives.

We support Robredo’s recommendation to “abandon this policy that places premium on use of law enforcement methods that resulted in killings in favor of a policy that ‘promotes and ensures accountability and transparency’ must be asserted,” and that the “government must reciprocate by implementing data-driven policies that not only focus on street-level enforcement, but on a holistic approach on ‘prevention, detention, prosecution, rehabilitation, and reintegration’ that upholds people’s rights and basic human dignity.”

The reactions from government agencies and officials dismissing the report as baseless or a political attack “merely attempt to disregard the fact that her report shows data and details how and where the drug war has failed. State forces have only seized less than one percent of shabu in the past three years and yet they continue to operate with brazen impunity, even with the expose on the ‘ninja cops’ scandal and the deep involvement of the police and government officials in the distribution of illegal drugs in the country.” (Karapatan Human Rights Group)