Senator Win Gatchalian called on the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday to take action against the growing violence in the war on drugs as the body count of illegal drug suspects continues to rise by the day.
“NAPOLCOM and PNP should uphold President Duterte’s express rejection of extrajudicial killings by undertaking comprehensive investigations into the recent police operations which have resulted in the deaths of suspects apprehended,” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian noted that despite Duterte’s public stance against the summary execution of suspected criminals, as of July 7, 72 alleged players in the illegal drug trade have been killed since Duterte assumed office.
43 of these deaths reportedly occurred at the hands of law enforcement officials during various stages of police operations.
“The criminals involved with the drug trade should be brought to justice, but justice also mandates that they be given their day in court. I have no problem with sending drug lords to their death, as long as they have been convicted of their crimes in court,” said Gatchalian, an advocate of the reinstatement of the death penalty for drug lords and high-level members of criminal drug syndicates
In addition, the Senator acknowledged the difficult position in which the Duterte administration has found itself after inheriting a criminal rehabilitation system riddled with corruption and impunity for rich inmates.
“Unfortunately, it falls on the President to fix the mess left by the previous administration, which allowed drug lords to live like kings within the walls of their own prisons like Pablo Escobar in La Catedral,” said Gatchalian, referencing the infamous Colombian drug lord who was allowed by the Colombian government to design and build his own luxury prison during the 1990s, continuing to run his illegal drug empire from within the prison while serving his sentence.
However, despite the urgency of the country’s drug situation, Gatchalian continued to urge the Duterte administration and its law enforcement agencies to take decisive steps in ensuring that drug suspects would be afforded due process of law under their watch.
“Justice must not be handed down through unjust means. Even the worst criminals must be afforded their constitutional rights under the law,” said he.