Letter to the Editor: Failed drug war [Panay News]

March 5, 2021 - To Panay News: We wish to set the record straight regarding some claims by Mr. Roberto “Bert” Ladera in his March 4 column in Panay News – including that Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is belittling the efforts of our law enforcers in battling the menace of illegal drugs, when he said that the anti-drug war has not succeeded.


Failed drug war

By Panay News -Friday, March 5, 2021


WE WISH to set the record straight regarding some claims by Mr. Roberto “Bert” Ladera in his March 4 column in Panay News – including that Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is belittling the efforts of our law enforcers in battling the menace of illegal drugs, when he said that the anti-drug war has not succeeded.


Rest assured Sen. Lacson fully supports the success of the government’s war on illegal drugs – from the time he served in the Philippine National Police (PNP) and headed it from 1999 to 2001, to his terms as Senator.


As Chief of the PNP, Sen. Lacson adopted a two-pronged strategy against illegal drugs, focusing not only on the demand side but also the supply side. This meant going after not just the pushers on the streets, but also after those supplying the illegal drugs.


During his term as PNP chief, Sen. Lacson, through his leadership by example, inspired the police force to stay physically fit and do their jobs well while following a “no-take” policy that meant no bribes and no “kotong.”


As Senator, he not only sponsored but consistently augmented the yearly budgets of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as well as the PNP, an institution which he still loves and cares for.


That said, it cannot be denied that the presence of illegal drugs has persisted despite the time and resources that the government has poured into efforts to eradicate the drug menace.


And while it is good for Mr. Ladera if he feels his neighborhood is safe, the same cannot be said in other areas of our country.


The context of Sen. Lacson’s statement on a failed drug war is the recent bloody misencounter between operatives of the PNP and PDEA in Quezon City last Feb. 24 – amid the possibility that drug syndicates may have misled both agencies into that incident.


It also cannot be denied that tons of methamphetamine or shabu had in the recent past been smuggled into the country by well-connected drug syndicates through the Bureau of Customs, then transacted by convicts in the Bureau of Corrections.


Such developments would explain his proposal to make policy adjustments to prevent a repeat of the PNP-PDEA misencounter, including having the PDEA “oversee” anti-drug operations and focusing on intelligence work, and leaving the assault operations to specially trained police personnel.


Make no mistake. Sen. Lacson has done his part to help eradicate the drug problem, both as law enforcer as lawmaker, and he will no doubt continue to do so. But he also has the duty to make sure the resources we put into the anti-drug war will yield results.


We hope this clarifies matters. Thank you very much.


 

JOEL LOCSIN, Media Relations Officer, Office of Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson


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