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EDITORIAL: Inventory Guns Seized

Just because Vice President Leni Robredo has accepted her appointment as co-chairperson of an interagency committee against drugs does not mean that the responsibility of President Duterte for crimes committed by people who took hook, line and sinker his instigation to kill outright people suspected of violating the Dangerous Drug Acts, no longer exists.

The Vice President is very categorical that she is opposed to the senseless killings of mere drug suspects. The principal responsibility of Mr. Duterte lies in his being a person who seems to have planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of the senseless killings of mere suspects.

Malacañang should disabuse itself into believing survey results supposedly indicating popular acceptance of the anti-drug war. It should have been realized a long time ago that the question asked of the survey respondents is too general.

Any right thinking individual would certainly profess agreement to the anti drug war in its general sense. The survey should have focused on the means employed relative to the execution of the campaign. The respondents should have been asked if they are in favor of the way the anti drug war is being waged. The respondents would have given varying reactions considering that the controversy involved lies in the fact that due process is being sidelined.

The explanation that drug suspects have been killed because they fought back (nan laban kasi) is rather pregnant with valid suspicions. Assuming that the suspects attempted to fight or really fought back authorities who are duly trained and equipped to respond accordingly, still law enforcers should not resort to a procedural shortcut that renders them not only as agents of persons in authority but at the same time prosecutors, judges and executioners.

On this regard the seemingly ignored unsolicited advice by erstwhile President Fidel V. Ramos not to kill the subjects but render them instead temporarily incapable of fighting back is very sound.

Mr. Ramos surely knows what he is talking about, he having been once the head of the national police force and the nation’s chief executive. What made matters more complicated is the never ending braggadocio of Mr. Duterte as he instigated law enforcers to kill drug suspects outright without due process, the latest being as what he had uttered when he transferred a ranking officer PNP to Bacolod City. A pronouncement which even drew some muted discordant notes from certain members of his official family.

As to the Vice President, given her very limited power and authority as co-chair of the Interagency Committee Against Drugs (ICAD),she can start by demanding a physical inventory of all the firearms which were taken from the drug suspects who have been killed in the course pf the bloody war against drugs. This way we could verify the authenticity of the police reports that the suspects had firearms when they were slain due to the flimsy reason of “nan laban kasi”.

That alone will establish indicators of Malacañang’s true intentions for Robredo’s appointment –particularly whether she is being utilized as a scapegoat, fly swatter, floor mat, flower vase or a deodorant.

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