Aquino questions war on drugs’ operating procedures

Published August 21, 2018, 8:52 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Hanah Tabios

Former President Benigno Aquino III slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs in his speech during the commemoration of the 35th death anniversary of his father, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. at Santo Domingo Church Tuesday afternoon.

Former President Noynoy Aquino (Mark Balmores/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Former President Noynoy Aquino (Mark Balmores/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“Madalas po sa ulat sa diyaryo o nakikita natin sa TV ang mga nahuhuli at napapatay sa giyera kontra droga. Madalas din nating mabasa o marinig ang katagang nanlaban. Kapag ang isang tao ay inaresto hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas kundi sa ibang lugar, pinoposasan sa likod at hindi sa harap. Kaya ako po ay nagtataka dahil sa sinasabing ito po ay nanlaban at nakipag-agawan ng armas sa nagbabantay ng seldang ito,” Aquino said.

(Oftentimes, news reports over the radio and on the television were about the individuals apprehended and killed in the war against drugs. The word “nanlaban” was often encountered. If a person was arrested not just in the Philippines but also in other places, they were handcuffed at the back and not in front. That’s why I am wondering with what they are saying that the suspect resisted and snatched firearms from jail warden.)

The former president emphasized the importance of standard operating procedures when arresting an individual amid reports about those who allegedly resisted and killed by authorities.

“Pag-isipan po nating mabuti. Kung sinusunod ang SOP, pinosasan ang kamay at inilagay sa likod, ‘yong taong inupo sa sasakyan at nakasandal sa kanyang mga kamay, napakahirap po kung inaabot ng kanyang dalawang kamay ang baril ng kanyang katabi. Tama ho ba? Mas mahirap na ipihit ang kanyang katawan para itutok doon sa mga taong nagbabantay sa kanya”, he added.

(Let’s think about it wisely. If the SOP was followed, hands were cuffed and placed at the back, it would be hard for his two hands to reach for the firearm of an individual seated next to him inside the car. Am I right? It would be also difficult to move his body to the direction of the individuals guarding him and held them at gunpoint.)

Aquino pointed out it was President Duterte’s responsibility to remind the chief of police to abide by the said procedures to further avoid casualties from the side of the police and arrested suspects.

He also criticized the administration’s reports about the recovered items from the crime scenes particularly serial numbers of firearms.

“May isa pa po tayong sitwasyon. Ang mga baril na nakukuha sa crime scene ay pare-pareho ang serial numbers. Gusto din po nating malaman paano kaya ito nangyari na ang bawat baril ay may sariling serial number at pare-pareho ang nakukuhang ebidensya?”

(We have another situation. The firearms recovered from the crime scenes reportedly have the same serial numbers. We wanted to know how could this be possible when each firearm has a different serial number and other items recovered were all the same?)

Kian delos Santos’ death, the 17-year-old minor who was killed by Caloocan police on its anti-criminality operation last year, was also mentioned by Aquino.

Meanwhile, the former president also clarified that he will not run for the 2019 midterm polls but he will lead the campaign for the senatorial bets of the Liberal Party.

Vice President Leni Robredo, Liberal Party President and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, former Commission on Human Rights Chairman and advocate Etta Rosales, former Aquino cabinet secretaries Dinky Soliman and Bro. Armin Luistro, and other allies and supporters also attended the mass led by Father Gerry Santos, a veteran of the Martial Law era.

Santos on his gospel noted that occasion was not just to commemorate his death but also his martyrdom.

“People should not forget that between 1983 and 1986, something happened,” Santos said referring to the late senator’s assassination in 1983 that pushed her widow, former President Corazon Aquino, to run for the 1986 snap presidential election, defeating former President Ferdinand Marcos.