By Mario Casayuran
Law enforcers must focus their anti-illegal drug campaign on drug lords instead of killing street pushers.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, said the arrest of street pushers would lead to the identification and eventual arrest of big time suppliers of illegal drugs who had evaded arrests in past illegal drug sweeps by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Lacson said he offered this formula to the two agencies so they could control the multi-billion-peso drug trade.
“Don’t kill the street pushers; arrest them. Make them lead you to the big-time suppliers, then finish the job by engaging those suppliers in a shootout. Get another street pusher and continue the cycle,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account Thursday.
When he headed the PNP from 1999 to 2001, Lacson said he employed 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, he pointed out.
Earlier, Lacson urged the PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to focus their efforts on the so-called big fish.
While the police are capable of going after street peddlers, the two agencies should concentrate on those at the higher levels, he stressed.
The PDEA is the specialized agency implementing the government’s efforts against illegal drugs, while the DDB is the policy-making body.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto was a former DDB chairman during the Arroyo administration.