Duterte commends jail authorities for large volume of illegal drugs seized in prisons

Published July 14, 2019, 3:19 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has commended jail authorities for the seizure of illegal drugs in prisons, but he admitted he was puzzled at how the smuggling of the contraband behind bars has continued.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the mass oath taking of newly appointed government officials at the Malacañan Palace on July 8, 2019. (ALFRED FRIAS / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Speaking at the 28th-anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) last Friday, the President expressed concern that illegal drugs were “really flooding the country.”

“I also recognize your crucial role in the campaign against illegal drugs by working with the PNP (Philippine National Police) and PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) in our anti-illegal drug operations in our jail facilities,” the President said during the BJMP ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

“Lumulusot talaga eh [It’s really being smuggled]. I don’t know why,” he added.

Duterte said he was pleased with the almost 30,000 Greyhound operations that led to the confiscation of the illegal drugs, weapons, and almost P2 million in cash, and other contraband from jails but he raised question how they were smuggled into these facilities.

Nonetheless, Duterte directed the BJMP to remain dedicated to uphold the rule of law and protect democratic institutions.

He noted that, in line with efforts to keep the integrity and professionalism of the BJMP personnel, more than 13,000 surprise drug tests were undertaken, which led to the dismissal of those involved in illegal drugs.

In his remarks, the President admitted that the government was having difficulty resolving the drug problem, citing the alleged involvement of 12,000 barangay captains “coupled with some mayors” in the narcotics trade.

He also claimed that illegal drugs were being dumped into the country’s shores by suspected drug syndicates.

“If you look at the map of the Philippines, your right hand is the east, your left hand is the west. So they are jettisoning drugs here, nag-je-jettison rin sila dito sa kabila “they are jettisoning drugs on the other side],” he said.

So far, Duterte said the country has 1.6 million persons who have become slaves to shabu.

“Inutil na ‘yan sila [They are inutile],” he said.

“All they have to do is to wait for the monkey to ride on their back and start to scratch and look for the chemical. ‘Yung walang pera, ‘yun. Magnakaw, magpatay [If they don’t have money, they will steal and kill],” he said.

Earlier, the President hit back at Iceland for leading a resolution seeking a United Nations inquiry into the alleged rights abuses related to the government’s violent war on drugs.

Duterte argued that Iceland could not understand the country’s problems because the Nordic island’s only problem was having too much ice.

“Ano ang problema ng Iceland? Ice lang [What’s the problem of Iceland? Ice only]. That’s your problem You have too much ice and there is no clear day or night there,” he said.

“So you can understand why there is no crime, there is no policemen either and they just go about eating ice,” he said.

Duterte also found nothing wrong with threatening to kill those who destroy the nation. “I’m asking the human rights people. Is it wrong to say, “If you destroy my country, I will kill you?” Is that a crime for a president, mayor, or a governor to say that in public?” he said.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recently voted to adopt a resolution seeking an investigation into the Philippines’ war on drugs.

Eighteen countries approved the Iceland-led resolution while 14 nations were against and 15 abstained.