By Mario Casayuran
Another Duterte may be needed in case the promise of President Duterte to emerge victorious in his controversial anti-illegal drugs campaign might not be realized just before he leaves office in June, 2022.
‘’Marami naman dyan bigyan lang ng chance pero di natin alam kung kasing tapang nya; iba kasi si Pangulong Duterte. Kahit may guided missile tatama sa sasakyan niya, wala sya pakialam basta gawin nya trabaho nya,’’ Senator Ronald ‘’Bato’’ dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, said during a radio interview. (There are many out there who could wage war against illegal drugs. We will give them a chance but we don’t know if they are as brave as President Duterte. He will continue his fight even if a guided missile hits his car. He does not care. He will fight on.)
Aside from fighting drug lords, President Duterte is also fighting a rear guard action against civil libertarians, both local and foreign, on his strong-arm tactics.
The PNP has admitted that more than 5,000 persons having alleged connections with the multi-billion-peso illegal drugs have been killed in police operations while scores of police personnel have been killed or injured in the drug war.
Dela Rosa said the PNP calamity rate was inflicted on them because of its ‘’maximum tolerance’’ policy.
Duterte critics, however, maintained that more than 10,000 have actually been killed in police operations or through extra-judicial killings (EJK).
The two-year detention of Senator Leila de Lima on alleged illegal drugs-related charges has increased the intensity criticisms against Duterte.
Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, admitted that the Duterte administration is waging a very difficult war against illegal drugs.
‘’We have to do concrete actions right now otherwise we are going to the dogs. Ang ating bansa magiging narco state tayo. Baka mamaya ang PNP na ang aatras sa armadong drug lords gaya sa Mexico,’’ he said. (Our country might become a narco state. The PNP might retreat from a fight with heavily-armed drug lords like what is happening in Mexico.)
‘’Huwag natin hintayin na ganun. Dahil malapit na talaga tayo kung di naging Presidente si Pangulong Duterte,’’ he added. (We should not wait for such an eventuality. We could be nearing a Mexico-like situation if President Duterte was not elected.)
As the Senate resumes regular session January 6, Dela Rosa said he would ‘’shake’’ the Senate justice and human rights committee chaired by Senator Richard J, Gordon into acting on pro-death penalty bills filed in the Senate, including dela Rosa’s.
Gordon is against the imposition of death penalty.
Dela Rosa said he and other senators who favor the death penalty on heinous crimes have waited for six months for the Gordon committee to draft its report.
He said his bill is limited to drug traffickers as there is a strong opposition against the re-imposition of death penalty as the poor who could not afford lawyers are at a disadvantage.
He stressed thatr foreigners, particularly the Chinese who bring in hundreds of kilos of ‘’shabu’’ (crystal meths), should be meted the death penalty.
Human rights lawyers said the drug war is not being won because government officials, including those at the customs bureau, are themselves involved in the drug smuggling operations.