CEBU CITY-A senator and staunch supporter of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs described as overblown reports about police involvement in extrajudicial killings of suspected pushers or users, saying the number of deaths in the campaign against drugs attributable to police is miniscule if the “whole picture” is examined.
CEBU CITY—A senator and staunch supporter of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs described as overblown reports about police involvement in extrajudicial killings of suspected pushers or users, saying the number of deaths in the campaign against drugs attributable to police is miniscule if the “whole picture” is examined.
Speaking before about a hundred policemen in Cebu on Thursday, Sen. Vicente Sotto III, Senate majority leader, said the number of drug suspects killed by police is just 5 percent of the government’s accomplishment in the war on drugs.
He said of 37,346 police operations since July 1, 38,587 drug suspects had been arrested while 2,004 had been killed, citing records of the Philippine National Police.
Many of those who died, Sotto said, were killed because they engaged authorities in gunfights.
“I never fail to smile every time they mentioned the issue of extrajudicial killings,” he said.
“Just look at the statistics. It’s really the way you picture things,” he said in his speech at the celebration of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Month at the Central Visayas police office.
He did not talk about drug suspects killed by unknown assailants since President Duterte assumed office.
Instead, he lashed out at international publications which, he said, focused too much on the increase in number of deaths.
In October, The Liberation, a French newspaper, tagged President Duterte as a “serial killer President” amid the series of killings in the administration’s “relentless war on drugs.”
International publications, like The Guardian, Time, The New York Times and Washington Post also previously featured different aspects of the war on drugs.
Mr. Duterte and his men have repeatedly criticized the foreign media for being biased against the President.
Sotto said statistics prove that majority of drug suspects in the country were given the chance to live.
“If only the international media could highlight the total picture, it will be a different story,” he said.
“They have made a wrong notion about what is happening in the Philippines today. There’s a misinterpretation of things that are happening,” he said.
Present during the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Month celebration were Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, Central Visayas police chief; Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz, of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas; Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane and former Rep. Antonio Cuenco.
Sotto also gave plaques of recognition to city and police officials in Central Visayas for their roles in the war on drugs. Recipients include Dr. Alice Utlang, of the Cebu Office for Substance Abuse Prevention Program and Ernie Manatad, village chief of Subangdaku.
Five months after Mr. Duterte launched the war on drugs, Sotto said he started to feel the improvement in the country’s peace and order situation.
“The Philippines is a very beautiful country. Now, people who come here are no longer afraid of drug addicts roaming around different places,” he said.
“There are still those who are into illegal drugs that is why our efforts should be continued,” he added.