By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima maintained that the recently reported drug raid involving the City Hall staff of Mayor Sara Duterte and her companions highlighted the true state of drug warbunder the present administration.
De Lima, the most prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, made the statement following news report that the Davao City official and her companions were allegedly allowed to escape during the anti-drug operation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in a beach resort in Davao de Oro last Nov. 6.
“Hindi pa natatapos ang Pharmally corruption scandal na sangkot ang mga tao ni Duterte, tapos heto na naman at sangkot sa droga ang tao ng mga Duterte,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1174.
“In this incident we see again the true face of this drug war. It intently kills the poor, mostly targets small players, allows big-time drug lords to escape, and exempts from arrests people close to the Dutertes. And let me add—it locks up in jail an innocent person (that’s me!),” she added.
Based on media reports, former Davao City information officer Jefry Tupas and her companions were allegedly still present when authorities raided a beach party in Davao de Oro over the weekend but were allowed to leave, according to some of those nabbed from the operation.
At least 17 people were arrested during the party.
“During the raid, we were instructed to lay flat on the ground. And then they started looking for Jef Tupas. After that, Jef disappeared,” one of those arrested reportedly said. Aside from Tupas, the other suspects claimed that more than two persons were allowed to go.
The lady Senator from Bicol underscored the need to thoroughly investigate such incident to shed light on the truth, stressing that “the Filipino people deserve answers.”
“A real ‘War on Drugs’, which does more than just target and abuse the powerless, and political enemies, will allow the investigation to proceed so the people can discover the answer to these very concerning questions: Why was a staffer of Mayor Sara present during a party where drugs were present, being used, passed around and peddled?
“How much did she know about the drug activity in the gathering she was present at before she was allegedly allowed to leave? Why was she allowed to leave? Where do law enforcement agents get the discretion to pick and select who to detain and arrest following a raid?” she asked.
De Lima said the real drug war does not favor anyone, regardless of their affiliation.
“Ang tanong: Dahil nag-resign na itong si Jefry Tupas, off the hook na siya at mga kasama niya? Kung ganun, wala talagang aasahang rule of law sa mga Duterte kapag sila at mga tao nila ang sangkot,” she stressed.
If anything, De Lima said she is not surprised that many in the circle of the Duterte family have links to drugs.
“What never fails to surprise and disgust me is their continued play-acting as if the public doesn’t know who they really are. Bistado na kayo!,” she said. (mtvn)