It has taken on a life of its own, but it was evident that President Rodrigo Duterte’s only purpose was to stop Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s criticism of his so-called “war on drugs” when he dared her last October 31 to take charge of it for the next six months.
Not only the credibility of the Duterte regime is at stake in the scandal over the alleged appropriation and sale by 13 “ninja cops” of illegal drugs they had confiscated during an anti-drug operation, as well as resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde’s supposedly preventing their dismissal from the service. On the block as well is whether the PNP should continue as the lead organization in that “war”— or should have even been so designated at all.
Like the American invasion and conquest of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, the Duterte watch has been as bloody and as blundering.
The wanton killings by the police and their surrogate assassins that are the main, in fact the only, component of the brutal and misdirected “war” on drugs that’s targeting the poor while the drug lords are treated with kid gloves and evade prosecution began almost as soon as Rodrigo Duterte assumed the Presidency last year.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) says that “only” 1, 398 individuals have been killed in the course of the Rodrigo Duterte regime’s “war” on the illegal drug trade out of a total of 6,011 killings in the country from July 1, 2016 when Mr. Duterte began his watch as President, until March 24, 2017, or a little more than eight months into his six-year term.