MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo says that while she supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s unwavering fight against crime, her approach differs from that of the chief executive as she will ensure that human rights will not be violated in efforts to address criminality.
“Naniniwala tayo, tulad ng paniniwala ng ating Pangulo, na kailangan talagang sugpuin iyong krimen… hindi lang nagkakatugma [iyong aming approach],” Robredo said on the sidelines of the Istorya ng Pag-asa Photo Gallery Caravan launch in Novaliches, Quezon City on Tuesday.
[We believe, like what the President believes, that crime really needs to be weeded out…It’s just that our approaches don’t match.]
“Ako po naniniwala ako na sa pagpapatupad ng anti-drug campaign, sa pag-aayos ng peace and order, hindi pa rin dapat labagin iyong karapatang pantao [I believe that in carrying out the anti-drug campaign, in ensuring peace and order, human rights should still not be violated],” the Vice President added.
On Monday, during his second State of the Nation Address, Duterte vowed that his administration would be “unrelenting” in its fight against illegal drugs despite widespread criticisms against his strategy of addressing the crime.
“I have resolved that no matter how long it takes, the fight against illegal drugs will continue because it is the root cause of suffering,” the President said.
“The fight will be unrelenting…despite international and local pressures, the fight will not stop,” he added, again warning drug criminals that “they have to stop because the alternative is either jail or hell.”
Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in the state-authorized killing of 3,200 drug-linked persons (from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017) and 12,833 homicides (from July 1, 2016 to June 16, 2017), about 16 percent of which or 2,098 cases were drug-related but not police-sanctioned, based on data from the Philippine National Police.
Robredo underscored the need for the rule of law — or principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced — in addressing criminality as “it serves as the poor’s shield against possible abuses of power.”
“Kailangan iyong rule of law. Kung ano iyong nasa batas, ano iyong nasa Konstitusyon, nasusunod pa din, dahil ito naman iyong sandata ng mahihirap natin na mga kababayan laban sa pang-aabuso ng mga nasa kapangyarihan,” she said.
[Rule of law is needed. What is in the law, what is in the Constitution, should still be followed because this is the shield of our poor countrymen against the abuses of those in power.]
The Office of the Vice President (OVP) said Robredo had previously offered assistance on the rehabilitation side of the anti-drug effort, underscoring the importance of a community-based approach to rehabilitation and prevention.
Last year, the OVP said that it had tapped several local government units and groups from various sectors to help devise a community rehabilitation program.
Also, the OVP said Robredo had urged national government agencies involved in the rehabilitation side of the anti-drug campaign to jumpstart their efforts using resources from both the public and private sectors, pending the institutionalization of an inter-agency program anchored on the same approach.