Atienza clarified though that Duterte has his support on his ongoing war versus illegal drugs but he just could not help but notice the conspicuous differences in his approach when dealing with alleged drug lords and their ordinary traffickers.
“We want all those engaged in the illicit drug trade, big and small, but especially the big ones, captured and locked up. But we cannot tolerate summary executions, especially if all those targeted are mere street-level pushers,” Atienza said in a statement.
“We have to eradicate the big-time traffickers first, as well as their coddlers in law enforcement, if we are to effectively suppress the supply side of the drug problem. We’re afraid getting rid of the easily replaceable smallest players in the supply chain won’t make much of a dent,” he added.
While Duterte already implicated five active and retired police generals on the issue, Atienza said the administration is yet to take a strong action against them beyond being shamed in public and relieved of their duties.
He was referring to Chief Superintendents Joel Pagdilao, Bernado Diaz, and Edgardo Tinio, retired Police Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo, and former Chief Superintendent now Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot who are collectively regarded as ‘narco generals.’
In Duterte’s recent meeting with suspected Cebu-based drug lord Peter Lim, the president was even quoted offering him help to clear his name following his denial that he was indeed the ‘Peter Lim’ who landed on his list of so-called triad leaders.
“Help us clear you, tulungan mo kami to clear you, we are not here to pin down the innocent,” Duterte reportedly said in an official transcript of the meeting provided by Malacañang. This was after the president threatened to have Lim killed if they found out he was lying.
Change has apparently not yet come, based on the observations of Atienza, as he stated that ‘only poor people are bound to suffer judicial death sentences, while moneyed felons such as big-time drug traffickers would continue to enjoy lavish lives in detention, or worse, go unpunished.’
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