MANILA, Aug 29 (Mabuhay) – With hundreds of thousands of individuals surrendering to authorities for admitted drug use, Malacañang on Sunday declared success in the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Kung makikita po natin ‘yung first phase ng laban kontra droga ay nagwagi na tayo, ‘yung first phase po ito. Ito ‘yung susumahin natin ‘yung mahigit 700,000 na sumurrender or who turned themselves in para magpa-rehabilitate,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in an interview over state-run dzRB radio.
Data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) released on August 2 shows that nearly 600,000 drug users have surrendered from July 1 to August 2.
Andanar said the government was now ready to “move on to the second phase of the drug campaign,” which will be explained by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Andanar recalled Duterte’s commitment during the campaign to suppress the problem of illegal drugs, crime, and corruption in the country within three to six months.
“Ito’y ginagawa naman ng Pangulo, sa mas lalong madaling panahon. Ang pangako ng ating Pangulong Duterte, ay ito ay malinis, within three to six months, mga 70 to 80 percent, ay malinis na ito,” he said.
The Palace official said the “matrix” released by Duterte establishing the links of certain personalities in the alleged illegal drug operations inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) was also part of the first phase.
“Kung titingnan po natin ‘yung mga nabanggit na mga pangalan, ‘yung mga big time, ‘yung mga nasa top echelons of society, na nabanggit po sa drug matrix ay ito’y maituturing na tagumpay na first phase,” Andanar said.
Andanar reiterated that charges await those tagged by Duterte in the matrix.
“Wala hong ano ‘yan, wala hong timeline ano. Basta as soon as possible kapag nakitaan po ng kumpletong, talagang prima facie evidence, at kung hindi po nakapagsumite ng counter-affidavit ‘yung persons of interest ng Philippine National Police, PDEA, at ng DOJ, then kakasuhan,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella last week said those mentioned in the NBP matrix may face drug-related graft cases.
Included in the matrix were Senator and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan and Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr., all of whom have denied the accusations against them.
Prior to the release of the matrix, Duterte also read out a list of PNP officers, local government officials and members of the judiciary who are supposedly involved in the illegal drug trade. He had also accused former and incumbent police generals of protecting drug operations. (MNS)