War on drugs, extremely difficult – Gibo – Philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines — Former national defense secretary and senatorial candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro has acknowledged that the government’s war on illegal drugs is extremely difficult, owing to the huge amounts of money at the disposal of drug lords.
Speaking to “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News channel last Friday, Teodoro said: “First and foremost, war against drugs is extremely difficult because of the vast amount of money that these drug lords have. How you approach that, I do not have the answer.”He noted that even for a superpower like the United States, the illegal drug trade remains a problem. “Even in the US they tried to build the wall already. It is extremely difficult,” he said.
The second big challenge, Teodoro said, is whether or not the government’s intelligence community has the capacity to launch intelligence-based and evidence-supported operations.
He said the government needs to capacitate both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Prosecution Service for this “because the end in view of every operation should be to gather enough evidence in order to convict” an illegal drug trader.
He then recalled the Boratong case which was handled by four lady prosecutors, following the raid of a drug lab in Pasig City during the time of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“We were asked by the president to provide security for these four prosecutors who allegedly were going to be offered some sums in exchange for a non-prosecution,” said Teodoro, adding that the prosecution stood firm and secured a conviction in that case.
“I think he is still in jail or the cohorts are still in jail. So, we have to continue on a sustainable basis, these kinds of activities. And more importantly there should be a fusion on what the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) does and what the police do,” Teodoro said.
He lamented instances of a misencounter because of conflicting jurisdictions.
As for capital punishment, the aspiring senator said that he is against the reimposition of the death penalty.
“No. No. I have always been against the death penalty not for any moral reasons. I feel that it is acceptable but you must have the mechanism to guarantee a fair trial,” Teodoro said. “There is a spectre of people being wrongly convicted and once he is dead you cannot put him back to life or her back to life anymore.”
Meanwhile, Teodoro was firm on being against the Philippines’ resuming membership in the International Circuit Court (ICC).
“No. I’ve always been against (that) on the record,” he said.
“We opposed it in the Department of National Defense,” he recalled as he cited that conditions of the local insurgency are different worldwide.
“You cannot have a foreigner judging you on what is right or wrong and even in the application of the ICC statutes, those that are strong won’t ever get prosecuted.
There were claims of British and American abuses in Afghanistan brought to the ICC. They dismissed it on the grounds that the domestic institution for prosecution and/or judging were sufficient,” Teodoro said.
He also said that while ICC investigators can come to the Philippines any time to investigate the Duterte administration’s drug war, “it’s moot and academic” since the Supreme Court is, in effect, already detached from the ICC.
Meanwhile, reelectionist Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian vowed to seek adequate support for the country’s marginalized learners, including persons with disabilities, in fostering the recovery of the education sector from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gatchalian pointed out that enrolment among learners with disabilities and Alternative Learning System (ALS) learners has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
For the chairman of the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, this presses the need to bring education opportunities more accessible to these learners, noting that they were already struggling before the pandemic hit.
Gatchalian is the principal author and sponsor of the Alternative Learning System Act (RA 11510). ALS provides opportunities for out-of-school children in special cases and adult learners to develop basic and functional literacy and life skills.
Out-of-school children in special cases include learners with disabilities or conditions, indigenous peoples, children in conflict with the law, learners in emergency situations and other marginalized sectors.
Gatchalian is also the sponsor and a co-author of the measure titled “Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act.”
Once enacted into law, the Department of Education, in collaboration with local government units, shall initially establish and maintain at least one Inclusive Learning Resource Center of Learners with Disabilities in each city and municipality in the country.
Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros thanked farmers’ groups that have expressed support for her reelection bid and vowed to push measures that will boost the development of the agriculture sector.
The Magsasaka Partylist and the Federation of Free Farmers separately manifested their support for Hontiveros as a senatorial candidate, emphasizing the unity in principle in promoting the rights and interests of the agricultural sector.
Hontiveros is known for advancing the rights and welfare of the agricultural sector through her Senate resolution urging the review of the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law and her move to recall the executive order lowering tariffs on imported rice.
She also exposed various issues of smuggling including the “rice tara-ffication” in the National Food Authority and the smuggling of imported vegetables and fruits that grossly affects local production.
The senator pledged to closely work with the different farmer and fisher groups to come up with safety nets and advance policy measures that will enhance the competitiveness of domestic agriculture production and rely less on food importation. – Cecille Suerte Felipe
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