February 1, 2017
STATEMENT OF SEN. LEILA M. DE LIMA ON PRESIDENT DUTERTE'S TWIN PLAN TO ENLIST AFP INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR ON DRUGS
In his recent command conference, President Duterte has broached the idea of enlisting the military to perform anti-drug law enforcement functions through the revival of the Philippine Constabulary while at the same time running after rogue policemen involved with illegal drugs.
Under the pretext of the PNP standing down on Operation Tokhang, the President has just exercised an emergency power of the Commander-in-Chief as provided in the Constitution, calling out the AFP to suppress lawless violence, rebellion, or invasion. The exercise of this emergency power requires the existence of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. It cannot be invoked due to his own order suspending the PNP from conducting anti-drug operations.
The problem here is that the President has wittingly drawn in the military to his Tokhang program, thus putting civil society in a bind of whether to choose the devil they know, of the PNP doing Tokhang, or the devil they don't know, the AFP implementing the same murderous Tokhang operations.
At first glance, two issues stand out. Whether this is constitutional, i.e, whether are in a state of lawless violence, and whether the real solution after ordering the PNP to stand down is to order the AFP to step up. But these are not the real issues.
The real issue is the legitimacy of a government anti-drug program that sanctions killings and violations of human rights. The real problem is not the PNP or AFP per se, but the monstrous policy hatched in the bowels of Davao City and that gave rise to more than a thousand dead in that city and over 7,000 in the whole country. No pretext can change this root of the problem.
The problem is neither PNP being unable to do its job nor the AFP taking over the PNPs job, but the President and his single-minded obsession with drugs and his alarmist strategy in order to justify his human rights abuses.
Again, the solution is to stop the killings, and not call out the AFP to do the killings that the PNP has supposedly ceased to perform. Spare the military from the killing of civilians. Spare the civilians from all killings, whether by the PNP or the AFP.
Thursday, March 30
Wednesday, March 29