by Genalyn Kabiling
Any policeman who kills a drug lord will be given a two-rank promotion and those who may be charged will be pardoned, President Duterte said Wednesday while speaking at a harvest festival in Nueva Ecija.
“Kaya, maghintay sa promotion ng ano, matagal ‘yan. Pumatay ka na nga diyan, para… lalo na drug lord, major ka. Two ranks higher,” Duterte said.
Rejecting criticisms of alleged human rights abuses, the President vowed to sustain the campaign against illegal drugs until the last drug lord is neutralized. He bewailed that drug lords have turned four million Filipinos into slaves of the illegal drugs.
“Talagang tatapusin ko yan,” he said of the nation’s drug problem. “That’s my contract with you. Tatapusin ko talaga yan… Itong mga drug lord na ito, yayariin ko talaga kayo.”
Duterte also promised anew to defend and protect policemen performing their duty but would deal harshly against uniformed personnel involved in the drug trade.
“Go out and hunt for them. Arrest them if it is possible. But if you are confronted violently, placing your life in danger, patayin mo, patayin mo. And that is my order to you and to the military,” he said.
He reiterated that he would grant absolute pardon and promotion to policemen who will be found guilty of drug killings.
“The President shall have the power to pardon a convict. Absolute or conditional. Pag convicted, ibig sabihin, ibigay mo sa judge. Pagkatapos ng basa – ‘you’re hereby sentenced to prison to serve life’ – bigay mo pardon, ayan. Absolute. Restored to full and political and civil rights,” he said.
“Another order – reinstatement with one rank higher. Ayaw mo pa niyan?” he added.
KILLING OF 2 COEDS DECRIED
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Leonor Briones yesterday decried the “senseless and violent” murder of two female students by an alleged drug addict early this week in Siquijor and called on to the public to support the government’s war on drugs.
“The unnecessary demise of these two young lives dramatizes the need to support the government’s campaign against the use of illegal drugs,” said Briones in an official statement.
On April 2, Sunday, two female students were reportedly killed by a “known user of illegal drugs” in Siquijor. The two victims, 17-year-old Loreen Ramirez and 21-year-old Jan Nicole Piñero had reportedly travelled to Siquijor to show support for their boyfriends who were both participants in an international long board competition.
Ramirez was reportedly from Makati and attended the event to watch her boyfriend – a foreign exchange student in Silliman University – compete in the contest. Piñero, on the other hand, was the only daughter of Silliman faculty member Prof. Dionisio Piñero.
“While much attention has been placed on the human rights of drug users, pushers,, and financiers, not much focus was given to the victims and their families whose lives were destroyed as a result of the careless, mindless, and selfish choices of these addicts,” Briones, a former chairperson of the Silliman University, said.
Reports, said the students were killed by a participant in the contest said to be a “known user of illegal substances.” Reports said that the suspect targeted Ramirez’s boyfriend but ended up stabbing the girl instead. He also reportedly stabbed Piñero who had rushed to help her friend.
To support the drive against drugs, Secretary Briones said that DepEd is strengthening its National Drug Education Program to “create age-appropriate awareness among students as early as the age of nine” as part of DepEd’s “commitment to prevent drug use and abuse among learners and to curb the many drug-related incidents in the country.” (With a report from Merlina Hernandez Malipot)