By Roy Mabasa
Speaking from firsthand experience, the visiting head of counterterrorism of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) emphasized the importance of the rule of law in the arrest and prosecution of those involved in illegal drug activities.
In an interview with a select group of reporters, DHS Under Secretary and counterterrorism coordinator David Glawe, who started as a police officer then went on to become an agent with the US Postal Inspection Service and then moved over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said he understands the challenges in investigating criminal organizations and narcotics operations.
However, Glawe said the rule of law must always be placed in the forefront of law enforcement.
He pointed out that the benchmark of US Armed Forces is the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution emphasizes the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures and that this right shall not be violated.
He said that even in the process of going against drug suspects and other criminal elements requires “reasonable” governmental searches and seizures to be conducted only upon issuance of a warrant, judicially sanctioned by probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
The US is one of the countries that expressed serious concern on the Philippines’ human rights situation in relation to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs that has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings.
Glawe is currently visiting the Philippines to discuss the strong US-Philippine partnership on mutual security matters.
“I am traveling in Southeast Asia, it’s the first large diplomatic trip for my office, in my position as head of counter terrorism,” he said.
Ysterday he met with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II with whom he discussed the partnership of the US with the Philippines to combat global transnational criminal organizations, narcotics, human smuggling and child exploitation.
“We also expressed our view that narcotics is a threat to our community,” the US official said.
According to Glawe, his conversation with Aguirre reaffirmed joint efforts of the two countries to combat child exploitation, secure global aviation against terrorism threats, as well as identify and interdict criminals and contraband crossing our borders.
“We talked about…identifying those bad actors who are trying to harm our country,” he told reporters. “We talked specifically about how we could enhance our partnership against transnational criminal organizations.”
“We had mutual agreement on utmost challenges,” Glawe added. “We talked about child exploitation and human smuggling how devastating it could be to the community as well.”
He said they also discussed about the recent Marawi City siege and the upcoming prosecution of those involved as well.
Glawe took over as acting undersecretary in DHS in January.