Herbert backs increasing drug death toll but Leni says heavy bloodshed should cause public outrage

August 17, 2017 - 7:08 PM
File photos of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista (from Philstar) and Vice President Leni Robredo (from OVP)

MANILA, Philippines – They belong to the same political party. But it doesn’t mean that their stand on issues will always be the same.

On Thursday, Vice President Leni Robredo, the newly appointed chairperson of the Liberal Party and Mayor Herbert Bautista, the LP-Quezon City Chapter executive vice chairman, expressed opposing opinions on the police’s anti-narcotics operations that killed 32 people in Bulacan in a single day — from Monday night until Tuesday afternoon — followed by the overnight murder of 25 others in Manila.

For Robredo, the heavy bloodshed should be a reason for Filipinos to make known their indignation against the worsening culture of impunity that was supposedly already renounced by the Philippines a long time ago.

Ito, isang bagay na kailangan tayong mag-express ng outrage. Hindi naman tayo ganyan, eh. Hindi naman tayo ito. Iyong culture of impunity, matagal na nating itinakwil dito sa ating bansa. Sana… hindi na natin papayagang makabalik pa,” Robredo told reporters while she was in Naga City on Thursday.

The Vice President added that while she was “acknowledging the need to take action against illegal drugs, due process” must be observed. She is also pushing for the adoption of other approaches, such as community-based rehabilitation, which applies to most drug surrenderers.

But for Bautista, the Duterte administration’s narcotics war should be supported and the number of drug-related fatalities increased, if needed.

“‘Yong sinabi ni Presidente sa Bulacan, ‘yong 32, padamihin pa natin ‘yan. Sinusuportahan po natin ‘yan, lalo na kapagka kriminal lumaban,” the mayor said on Thursday during the inauguration of the new Quezon City Police District’s Station 7 in Cubao, where Bautista was guest of honor.

[The one mentioned by the President, the 32 killed in Bulacan, we should increase that. We are supporting that especially if criminals fight back.]

The mayor defended the police, saying they’re supposed to arrest drug suspects but the latter resist and fight authorities, giving no other option to law enforcers but to retaliate.

He also praised the anti-drug war in Metro Manila. Bautista said the crime rate in Quezon City had decreased by 41 percent, based on the report of the National Capital Region Police Office.

Huhulihin naman eh, kaso lumaban. All over the country ‘yan, sa mga kriminal sumuko na kayo. In the report of NCRPO, ang crime bumaba ng 41 percent dito lang sa Quezon City,” he said.

On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte also lauded the police’s anti-drug operations in Bulacan and said that it was okay with him if authorities eliminate tens of Filipinos daily if this is the way to solve the country’s narcotics problem.

“‘Yong namatay daw kanina sa Bulacan, 32, in a massive raid. Maganda ‘yon. Makapatay lang tayo ng mga another 32 everyday then maybe we can reduce…what ails this country,” Duterte said.