Minority senators: Punish abusive police, stop targeting poor in drug war

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The Senate minority bloc on Tuesday said it was high time to end “police abuse” during drug raids directed at the poor under President Rodrigo Duterte’s brief but already violent war on drugs.

The opposition bloc has called for an inquiry into the recent series of operations against drug suspects that led to the killing of at least 80 people in the past week, including Grade 11 student Kian Loyd Delos Santos, 17.

“There is a need not only attain justice for Kian and other victims of abuse by the State in the hands of our law enforcers and authorities,” said Senators Frank Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Sonny Trillanes, Risa Hontiveros, and (detained) Leila de Lima.

They also raised the need to reassess and change the strategy of the administration’s drug war, which unjustly targets the poor and the helpless while failing to address the root causes of the drug menace in the country.

“We cannot tolerate the alarming police impunity in the country. We need to investigate these killings of alleged drug suspects including a Grade 11 student in police operations,” said Drilon, the minority leader.

“The police should be reminded of their mandate to protect the citizens, especially the helpless and the poor,” Aquino said.

Trillanes said the investigation should be aimed not only at purging police ranks of personnel implicated in the killing and abuse of drug suspects, but also at providing accountability for those found erring.

“Relieving certain personnel without making them suffer the consequences of their action will not make a dent,” he added.