VACC gives 'benefit of the doubt' on drug operations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2016 05:24 PM

With so many drug users surrendering, gov't should now focus on supply-side, says Jimenez


MANILA - The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) is willing to give the benefit of the doubt and presume regularity in police operations against suspected drug peddlers, said one of the group's leaders.

VACC founding Chairman Dante Jimenez said given that the new administration has only been in power for two weeks, the war on drugs doesn't show enough results yet.

"I believe personally and VACC believes, let us give him the free hand for the next three to six months, and after that, let us already ask him what happened," he told ANC's Dateline Philippines.

Jimenez said this is crucial, as "many politicians and lawmakers who are trying to have a circus out of this campaign against illegal drugs," and because the country is almost a "narco-state."

Jimenez assured, while the group grants law enforcers the "presumption of regularity," their group does not tolerate extra-judicial killings. Some believe cop-protectors are eliminating their subordinates through "operations" in the administration's war against drugs.

"The PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) are now investigating all these things. We will not allow that, even VACC will not, will never allow those things to be tolerated by this administration," said Jimenez.

He added, the VACC hopes that with the increasing number of drug pushers and users who have surrendered to the authorities, the administration may now focus on eliminating the supply side.

"That is very crucial in the campaign against illegal drugs—supply—because one, if it will come from other countries, and two, it is now being manufactured even in some houses," he said.

He emphasized that the administration has only been in place for two weeks, but after the three to six months that President Rodrigo Duterte has promised has lapsed, he will personally ask for a follow-up.

"It’s gonna take six months as he promised, and I tell you, I personally will, on January 1, 2017, will be asking him together with the rest of us all: where is your promise?," he said.

DOUBLE STANDARDS?

Meanwhile, Jimenez also said that he finds nothing unusual with the meeting between Duterte and alleged drug lord Peter Lim, saying "the president is accessible to all, not only to some."

Photos of Lim and Duterte together circulated around social media over the weekend, causing many to believe there is a double-standard in the administration's way of dealing with suspected drug peddlers.

Lim's spokesperson confirmed the two stood as primary sponsors at a wedding recently held in Cebu

The Palace also defended the president, who told Lim to have himself investigated after being tagged in the illicit drug trade when they met in Davao on Friday.

Jimenez, meanwhile ,said there is no double-standards in the on-going campaign against drugs. He said the meeting on Friday was a result of Lim's personal request to see the president and clear his name.

"I don’t think there’s a double-standard in this case because very clearly, the President, during his encounters with this Peter Lim said ‘if it is proven he is the Peter Lim, I would say, leader of a syndicate in the Philippines, he will be killed," he said.

He added, Duterte has said in numerous occasions that he would allow for his own children to be killed if proven to be involved in illegal drugs.