MANILA - Charges loom against the "leading personalities" in the matrix of illegal drugs operations exposed by President Duterte.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella revealed that the government is already building its case.
Abella, however, refused to specify names except to say the charges will be against leading personalities.
"Let's just take the cue from what the DOJ [Department of Justice] said that several witnesses have surfaced to prove certain allegations against certain personalities, and they're in the process of taking the affidavits of these particular witnesses including NBP [New Bilibid Prison] guards inmates and former friends of these personalities referred to. If and when they have been finally verified, the charges may have to deal with graft and drug-related cases, once information is actually verified," he said.
Abella, later on, said when he was asked to clarify "[that these drug-related graft cases [are] against the leading personalities in the matrix."
Abella, however, didn't specify names.
The matrix had then Justice Secretary now Senator Leila de Lima, former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan; his brother, Raffy; De Lima's driver, Ronnie Palisoc Dayan; Pangasinan board member Raul Sison; former Corrections Bureau chief Franklin Bucayu; and, former Pangasinan Governor now Congressman Amado Espino.
Asked about Espino, Abella said: "Was it in the matrix? Let's wait until the next step."
LINKS STILL BEING FINALIZED
Abella maintained that the information that was the basis of the matrix is verified. "I'm not saying it's not verified. They're verified as of the personalities but the other so-called links are being finalized."
Abella said the matrix is based on intelligence information gathered by the president. "Basically, I'd like to refer to the first part of your question. Actually, whatever he comes out with is based on collected intelligence, collaborated intelligence. He has certain basis for which we are not privy to."
Abella maintains that for the president, the country already suffers from narco-politics.
"Let me just give you my understanding of the whole matter. You have to set it in context, you have to set the whole operation, the whole campaign in context that from where the president is and where the president stands, what he sees is basically a nation that has really entered into the mess of narco-politics, where people who are in government and people who are in authority have consciously made choices that actually allow the proliferation of drugs.
"So he frames the whole matter in terms of a war and he actually makes, he actually brings out and highlights the fact that the 600,000 surrenderees is simply almost a tip of a large iceberg of how deeply, how deep and frightening drugs has been used, especially in the lower sectors of society. Basically the president's concern is to stop the supply that's coming in to the country and to make sure that the demand is stopped."
Abella also said, "the matrix, the details, the matrix per se is complete as presented by the president, that particular aspect of the matrix, but the details are being worked out."
Asked why the matrix doesn't specify any drug lords or convicts, Abella said, "as far as I know, these are the things he has allowed to be revealed. In time, it will all be completed. Like I said, in that particular aspect where he wants to link certain personalities, it's foundational."
NO TO KILLINGS
Abella maintains the government does not sanction killings. "I think the terms that you use imply that a lot of these are state- sanctioned. If you read very carefully, if you listen carefully to what the president is saying, it and how the strategy is being carried out, it doesn't implicate, it really does not... police authority there is no statement, there is no policy, specially what you just termed as a frightening landscape."
Abella also went on to explain recent statements attributed to PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, saying the PNP chief did not incite anyone into killing. "Again, let me bring it back, consider, the PNP chief has taken also part of the role of the action arm of the president who has taken on the role parens patria. He is really calling out [that] this is a time of crisis. The reason why perhaps people have not fully appreciated how deeply the spread of the drug menace is because it's only now that it's being revealed. For the longest time, it was either ignored or not attended to and so people are not aware of the depths. It's only now and that's why it's making a large, loud call even that you would say is a call, it's not an incitement to kill, it's a warning, it's a heads-up."