MANILA - Is the Duterte administration winning the war on drugs?
For Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, the lower crime rate is proof that the war on drugs is effective.
"If we go by the pretext that almost all crimes are drug related, then lumabas ngayon sa data natin na crime rate has gone down by almost 40%. Then I can simply say that we are winning the war on drugs," Dela Rosa said during the Senate probe into the drug war killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos.
The PNP chief added that police have arrested 109,000 drug personalities, while 1.3 million drug users also surrendered to the police as part of the administration's war on drugs.
"That's for the demand side. Sa supply side ang basehan natin dito ay 'yung presyo ng droga, kung gaano na ito kataas ngayon. Kapag tumaas -- in the law of supply and demand: if the supply is low, the price is going up," he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who heads the committee handling the inquiry, said the street value of shabu, one of the most prevalent illegal drugs in the country, has gone up to P4,000 from P1,800 per gram based on information he received.
While the former PNP chief believes that the surging price of shabu is an indicator of the success of the war on drugs, what the police should look at is the number of drug users in the country, he said.
President Duterte has said there are about 4 million drug users in the Philippines.
"'Yan ang dapat malaman niyo para malaman niyo rin kung nananalo kayo o hindi," said Lacson after Dela Rosa failed to give him the exact number of the illegal drug users in the country.
The former chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Benjamin Reyes, said the number of drug users in the country is around 1.8 million. However, the contradiction of the numbers he gave from what the President was claiming cost him his position.
After Reyes was fired, the DDB chief who replaced him, Dionisio Santiago, said the 3 to 4 million number of drug users is just a "guess-timate."
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, meanwhile, said 4 million to 7 million Filipinos use illegal substances as of August 2017.