MANILA – House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday insisted that the Duterte administration's controversial war on illegal drugs is not targeting the poor.
Alvarez fended off criticisms that the war on drugs has only left poor people dead and let the so-called “big fish” scot-free.
He then cited the case of Senator Leila de Lima, who is currently detained on drug charges.
“Huwag po tayong maniniwala na hanggang ngayon ay iyung mga maliliit lang po ang biktima dito sa ginagawa nating war no drugs. In fact po, nakakulong na po ang number one, public enemy number one. Ito ay ang dating (sic) senadora natin na si Leila de Lima,” Alvarez said in a news conference in Malacañang.
De Lima has accused the government of filing trumped-up charges against her for her vocal opposition to the government’s bloody war on drugs.
The detained senator questioned the charges against her which were based on the testimonies of high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
The inmates have claimed that De Lima, as justice secretary, received drug money. The senator has questioned the integrity of the inmates, suggesting that some of the testimonies were made under duress.
Alvarez dismissed De Lima’s cry of political persecution, saying such a practice does not exist under the Duterte government.
“Nakikita nating lahat na tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang kasinungalingan. She is still posturing as if may political persecution. Mali po iyon. Mayroon siyang na-commit na crime which is involving illegal drugs,” he said.