Sotto: Duterte admin’s drug war 'incomplete' but not a failure
MANILA -- The Duterte administration’s drug war is a not failure, Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said Tuesday, describing it rather as incomplete because it fell short in addressing the problem of drug abuse.
Sotto, a 2022 vice presidential aspirant who is a known advocate against illegal drugs since he joined politics, said the administration did not to address the narcotics problem holistically.
“To solve the problem of illegal drugs, you have to solve the problem of drug abuse. It cannot just be illegal drugs. And the current administration concentrated on the problem of illegal drugs, which is supply reduction, which is enforcement and prosecution,” Sotto said on ANC’s Headstart.
The administration focused too much on the enforcement aspect of curbing drug use, which is why it is now facing allegations of extrajudicial killings, he said.
“What it lacks is the complete drug abuse demand reduction strategy, which is what I have - which is prevention and rehabilitation. That’s what I said. I never used the word failure,” he said.
“Because we’re not addressing the problem of drug abuse... You know, the day we stop buying is the day they stop selling. I keep on repeating that. You have (then) addressed the problem of drug abuse. If there are no drug dependents, there are no pushers.”
The administration's deadly war on drugs is set to be probed by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's office.
Sotto said the Senate has passed a bill creating a national penitentiary for high-level durg traffickers and heinous criminals, and the creation of regional Bilibid prisons.
"Para na ring death penalty yun. It's a win-win situation," he said.
The lawmaker and his presidential running mate, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, have recently withdrawn their support for the reimposition of death penalty in the Philippines.
Sotto is among more than 20 individuals who filed their candidacy for the country's No. 2 job next year.
The other aspirants include Cong. Lito Atienza, Prof. Walden Bello, Dr. Willie Ong, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The final list of candidates will be known in the coming weeks after the Commission on Elections removes those it found to be nuisance.