IN CEBU: STAY IN JAIL
Duterte threatens anew ‘rich’ drug suspects
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte told drug suspects in Cebu Tuesday to look for a way to get arrested and then stay in jail if they want to live longer, in his latest threat in his bloody anti-drug crackdown.
He did not identify the targets of his warning in a televised threat-laden speech, but referred to people who grew rich through illegal drugs in Cebu province.
“You know if I were you guys in Cebu, stay in jail. You want to live longer? Stay in jail,” Duterte said. “Look for your own reason to be in jail. Do not go out of that facility. It would not be healthy for you.”
There has been at least one high-profile drug suspect, however, who was shot to death by police in his jail cell in what was suspected of being a rubout.
Police killed town Mayor Rolando Espinosa inside a jail in Leyte in 2016 in what they said was a gun battle, but government investigators declared it a murder. Murder complaints against an officer and his men involved in the shootout were later downgraded to a lesser charge that allowed them to be released on bail and reinstated into the force.
In a rambling speech during the Philippine navy’s founding anniversary that initially touched on terrorism and South China Sea territorial threats, Duterte veered to his anti-drug crackdown. He issued a veiled threat to policemen involved in drugs and acknowledged the national force has been infiltrated by criminals.
“Some of them, sadly, are really into drugs … most of all the policemen because they are aplenty. I’m just warning them that if you are into it, you will be the first to go,” he said.
“And to all of those criminals out there, to all those rogue policemen and all creating hell for us, I have yet sufficient time to correct all of these things,” Duterte, a former mayor, said. “You might not like the way how I correct things but I would just love to warn you that there is no turning back on this and I am there in the drug war in front.”
“Karamihan mga diyan sa Cebu na mga yumaman sa drugs tapos magyabang pa na…You know, if you do that publicly tapos you flaunt it as if you are the righteous person just because there is no evidence although you were the ones responsible,” Duterte said.
Cebu Daily News found out that of the 18,900 prisoners under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Central Visayas (BJMP-7), about 15,000 inmates have cases related to illegal drugs.
Duterte’s statements came as no surprise to law enforcement officials.
Police Regional Director, Chief Supt. Robert Quenery said that the president has repeatedly issued this statement.
“(This) because about 90 percent of the 3,003 barangays in Central Visayas are affected by illegal drugs,” said Quenery in a text message sent to Cebu Daily News.
“Similarly, the volume of drugs confiscated by law enforcement units in anti-illegal drug operations remain to be prevalent,” Quenery added.
Meanwhile Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) spokesperson Leia Albiar said the president had reasons to tag Cebu as a hotspot for illegal drugs.
“There are many factors (why there is still illegal drug trade here). One is that we are the Queen City of the South and we (have) industrialize cities in fact not only cities but the entire region. So we are likely to be spotted immediately,” Albiar said. /With AP
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