By Macon Araneta

Sen. Panfilo Lacson recently said he would rather say that President Rodrigo Duterte’s war  against illegal drugs has not been successful enough rather than call it a failure.

But in her public report on January 6, Vice-president Leni Robredo described the President’s  drug war as a “massive failure,” saying that the government hardly scratched the surface of society’s problem despite the money and resources spent by the administration.

She said that if it were an exam, the Duterte administration would have scored poorly at 1/100 since it only managed to curtail a measly one percent of the total projected illegal drugs and drug money exchanged on the streets. 

She insisted there is a need to change the government’s strategy to tackle the problem of illegal drugs.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III rejected Robredo’s assertion that the drug war is a failure.

“No. War against drugs fails only when you stop fighting. It’s a constant battle against drug dealers, drug dependents, corrupt officials and cerebrally challenged critics,” said Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

 Sotto served as chairperson of the Dangerous Drug Board. He  also related his experience in Quezon City which had emphasis on prevention. He said this  brought down the drug statistics from 54 percent prevalence to nine percent in 1992. 

Sotto who also talked about his campaign against illegal drugs as vice mayor of Quezon City.

Lacson said he had earlier cited that there may be a need to shift the focus on the supply side more than the demand side or the so-called low-life street pushers. 

Their apprehension, Lacson noted, should be directed at going after their big suppliers rather than gloat about it as an accomplishment by the police and other drug enforcement operatives. 

The former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief  said intelligence, being the prime mover of all law enforcement operations,  should be given utmost priority.

He also said a  “a no-mercy policy” against corrupt anti-drug law enforcement operatives must be implemented immediately. 

“Having said that, the war against illegal drugs is a continuing fight,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Koko Pimentel said running the country is more than just fighting drugs.

He said there are other issues requiring the President’s attention like fighting injustice and inequity, inflation, terrorism and corruption, among others. 

Because of this, he said the President should remain as President and delegate the war on drugs to his most trusted law enforcer and drug war strategist. 

But the senator said he agrees to go after the big time suppliers and manufacturers. 

“Who are these people bringing in the massive quantities of illegal drugs into our country? From what countries are these drugs coming? Have we requested these countries to supervise their territory in order to prevent the shipment of drugs to PH?”