Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin lashed out yesterday at groups and countries imposing Western methods on the war on drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte, branding them as “moral morons.”
The European Union (EU) had insisted that Duterte adopt a health approach on the drugs problem instead of the current crackdown by the police that has dramatically reduced trafficking of drugs and street crimes with it.
The EU even threatened to withhold trade privileges under the generalized scheme of preference (GSP) in retaliation to the deaths associated with the war on drugs which Duterte’s critics claim as extrajudicial killings.
“Those people who want to treat the drug problem as a medical problem, which is right but only with regard to addicts not drug dealers, are patently on the PR (public relations) payroll of the drug trade. Period,” Locsin said yesterday in a social media post.
“Moral morons I called them,” he added.
“The world has so much concern for the fatal risks that drug dealers run in their purely personal criminal career choice,” Locsin added.
“Wondering how much of that particular concern might be traced to a drug trade payroll,” he said.
Before a UN assembly, Locsin said the international critics of the administration were wrong in calling the war on drugs as genocide.
“Genocide is defined definitively as the killing of people for their race, religion or political persuasion. The drug trade is not about race—indeed it is about one and the same race cleansing itself,” he said.
He added it is neither a religious practice, “though the experience, I am told, is mystical.”
“And it is not a political ideal, though the drug trade started buying politicians in the previous government,” he said.
“What it is is a purely personal criminal career choice. You are not born a dealer or baptized as one nor do you embrace it as a principle for which you are prepared to die,” he said.
“It was not a political principle but a smart career choice when it paid well. But under this dispensation that career choice has fatal consequences. And this is not a crime against humanity,” he added.
Locsin issued the comments following the release of an executive order (EO) that institutionalized Mr. Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign through the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy (PADS).
Duterte issued EO 66 outlining balanced efforts of the government to boost its campaign against illegal drugs last 29 October.
Under the directive, all government departments and offices, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) and state universities and colleges (SUC) will implement PADS.
Government offices were also directed “to formulate their respective implementing and operational plans relative to the PADS and submit them to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) within 60 days.”
The local government units (LGU) were also “encouraged” to support and implement the PADS based on the EO.
Non-government organizations, civil society groups and private institutions were likewise urged to actively support PADS’ projects and programs.
Drug testing a must
Mr. Duterte also directed government entities as well as local governments to formulate and adopt drug-free workplace programs and conduct “authorized” drug testing among their respective officials and personnel.The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was also instructed to ensure the formulation and implementation of the programs.
Aside from formulating their own plans, LGU were also required to establish anti-drug abuse councils and implement PADS and barangay drug-clearing operations in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP).
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was also directed to monitor the implementation of PADS at LGU level.
EO 66 said the DDB and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shall conduct a nationwide survey every three years to determine drug abuse prevalence in the country.
The DDB formulated the PADS to update and develop the existing National Anti-Drug Plan of Action 2015-2020 as part of the country’s contribution to international efforts to combat worldwide illegal drug problem.
At the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 4 October 2018, Locsin, then Permanent Representative to the UN, in a speech, said the previous administration of President Benigno Aquino coddled the drugs trade.
“The previous administration coddled it; maybe it seemed harmless; its victims did not complain but wore a smile on their face. And they didn’t die; they walked around aimlessly like living dead. Most certainly it paid well to ignore it,” he said.
He added Mr. Duterte was elected by a landslide vote, “precisely on a campaign promise to exterminate the drug trade.”
“A war on drugs was carried out at the very same instant it was declared. To date, 4,000 dealers have been killed in police operations. Human-rights groups unaccountably counted up to 22,000 but that only shows how widely drug abuse has reached,” he added.
He admitted tragic mistakes happened in the campaign and blamed bad police elements for it.
“They were the result of a reckless disregard by the police in going after drug dealers. They were brutal cowardly acts such as police are prone to commit because it feels good to do it or they were erasing traces of their own complicity in the drug trade,” he said.
“These tragedies are inexcusable; but they are no excuse to stop the war on drugs—as friends of the drug trade recommend desperately as though they were lawyering for the accused,” he added.
Locsin also reported accomplishments of the Duterte administration war on drugs such as the 99,000 anti-drug operations conducted and seizing of more than 2,600 kilos of crystal meth, commonly called shabu, amounting to more than P14.3 billion.
“We have dismantled 192 dens and clandestine laboratories. We have rescued almost 700 minors. More than 600,000 drug users turned themselves in. More than 143,000 drug personalities have been arrested. We have a new chief of police. Smarter and cleaner than whistle but just as determined to wipe out the drug trade,” he said.
“The UN Human Rights rapporteur has suggested that methamphetamine is at worst harmless; identical thinking devotees argue that at best methamphetamine is a vitamin. They are welcome to ingest the confiscated chemicals to demonstrate their beneficial effect—but in front of TV cameras because we don’t want them resold in the market,” he said.
“It is suggested that drugs should be legalized. The idea is of course idiotic unless you think they are vitamins. All that would do is turn the government into the biggest drug dealer. This was a prospect the USDEA (US Drug Enforcement Administration) warned our new democracy would happen unless it took extreme measures against two military officers in the trade. I was present,” he said.
Not an option
“Advocates of legalizing a crime, and a major one at that, in order to end that crime are right in a way: legalize it and, Voila!, it is not criminal. Yet an activity that can only be described as criminal continues with consequences on the population that can only be called criminal, as well,” he said.
Locsin said these advocates point encouragingly to small countries facing a peaceful, well-policed ocean that have legalized drugs.
“The Philippines would consider that option if it was, like these countries, small with small populations. But the Philippines is the 13th-largest nation on Earth with 110 million inhabitants and thousands of miles of coastline—anywhere along which methamphetamine is regularly dropped in sealed garbage bags to be picked up by complicit local government units,” he said.