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Sen. Leila de Lima on Monday urged the Duterte administration to go after big-time drug dealers instead of training its sights solely on street peddlers of illegal substances.

In an interview with GMA News TV’s “News to Go,” De Lima said the government’s campaign against illegal drugs should not only focus on the so-called “small fry.”

Since President Rodrigo Duterte started making bold pronouncements about going after drug traders, the senator noted that only a few big-time pushers have been caught.

“Konti pa lang ang ating nakikita na malaki. Ang big drug lords nasa Bilibid. Dapat big dealers,” she said.

De Lima, a former Justice Secretary and Commission on Human Rights chair, said there has also been no reports so far about raids conducted in upscale clubs where transactions involving illegal drugs are known to take place.

“Wala pa kong naririnig na nagre-raid o nagsasagawa ng operasyon sa posh clubs na lantaran ang dealing ng ecstasy catering to high class people. May narinig na ba tayong ganyan? Puro street pushers,” she said.

The Philippine National Police earlier confirmed an increase in the number of illegal drug suspects getting killed in police operations since the May 9 elections.

Citing information from the PNP, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said at least 23 people suspected of being drug offenders have been killed by law enforcers from June 30 until July 7 under what he described to be “vague circumstances.”

Baguilat has asked the House of Representatives to probe the wave of drug-related killings that occurred in recent weeks. A similar resolution will be filed by De Lima in the Senate this week.
'Not to be selective'

While the senator said she is supportive of Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, she said the government must not be selective in whom to go after.

“[D]apat ipakita ang seriousness [ng gobyerno] na i-cover big or small people at dapat sang-ayon sa tamang proseso ng batas,” she said.

Aside from going after drug pushers, the senator also urged the government to look into corruption among the PNP’s ranks. She said the illegal drug trade would not have flourished if there weren’t cops who coddled those involved in it.
“Ang una talagang dapat gawin ay tapusin ang corruption sa law enforcement agency. If only they will do their job, if walang makikipag-kuntsaba sa kanila, magpo-protect sa kanila, magka-coddle sa kanila, di dapat magiging ganito kalala [ang problema sa droga],” she said.

De Lima said there were some policemen found to be protecting drug syndicates during the Aquino administration although she said she was unaware of how high the ranks of the cops charged were.

Last week, Duterte named five active an retired police officials allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade. The active officials have been relieved from their posts.

Duterte said he also has a list of mayors supposedly protecting drug syndicates but he has yet to divulge any names. 

Source: GMA-NEWS

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