Commentary Editor's Pick

Leni’s questions – a statement on the government’s drug war

Ngayon ang tanong ko: Ano bang kinatatakutan ninyo?

Ano ba ang kinatatakutan ninyong malaman ko?

Ano ba ang kinatatakutan ninyong malaman ng taumbayan?

Now my question: what are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of me to know?

What are you afraid of knowing the people?

With those questions, Vice President Leni Robredo painted to the public the real problem in the Duterte government’s battle against illegal drugs which has not shown signs of decreasing despite the loss of more than 20,000 lives (government will admit to only about 6,000).

Robredo asked the question after he was fired by Duterte as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs late evening of Sunday for reasons that Malacañang has muddled in its nine-page statement.

In one paragraph, the statement said, it was “in response to the suggestion of Liberal Party President, Senator Francis Pangilinan, to just fire the Vice President from her post” and to the “taunt and dare of VP Robredo for the President to just tell her that he wants her out.”

That’s childish.

The firing of Robredo came a day after Duterte apologized to her for believing the falsehood given to him by his minions that she has invited the United Nations’ investigators to look into the drug problem. He thought Philem Kine, former deputy director for Asia, a non-government group, was a UN official.

Duterte took it against Robredo that she met with the United Nations and the United States embassy officials.

That’s part of her knowing the landscape that she was overseeing. What’s wrong with that? As Robredo asked, “what are you afraid of?

Malacañang unwittingly admitted the Duterte administration’s vulnerability when it mentioned in the statement Robredo’s “request for police data” which they suspected is to validate“the falsity of their arguments that the extra-judicial killings are state-sponsored. “

The police data on death related to the illegal campaign has become a state secret. Not even a Supreme Court order could make the police release to the families of the victims the information on the circumstances of the death of their kins.

That list must contain damaging information to those in power because even Philippine Drug Enforce Agency head Aaron Aquino, who we regard highly for standing firmly on the shabu-in-magnetic- filters case and for helping unmask then Police Chief Oscar Albayalde, turned impertinent when Robredo asked for the list of high-value targets in the drug war, which includes drug lords.

That’s why we are intrigued by Bong Go, a senator who remains Duterte’s prime minion, becoming shrill with his ‘kill drug lords” rant against Robredo.

Go was frothing in the mouth defending the President’s firing of Robredo: “Sa dalawang linggong n’ya (as ICAD co-chair) meron bang namatay na drug lord?” he asked.

We would like to ask Go. Of the more than 20,000 killed in the drug war or let’s go by the government figure of 6,000, in the three and half years of Duterte’s presidency, how many were drug lords?

Was 17-year Kian de los Santos, who was dragged to a corner of the street killed while pleading “Tama na po, tama na po, may test pa ako bukas” a drug lord?

Raymart Siapno, a 19 year old handicap, who was given a gun by policemen ordered to run. Raymart could not becausehe was born with two club feet. Policemen killed him while he was on his knees. Was he a drug lord?

There are many more.

Robredo asked the questions we want to ask Duterte and his men:

Ano bang kinatatakutan ninyo?

Ano ba ang kinatatakutan ninyong malaman ko?

Ano ba ang kinatatakutan ninyong malaman ng taumbayan?