Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday called on the public to “express outrage” over the recent anti-drug police operations that left 32 suspects dead in Bulacan.
“Ito na ‘yung kailangan nating mag-express ng outrage… Hindi naman tayo ganyan. Hindi tayo ito [This is what we should be outraged about. We are not like this. This is not who we are],” Robredo told reporters in Naga City yesterday.
Robredo, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, said the public should not allow the “culture of impunity” to return to the country.
“Iyong culture of impunity, matagal na nating isinikwal dito sa ating bansa. Sana, sana hindi na natin papayagang makabalik pa [We have removed the culture of impunity in our country. Let us not allow it to return],” she added.
On Tuesday, police in Bulacan conducted a ‘one-time, big-time’ anti-drug operation, resulting to the deaths of 32 suspects. Of the 32 killed, 16 were on their drug watch list, two had surrendered to the authorities before, and 14 were newly identified drug suspects.
The Bulacan raids were carried out from 12 a.m. of August 15 to 12 a.m. of August 16. The move involved 66 operations throughout the province including 44 buy-bust operations, 14 serving of search warrants, one that involved the serving of an arrest warrant, and two anti-criminality checkpoints.
Robredo believed criminals should be afforded due process.
“Kung mayroong kasalanan, papanagutin, pero kailangan iyong due process, isinasaalang-alang [If a person committed a crime, let him or her answer for it, but we must abide by due process],” Robredo said.
“Kapag mayroong ganitong patayan, gustong sabihin may mga taong nilalagay sa sarili nilang kamay iyong batas. Hindi na hinahayaang gumiling pa iyong mga proseso na nasa Konstitusyon natin para siguruhin na iyong hustisya nabibigay para sa lahat [If there are killings like this, it means there are people who are putting the law into their own hands. They are no longer allowing processes preserved in the Constitution to guarantee justice for all],” she added.
On the other hand, President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the simultaneous Bulacan raids and even told that he would order killings of human rights advocates.
“‘Yung namatay daw kanina sa Bulacan, 32, in a massive raid. Maganda ‘yun. Makapatay lang tayo ng mga another 32 everyday then maybe we can reduce what ails this country [The 32 men who died in Bulacan, it’s good. If we can kill 32 eveyday them maybe we can reduce ails this country],” Duterte said on Wednesday during the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) anniversary.