Sotto: There may be abuses but don’t degrade other successful drug ops

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on war on drugs

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III. Senate PRIB file photo / Henzberg Austria

MANILA, Philippines — While Senate President Vicente Sotto III believes that there were abuses in some of the police operations conducted in relation to the country’s war against drugs, he said this should not put down other “successful” operations that led to the arrest of drug pushers.

Sotto made the remark Wednesday after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda pointed out issues in the country’s war on drugs. Bensouda even went as far as saying that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the Crime Against Humanity of Murder was committed during the Philippine government’s war on drugs campaign.


“I can surmise that there is. I do not have evidence to prove it except what we have seen. So hindi nakakapagtaka na magkakaroon ng abuses,” Sotto said in an interview with INQside Look when asked if he personally believes there is abuse during police’s drug operations.

“But let us not put down the other 48,000 drug operations that were successful and have arrested almost 100,000 at may mga kasong naka-file. We cannot put down the whole thing just because there were abuses,” the Senate President added.

Sotto said that even during the early days of the country’s war against drugs, there were already cases where drug pushers are “eliminated” to stop them from naming their accomplices.

In some cases, these involved the police, said Sotto.

“Are there abuses? I think so. For sure, hindi mawawala yan [it would always be there]. Nangyayari talaga yan [It happens most of the time] because even during the start of the Oplan Tokhang, you must recall that some of the drug pushers were eliminated by their own, there were also ‘tongpats’ na invoved sa pulis o pulis na ‘tongpats,’ ine-eliminate na nila kaagad nila yung mga pusher na hawak nila dahil ituturo sila [they eliminate the pushers they perceive would betray them],” Sotto said.

“So talagang there were abuses and I’m sure it happened but do not put down the entire drug operations that were successful,” he added.

In the 57-page request made by Bensouda on Monday, she maintained that based on information gathered by her office, there is reason to believe that state actors have killed thousands of civilians under the war against illegal drugs.


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