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PHNO PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

SPECIAL REPORTS:

I -CASUALTIES OF RODY's WAR: IS THE WAR COMING DOWN HARDER ON THE POOR? (President Rodrigo Duterte has promised a bloody war against drugs, a menace which hurts all sectors of society. But is the war coming down harder on the poor?)


SEPTEMBER 19 -UNSPLASHED BACKGROUND IMAGE: Miguel* (not real name) squats down in front of the prison entrance with two other inmates. He has just arrived with only a blue backpack carrying his possessions. Gates at opposite ends of a narrow staircase spell the difference between freedom and imprisonment for him. Now this is his life, crammed with other inmates inside the country's most overcrowded jail. At least he may be safer here than outside. JO2 Lucila Abarca of Quezon City Jail says some inmates incarcerated for drug crimes are afraid of getting out as it might mean death for them. Beyond the prison walls President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war has claimed over 3,000 lives since the tough-talking former Davao City mayor took office over two months ago. ---(skipped to) Winning the war Over half a million drug users and pushers have surrendered to the police, a sign of the war's success, according to the government. But alleged extrajudicial and vigilante killings of drug suspects earned criticisms locally and internationally, pushing the Senate to conduct an inquiry. Curato says measuring the success of the drug war depends on whose perspective you are using. If you base it on the government's policy "and it's very clear [in] saying that violence is very much part of it then yes, we are succeeding," she says. "But the broader question is: Is that the policy that we really want to take?" "We basically institutionalize violence as a way of rendering justice. That's not sustainable," she adds. "So I guess what I'm saying is I understand where this is coming from as a sociologist but as a citizen I'm very skeptical of this war." READ REPORT FROM THE BEGINNING...

ALSO: II -Justice delayed: Roadblocks to the rule of law
(There is more to the rule of law beyond arrests and surrenders.)


SEPTEMBER 19 -On June 30, Rodrigo Duterte, long-time mayor of Davao City, became president of the Republic of the Philippines and promised a relentless and sustained fight against crime, drugs and corruption.
"My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising," he promised in his inaugural speech. His administration has pointed at a 31-percent drop in the number of index crimes -- 11,800 in July this year against 17,105 in July 2015 -- as proof of that the rule of law is being observed. According to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa, the number of rapes – an index crime-- has gone down by 49 percent. But the rule of law is more than just crime volume, according to the World Justice Project, which has been compiling a Rule of Law Index since 2012, where the Philippines advanced to the 51st slot out of 102 countries in 2015 from 60th in 2014. Rule of law also includes accountability under the law for the government, its officials and agents as well as for individuals and private companies. Laws must also be clear, publicized, stable, just and must be applied evenly. Even in the 2015 index, where the Philippines was ninth of 15 countries in East Asia and the Pacific, the country scored the highest in Order and Security, with a score of 0.71 against a perfect score of 1. The other front of the drug war by philstarnews Its lowest score -- a high of 0.50 in 2014 -- was in Absence of Corruption, which looks into "bribery, improper influence by public or private interests and misappropriation of public funds or other resources." READ MORE...

ALSO: III - How Duterte's drug war can fail


SEPTEMBER 19 -A global policy shift is underway after the war on drugs that dragged on for decades saw no success. In the Philippines, the same war is just beginning and despite popular support, may be doomed to the same fate.
Over the past months, a country of 100 million watches President Rodrigo Duterte try applying nationally a formula his supporters find to have worked in Davao City, long hailed a haven to honest citizens and a hell to crooks. There, as mayor for 22 years, his iron-fist approach restored security amid vigilante killings and set up social services unusual in the underdeveloped south. On the campaign trail, Duterte vowed an end to crime and illegal drugs within his first year as president. To do this, he chose to suppress the drug trade through an aggressive, even violent, crackdown on the market. An all-out war. John Collins, executive director of London School of Economics IDEAS International Drug Policy Project, said the Philippines has declared a war "identical" to those launched in the United States and parts of Latin America and Asia in the past decades. The campaigns led to arrests and deaths but did little to hold back the stream of substances. "The policies pursued, in this case prohibition and repression, don't succeed in reducing the size of the market and in many cases inflame the violence and corruption associated with the market," Collins told Philstar.com in an email. READ MORE...

ALSO: Lawmakers list hits and misses during Duterte’s first 100 days
[RELATED: Give Rody more time – Enrile]


OCTOBER 4 -Several lawmakers gave a mixed review of President Duterte’s first 100 days in office, citing both hits and misses on the President’s scorecard. Duterte became the country’s 16th President last June 30. In the past three months, he has waded from one controversy to another, not the least because of his coarse language. Still, he remains resolute in his crusade to stamp out the drug menace and in hammering out a lasting peace deal with communist rebels. On Monday, congressional leaders gave their assessment of the President’s term so far. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the sharp drop in criminality and a strong stand on the country’s sovereignty are among the top accomplishments of the Duterte administration. READ MORE...RELATED,
Give Rody more time – Enrile...

ALSO: Dick on unsolved crime - Chicago had it worse; slammed UN, foreign media for highlighting unresolved deaths in PH
[RELATED: Duterte explains why …’I’ll never kneel before Americans’]
(
PRESIDENT ANGRY AT U.S. FOR RIDING ON 'GARBAGE' HURLED BY RIVALS DURING POLLS {when he ran for mayor and for president} ALSO, HE WANTS ONE-SIDED WAR GAMES STOPPED)


OCTOBER 4 - GORDON:
The US city of Chicago alone has a total of 545 unresolved deaths, compared to the reported 3,000 deaths half of which were deaths under investigation in the entire Philippines that makes allegations of widespread state-sanctioned summary killings in President Duterte’s war on drug unfair, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said yesterday. Gordon slammed the United Nations (UN) and the foreign media for highlighting unresolved deaths in the Philippines, noting that deaths in other countries have it far worse. Gordon questioned the UN for not raising human rights violations in US cities where the ratio of unresolved killings compared to the population is higher than in the Philippines.  “Chicago city has become the crime capital of the USA. As of 2016, October 1, 2016, there have been 545 killings in Chicago. In the Philippines, there are 3,000. That’s for the whole country,” Gordon said. He lamented that the UN and foreign media seemed to be silent on these deaths in the US and other countries and only scrutinize those in the Philippines.
“One killing is bad but the Westerners are trying to be holier than thou. Let him without sin cast the first stone,” he added. “Why is UN not questioning the US for the Chicago killings?”, he asked. READ MORE...RELATED,
Duterte explains why …’I’ll never kneel before Americans’...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

I - Casualties of Rody's war:  Is the war coming down harder on the poor?
(President Rodrigo Duterte has promised a bloody war against drugs, a menace which hurts all sectors of society. But is the war coming down harder on the poor?)


UNSPLASHED BACKGROUND IMAGE

MANILA, OCTOBER 10, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Mikas Matsuzawa and Patricia Viray September 19, 2016  - Miguel* (not real name) squats down in front of the prison entrance with two other inmates. He has just arrived with only a blue backpack carrying his possessions. Gates at opposite ends of a narrow staircase spell the difference between freedom and imprisonment for him. Now this is his life, crammed with other inmates inside the country's most overcrowded jail. At least he may be safer here than outside. JO2 Lucila Abarca of Quezon City Jail says some inmates incarcerated for drug crimes are afraid of getting out as it might mean death for them.

Beyond the prison walls President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war has claimed over 3,000 lives since the tough-talking former Davao City mayor took office over two months ago. More than 1,000 were killed in police operations for allegedly resisting arrest, while a greater number were "deaths under investigation" — believed to be carried out by vigilantes.

Duterte has promised a bloody war against drugs during his campaign and he has been consistent in fulfilling it. He says many more will be killed to rid the country of illegal drugs, a menace which hurts all sectors of society.

"Rich or poor, I do not give a sh*t," he says. "My order to the police not only to kill, whatever. Destroy." 

The government plans to suppress drugs in three to six months through its "Double Barrel" campaign.

The Philippines' top cop Director General Ronald dela Rosa explains that in one strike, the barrel will fire two triggers: One aimed at high-value targets; the other at street-level personalities.

Critics, however, claim the president's war is anti-poor and disregards human rights.

I earn P1,000 to P1,200 for three, four days of work as an extra at construction sites. Sometimes I spend P300 to P400 of it for shabu... My body desires for it.

Poverty and drug use:

A vicious cycle Miguel* will join the 2,349 other inmates at the Quezon City Jail who committed drug crimes. They form 60.87 percent of the overall population at the prison, which can ideally accommodate only 800. Inside the facility, it is hot and crowded that inmates sweat just by standing still.

He says he got imprisoned after police came to his house for "Oplan Tokhang" or "Knock and Plead," an operation where cops go house-to-house and ask suspected drug users and pushers to voluntarily surrender. When his girlfriend found out that her name is on the watch list, she immediately surrendered but Miguel* did not.

 
Beyond capacity: Drug arrests crowd... by philstarnews

He admits to using shabu for seven years since he was 23 years old — something that relieves his fatigue and gives him the rush of energy he needs in his work as a construction worker. But he denies the non-bailable charge of drug possession against him. He says the evidence was planted.

According to him, police asked him for P200,000, but lacking the money, he opted for jail instead. Still, he worries how his three children will fare without him.

READ: Upholding fundamental rights

Problems of economic exclusion, daily violence, neglect, joblessness and hopelessness that drive illegal drug use are far more intense amid the squalor of urban poor communities than in the exclusive enclaves of the wealthy. Life is precarious for his family. He earns P1,000-P1,200 for three to four days worth of work as a mason. Of his earnings, he spends P300-P400 for his addiction. "My body desires for it," he says.

Poor people are more vulnerable to drug abuse not because they have discretionary income but because they are more likely to live on the margins of society, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) 2016 World Drug Report.

"You substitute drugs for something else. You substitute them with feelings of accomplishment, you substitute them with love and reassurance, you substitute drugs for answers that they may have never been able to find," says Dr. Alfonso Villaroman, chief of the Health department's Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Bicutan.

The UNODC report adds that without realistic hopes of a better future, those belonging to marginalized groups are more vulnerable to illegal drug use. At the same time, drug use can also exacerbate poverty and marginalization, creating a vicious cycle.

Jose Enrique Africa, executive director of think tank IBON Foundation, says "problems of economic exclusion, daily violence, neglect, joblessness and hopelessness that drive illegal drug use are far more intense amid the squalor of urban poor communities than in the exclusive enclaves of the wealthy."

Data released by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in 2015 shows that drug abusers are usually male, unemployed and poor. It says they commonly belong to families with an average monthly income of P10,172, below the 2015 national poverty threshold of P10,969 per month or the money needed by a family of five to afford life's necessities.

PROFILE OF A DRUG ABUSER


Source: Dangerous Drugs Board, 2015 statistics
* Based on reports submitted by residential facilities

Now, crimes has gone because everybody is afraid - President Rodrigo Duterte

A closer look at drugs and crime

Al*, another inmate in Quezon City Jail, has been imprisoned nine times, all of them related to drugs.

"It is great that this time I was not included on the list of those killed. I thank the Lord. I was brought again to Quezon City Jail alive," he says.

Duterte says drug dependents rob or kill because they need the fix. "Now, crime has gone down because everybody is afraid," the president says in a speech in August.

Carta explains there are two reasons why drug offenders return to old habits. First, they may be in broken families. Second, it is because of poverty.

"In drugs, money is quick," she says.

According to the UNODC, criminal involvement such as drug trafficking is viewed as the only feasible strategy for upward mobility in some extremely unequal societies.

It is great that this time I was not included on the list of those killed. I thank the Lord. I was brought again to Quezon City Jail alive. Methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is the most used illegal drug in the country, 2015 data of the DDB show.

"Methamphetamine is a stimulant, unlike the others that put you to sleep — that sedate you, right? That's why it's a favorite among long-haul drivers, those who work long hours at night, it becomes their drug to make them function in society," Dr. Ted Herbosa, former Johns Hopkins School of Public Health's regional coordinator for Asia and chief of the trauma division of the Philippine General Hospital's surgery department, explains.

"Unfortunately, it's also the root of many crimes," he adds.

As a trauma surgeon, Herbosa says a lot of patients they treat are victimized by someone who uses shabu.

"Directly, they take it [and] they become violent. Some, indirectly. They needed money, they wanted to hold someone up, they end up killing them," he says.

Drugs is really an everyday issue in slum communities so it's a matter of seeing an addict just stabbing one of their neighbors, beating up their wives. Some of them are accused of recruiting young mothers to become drug mules so it's a really big issue.

Illegal drugs is an issue close to home for those in the slums.

"It's a matter of seeing an addict just stabbing one of their neighbors, beating up their wives. Some of them are accused of recruiting young mothers to become drug mules so it's a really big issue," sociologist Nicole Curato says.

This is why some of the poorest communities also support the drug war.

"They feel like those who wronged them, when they're shot dead, can no longer come back. So in a way it restores some level of safety. It's there. The source of legitimacy is present," Curato adds.

Critics, however, point out that the drug war comes down harder on the poor and not just because there are more poor drug users.

To this, the president answered that more poor people are killed because they are easy targets.

"A greater number, unfortunately though, I am not insulting Filipinos, are the poor because they are the easy target," Duterte says.

High-profile government officials who are allegedly involved in the narcotics trade have been publicly named by Duterte in his shame campaign.

But they can afford to meet with the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief to clear their name unlike the many small-time drug peddlers whose corpses wrapped with duct tape are left on the streets.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein last week called out the president for his statements which "display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe."

"Empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice," he says.

"The people of the Philippines have a right to judicial institutions that are impartial, and operate under due process guarantees; and they have a right to a police force that serves justice."

A greater number, unfortunately though, I am not insulting Filipinos, are the poor because they are the easy target.

Latest data of the UNODC on drug-related crimes show that in 2008 the Philippines had a rate of 11.3 offenders per 100,000 population, among the lowest in the countries it listed. Philippine population was around 90 million that year.

Meanwhile, drug killings in less than 100 days of the Duterte administration have exceeded the average 1,202 murders a year in the country based on 2010-2015 data of the PNP across the top 15 cities with the highest number of index crime or crimes against persons or property.

READ: Perception game: Examining the drug 'crisis'

Al* says he wants to turn over a new leaf if he gets out. But if he gets killed for the drug crimes he committed, it is okay with him — even if Duterte himself shoots him. He says he supports the president's campaign and even wanted to vote for him last elections.

So I guess what I'm saying is I understand where this is coming from as a sociologist but as a citizen I'm very skeptical of this war.

Winning the war

Over half a million drug users and pushers have surrendered to the police, a sign of the war's success, according to the government. But alleged extrajudicial and vigilante killings of drug suspects earned criticisms locally and internationally, pushing the Senate to conduct an inquiry.

Curato says measuring the success of the drug war depends on whose perspective you are using.

If you base it on the government's policy "and it's very clear [in] saying that violence is very much part of it then yes, we are succeeding," she says. "But the broader question is: Is that the policy that we really want to take?"

"We basically institutionalize violence as a way of rendering justice. That's not sustainable," she adds. "So I guess what I'm saying is I understand where this is coming from as a sociologist but as a citizen I'm very skeptical of this war."

Africa says success measured by the huge number of alleged drug suspects killed by police or unknown vigilantes is a false sign of progress in the war against drugs.

The term "drug war" in itself has been contended globally, as labeling it a "war" makes people feel like they themselves are the targets and not the illegal drugs.

It is possible for the government to also eventually target big fish although this remains to be seen... These generate headline-friendly numbers and statistics on killed or apprehended and drug hauls — but the underlying illegal drug problem remains albeit with an ever-changing cast of characters. In a letter sent to the UN ahead of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem last April, more than 1,000 world leaders tagged the global war on drugs as "disastrous."

"The drug control regime that emerged during the last century has proven disastrous for global health, security and human rights," the letter read.

"Focused overwhelmingly on criminalization and punishment, it created a vast illicit market that has enriched criminal organizations, corrupted governments, triggered explosive violence, distorted economic markets and undermined basic moral values."

Africa says even if some big-time drug lords are caught, it is possible that the vacuum created in the illegal drug economy will just give rise to other drug lords ready to take their place as shown by experiences in the US, Colombia, Mexico and Thailand where violent crackdowns on drugs were found ineffective.

READ: Trends at our doorstep
{FEATURE NEWS STORY  FROM Philstar Newslab: 'The drug problem through a new lens'
 With lives at stake, the choices in the drug war have always been just two:
Wasting and saving them. It's time we consider the second option.
By Kristine Bersamina, Denison Rey Dalupang and Leif Sykioco September 19, 2016}

"These generate headline-friendly numbers and statistics on killed or apprehended and drug hauls — but the underlying illegal drug problem remains albeit with an ever-changing cast of characters," he says.

The president's hatred for illegal drugs is unquestionable — a stance he has long held since his time as Davao City mayor.

"There will be no let-up in this campaign," Duterte says during his first State of the Nation Address.

The war will stay on course and remain bloody in the next six years.

"We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or been put behind bars or are below the ground if they so wish."

* Names withheld to protect identity. Editor's note: All Filipino quotes are translated to English.


PHILSTAR

II - Justice delayed: Roadblocks to the rule of law There is more to the rule of law beyond arrests and surrenders. By Rosette Adel, AJ Bolando, Jonathan de Santos and Efigenio Toledo IV September 19, 2016

On June 30, Rodrigo Duterte, long-time mayor of Davao City, became president of the Republic of the Philippines and promised a relentless and sustained fight against crime, drugs and corruption.

"My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising," he promised in his inaugural speech.

His administration has pointed at a 31-percent drop in the number of index crimes -- 11,800 in July this year against 17,105 in July 2015 -- as proof of that the rule of law is being observed.

According to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa, the number of rapes – an index crime-- has gone down by 49 percent.

But the rule of law is more than just crime volume, according to the World Justice Project, which has been compiling a Rule of Law Index since 2012, where the Philippines advanced to the 51st slot out of 102 countries in 2015 from 60th in 2014.

Rule of law also includes accountability under the law for the government, its officials and agents as well as for individuals and private companies. Laws must also be clear, publicized, stable, just and must be applied evenly.

Even in the 2015 index, where the Philippines was ninth of 15 countries in East Asia and the Pacific, the country scored the highest in Order and Security, with a score of 0.71 against a perfect score of 1.


The other front of the drug war by philstarnews



SCREENGRAB PHOTO

Its lowest score -- a high of 0.50 in 2014 -- was in Absence of Corruption, which looks into "bribery, improper influence by public or private interests and misappropriation of public funds or other resources."

READ MORE...

The Office of the Ombudsman has been probing and prosecuting cases of corruption against officials, particularly those implicated in the so-called Pork Barrel Scam, which it continues to investigate.

By June, it had already filed 418 cases against 357 filed in 2015, Malaya reported in August. Since 2011, when Conchita Carpio Morales was appointed ombudsman, her office has already filed 3,519 cases at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

As long as Duterte is a cheerleader for the summary killing of criminal suspects, the fundamental right to life of all Filipinos is at risk from state-sanctioned murder Human Rights Watch

Upholding fundamental rights

Upholding the rule of law also includes protecting individual rights "including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights."

According to the WJP report in 2015, "a system of positive law that fails to respect core human rights established under international law is at best 'rule by law', and does not deserve to be called a rule of law system."

Here, the Philippines scored 0.52 in the 2014 and 2015 indexes, down from 0.60 in 2012-2013.

This has been a prickly issue for the Duterte administration, with the president reacting to concerns raised by the United Nations and the US to a spate of drug-related killings in recent months as interference in domestic affairs.

Officially, security forces involved in the government's war on drugs are only authorized to shoot back in self-defense, a point that both Duterte and PNP chief dela Rosa have stressed.

Both have also made off-the-cuff remarks, however, that human rights advocates have said tend to encourage the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.

Duterte has, in the past, said that he will kill drug lords and drug dealers and has told citizens that they can try to arrest drug dealers and kill them if they are armed and they resist

"Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law. It is effectively a license to kill," UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard said in August.

"As long as Duterte is a cheerleader for the summary killing of criminal suspects, the fundamental right to life of all Filipinos is at risk from state-sanctioned murder," Human Rights Watch, one of the groups to first express alarm over the deaths, said in a dispatch in July.

It must be noted, however, that even in 2012, the WJP said upholding fundamental rights in the Philippines was problematic "particularly in regard to violations against the right to life and security of the person, police abuses, due process violations and harsh conditions at correctional facilities."

Human Rights Watch also criticized the Aquino administration in 2012 for what it saw as a failure to address extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

Kapag probable cause lang ho kasi sometimes may tendency kasi na after preliminary investigation stage, tatamarin na ang mga imbestigador, tatamarin na 'yung mga prosecutor na kumuha pa ng more evidence, na mag-case buildup pa para ma-achieve yung proof beyond reasonable doubt De Lima said at the hearing

Justice delayed

The WJP also says "the process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced [must be] accessible, fair and efficient" and justice must be timely and delivered by competent, ethical and independent representatives "of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve."

This is where the Philippines scored worst -- 0.38 in 2015 against 0.36 in 2014 -- with particularly poor scores in the timeliness (0.32) and impartiality (0.28) of the criminal justice system. It also scored 0.18 in the effectiveness of the correctional system in reducing criminal behavior.

Duterte, a former prosecutor, has himself expressed frustration at the slow pace of the Philippine justice system from getting warrants issued to resolving cases.

"What is the fastest decision you made on criminal cases?" he said in a speech in August in response to a comment to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's advice to judges allegedly involved in the drug trade not to surrender unless a warrant of arrest had been issued against them.

In a meeting with the media in August, Sereno said the judiciary is already working on clearing its backlog of cases through "decongestion officers" and the use of "e-courts", where court activity can be consolidated and tracked electronically.

For the past five years, the National Prosecution Service has filed 126,016 drug-related cases in court, only 3,482 -- 2.76 percent -- of which have led to a conviction.

"For [a] majority of them, Information (a formal charge) has been filed in court," Senior State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon, speaking at a Senate hearing this month, said of the remainder.

Drug-related cases filed since 2011
Data from Department of Justice - National Prosecution Sevice Senior State Deputy Prosecutor Richard Fadullon



Total Cases Heard in Court: 126,016 Total Conviction: 3,482

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, at the same hearing, said that the Office of the President has received 3,081 cases for review since July 2010. He added 1,581 had been subjected to automatic review, of which, 1,469 were resolved.

The prosecutor general, meanwhile, has 22 pending motions for reconsideration and has resolved nine motions for reconsideration on automatic-review cases. New to the post, the Justice secretary said he was not aware "whether the cases were dismissed favorably or against."

Former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, now a senator, attributed the low conviction rate to the lower threshold for evidence for filing cases.

"Kapag probable cause lang ho kasi sometimes may tendency kasi na after preliminary investigation stage, tatamarin na ang mga imbestigador, tatamarin na 'yung mga prosecutor na kumuha pa ng more evidence, na mag-case buildup pa para ma-achieve yung proof beyond reasonable doubt," De Lima said at the hearing.

Aside from the low conviction rate, the swamped criminal justice system has led to long trial times. Fadullon said drug cases take an average of eight years to resolve.

"So, sa dami ho nung kaso na iyan, ito hong mga taong ito, most are under preventive detention. Karamihan dito ay nililitis pa hanggang sa ngayon," Fadullon said, adding around just 10 percent of drug cases involve "big-time" dealers.

It does not help that law enforcers and prosecutors sometimes don't seem to be working together, as Sen. Vicente Sotto III – former chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board, which sets the country's drug policy – pointed out at the hearing.

"'Pag sinita mo mga prosecutor e, sasabihin, 'Sir 'yung mga PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) niyo, tsaka mga pulis niyo 'di marunong mag-file ng kaso, 'di marunong magprepare ng kaso.' Kapag sinita mo PDEA, 'pag sinita mo pulis, 'anong nangyari?'... Ang sagot sakin, 'Hindi sir, 'yung mga prosecutor niyo nalalagyan. Nakita niyo 'yung miscoordination?" Sotto said.

Sotto and De Lima's concerns echo a 2009 VERA Files report that cited "interagency conflicts" as well as bribery as among the flaws of prosecution that led to low conviction rates.

It recalled the case of Chinese national Cai Qing Hai, who was on the list of Asia's most wanted drug manufacturers and traffickers and whose case was dismissed due to lack of probable cause.

Government lawyers also prematurely judged police operations as irregular due to alleged bribery, VERA Files reported. The case also showed that the fight against illegal drugs is weakened by unappreciated evidence.

The chief justice, meanwhile, has said that the delays and dismissals of many drug cases are attributable to the failure of police witnesses to attend trial and a lack of prosecutors and public attorneys. Evidence can also be weakened by poor observance of the chain of custody and proper inventory of seized drugs.

Increase in cases as drug war continues

The war on drugs, launched almost as soon as Duterte became president has led to an increase in cases, the Public Attorney's Office, which provides legal services to indigent litigants, told Philstar.com in an e-mail.

According to PAO lawyer John Philip Reyes, the number of criminal cases the office is handling has increased by 43.85 percent since June 30, with drug-related cases increasing 41.22 percent.

For comparison, the PAO handled 698,886 criminal cases in 2015 -- 85,133 of those related to drugs – and resolved 35.14 percent of those.

All this despite a lack of funds for the continuous training of PAO lawyers and a lack of approved public attorney positions, which the PAO said should be equal to the number of courts in the country. It plans to address this by hiring more lawyers and staff.

It also has insufficient space at the central and district offices, a problem it hopes to solve by asking the Budget department for money for its own building. The Department of Justice has already proposed a budget of P2.6 billion for the PAO in the 2017 budget.

Reyes said that despite the limitations, "skillfully facilitated the release and favorable disposition of cases of indigent clients involved in drugs cases" by assigning a full-time public attorney at each of the country's drug courts.

The Supreme Court, in July, designated 240 additional trial courts nationwide to handle cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said the high tribunal decided to add more courts because, with 128,368 cases already being heard in drug courts, the number of courts "will be insufficient considering the steady rise of new drug-related cases.

Partly due to the heavy caseloads and the limited resources, PAO supports Olan Tokhang, where police visit drug suspects in their homes to ask them to surrender and promise to stay away from drugs, because "instead of filing charges against them and putting them in prison, chances were given to them to rectify their wrongdoings."

PAO hopes that the campaign would "significantly lessen cases filed in court and instead opportunities be given to them to improve their lives."

But the 600,000 that have surrendered in Tokhang operations across the country do not necessarily indicate success, John Collins, chief of the London School of Economics' Drug Policy Initiative, says.

"This is like saying a violent war on poverty has been 'successful' because thousands of poor people had 'surrendered'. Now what? There is no treatment infrastructure in place," he says.

Aside from the assets, we are conducting our own investigation in the surroundings of the identified drugs personality.

Drug personalities as victims: 'Tokhang' in a Rizal barangay
by AJ Bolando

A barangay in Rizal province sees drug users and pushers as victims and wants to help them turn over a new leaf

Amid the rising number of deaths in linked to the government's drive against illegal drugs, a barangay in Rizal is exerting all of its means to avoid bloodshed.

A first-class urban area of Barangay Sto. Domingo in Cainta, Rizal is very keen on the campaign to resolve the sale and use of drugs in their area. The local government, however, considers those on their drug watch list victims due to various reasons, including poverty.

Barangay Chairperson Janice Tacsagon and Barangay Councilor Reynaldo Vila have been offering seminars and activities for alleged drug users and peddlers who have surrendered in the government's "Oplan Tokhang"

As of Sept 5, Barangay Sto. Domingo has conducted Tokhang in a third of its area, which has an estimated 54,000 residents. It has yielded them 149 "surrenderers" from a verified watch list of around 500 persons.

The barangay coordinates with Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Social Welfare and Development to persuade drug users and peddlers, whether on their list or not, to turn themselves over.

The barangay councilor, who heads the peace and order committee, is confident that the individuals on their list are drug users and peddlers since the list has gone through a thorough validation and investigation.

The list came from different sources, including information from their own assets, and statements from neighbors of suspected drug personalities.

"Aside from the assets, we are conducting our own investigation in the surroundings of the identified drug personality," Vila explained.

The list is forwarded to local police, who will also verify the information and cross check the names against their own list. However, in other places, the list given to police was unverified, leading to non-users being included.

"Before we submit it to the PNP talagang dumaraan sa evaluation and investigation just to assure na walang taong ilalagay sa watchlist na hindi naman involved sa drugs," he added. Vila said that most on the list denied their involvement at first.

Vila said that while they risk their lives for every knock on a door, they are still lucky that all drug personalities have agreed to coordinate with them.

He shared that they serve as front liners during Tokhang, while law enforcement is just there for security.

"Yan ang iniiwasan namin, na matakot iyong taong involved sa drugs. Kapag nakita nila na may mga pulis agad. Kasi kung may baril sila (police), ilag na 'yang mga 'yan," the councilor explained.

Barangay Sto. Domingo is serious in helping the victims of illegal drugs. In fact, it is allotting five percent of its budget for Tokhang and for rehabilitation.

Aside from processing the rehabilitation of the "surrenderers" at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, they also have a moral recovery program, a livelihood program and community services "to help them avoid engaging in illegal drugs."

The barangay has also launched an assistance desk for drug "surrenderers".

"We are more on encouragement para matulungan sila dahil we believe that drug users and pushers are also victims," Vila said.

The drug personalities who turned themselves in are required to give an affidavit, personal files and other information that would help the authorities crack down other drug personalities.

After the process, "surrenderers" are allowed to go home and live normal lives.Vila said that they are still monitoring the drug "surrenderers" to ensure that they do not go back to illegal drugs.

"Kailangan pa rin naman nila maging visible sa aming barangay, pero kung babalik sila (illegal drug activities) nasa sa kanila 'yun," Vila said. He said that if the "surrenderers" do that, they will be charged.

If proven that the "surrenderers" still use or sell drugs, a buy-bust operation or raid will follow.In one of his speech for the 115th anniversary of the PNP, Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said that the role of the barangay officials in a drug-free country is important.

"Napakalaki ng aming tungkulin dahil kung barangay ang pag-uusapan we are the frontliners kapag dating sa peace and order, kami ay hindi rin tumitigil sa pagsasagawa ng community relations, " Vila said.

While the residents of Sto. Domingo are fortunate to have decent officials, other barangays in the country are not. Some officials are in the drug trade and serve as protectors and Vila claimed that he knows some of them.

"Ayoko na lang magsalita tungkol sa kanila kasi siguro magkakaiba kami kasi ng pananaw at sistema ng panunungkulan."

*The Department of the Interior and Local Government prefers the term "surrenderers" to surrenderees. -------

The drug watch lists used as bases for Oplan Tokhang have also been questioned, with anecdotes of non-users being included in the lists popping up on social media. Some "surrenderers" have also ended up dead in later police operations because they returned to using or selling drugs.

Others have been killed by unknown gunmen, their deaths attributed to drug syndicates and other criminals.

A similar list, of government officials allegedly involved in drugs, was met with denials and trips to police headquarters to clear things up. Others on the list were unable to issue denials, being dead.

As of this post, no formal charges have been filed against those named on the second list.

The government has said, however, that making the list public has given those named a chance to clear their names. This, despite the presumption of innocence afforded by the law.

In the case of the judges named in the "narco-list", the chief justice, in a letter to Duterte said they "may have been rendered vulnerable and veritable targets for any of those persons and groups who may consider judges as acceptable collateral damage in the 'war on drugs.'"

They are not the only ones in danger, Fr. Shay Cullen of the PREDA Foundation, which promotes human rights, especially those of abused children, notes in a commentary on Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN).

"It is a policy that has put the power of hearsay and the dubious list of suspects in the place of hard evidence. It has bypassed the rule of law and entered the realm of lawlessness. The gun has replaced the courtroom and the balance of right and wrong," he said.


PHILSTAR

III - SPECIAL REPORT: How Duterte's drug war can fail By Camille Diola September 19, 2016

A global policy shift is underway after the war on drugs that dragged on for decades saw no success. In the Philippines, the same war is just beginning and despite popular support, may be doomed to the same fate.

Over the past months, a country of 100 million watches President Rodrigo Duterte try applying nationally a formula his supporters find to have worked in Davao City, long hailed a haven to honest citizens and a hell to crooks. There, as mayor for 22 years, his iron-fist approach restored security amid vigilante killings and set up social services unusual in the underdeveloped south.

On the campaign trail, Duterte vowed an end to crime and illegal drugs within his first year as president. To do this, he chose to suppress the drug trade through an aggressive, even violent, crackdown on the market. An all-out war.

John Collins, executive director of London School of Economics IDEAS International Drug Policy Project, said the Philippines has declared a war "identical" to those launched in the United States and parts of Latin America and Asia in the past decades. The campaigns led to arrests and deaths but did little to hold back the stream of substances.

"The policies pursued, in this case prohibition and repression, don't succeed in reducing the size of the market and in many cases inflame the violence and corruption associated with the market," Collins told Philstar.com in an email.

READ MORE...

Deaths, violence and disease: A policy effect

In Duterte's early months as leader, installed by a record 16 million voters, about 3,500 people have died—almost half were killed in police operations. Duterte's team, however, tried washing its hands over killings outside police function. His top cop, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, said the deaths should not be blamed on the government.

What the world witnessed in countries with wars against cartels like Mexico, however, were deaths and "spiraling levels of violence" which many experts have attributed to an ill-conceived government policy.


SCREENGRABBED PHOTO

 
Setting a policy: Duterte's drug rhetoric by philstarnews meant for relatives on the drug watch list.

i hate drugs - camille by philstarnews At least one thousand leaders, including those whose countries have waged war against drugs, admitted that it was ineffective, misguided and only led to disaster.

"What we find is that aggressive enforcement often spikes violence by disrupting cartel structures, leading to fragmentation of operations whereby members of cartel go to war with each other for control of the organization or splinter into rival groups competing over turf," Collins said.

At least 1,000 leaders, including those whose countries have waged a war against drugs, admitted most recently in April that it was ineffective, misguided and only led to disaster.

"In Latin America, the 'unintended' consequences (of war) have been disastrous. Thousands of people have lost their lives in drug-associated violence. Drug lords have taken over entire communities. Misery has spread. Corruption is undermining fragile democracies," wrote Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 2009.

The drug war in Thailand in 2003 was backed by public support, but the country eventually pulled back from the policy marked by related killings and shunning of drug users as it did little to curb demand. Instead, addicts consumed illegal substances in hiding and diseases eventually spread. Treatment was neither available in prisons.

The United States, where President Richard Nixon called drugs "public enemy number one" in 1971, saw a ballooning number of poor, black people behind bars while drug supply and production were only temporarily disrupted.

"(The war in the US) has destroyed policy-community relations in many areas, and has not noticeably reduced the size of the drug market, merely displaced it in certain cases," Collins said. "The Philippines is witnessing the same dynamic."

What Duterte and his men are not saying, however, is that the Philippines' experience is not at all unique, and some devastating results could already be seen.

(The drug war) is hiding other forms of violence and murders as neighbors and neighborhood committee members put on the list of drug suspects their rivals and enemies and anyone can be killed and labeled a pusher. Vanda Felbab-Brown Urban violence and drug policy expert, Brookings Institution

Vanda Felbab-Brown, an urban violence and internal conflict expert at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, shared Collins' view. Having tracked and studied drug wars around the world, she observed that while anti-narcotics policies seeking to minimize petty crime and violence naturally target drug supply, there is something striking about Duterte's strategy.

"Duterte's policy is counterproductive and doing the opposite: it is slaughtering people, it is making the retail (drug) market violent—as a result of state actions, extrajudicial killings and vigilante killings," she told Philstar.com in an email.

"Worse yet, it is hiding other forms of violence and murders as neighbors and neighborhood committee members put on the list of drug suspects their rivals and enemies and anyone can be killed and then labeled a pusher," she said.

In an open letter to Duterte, former President Cardoso and colleagues at the Global Commission on Drugs called the Philippines' war "unwinnable" with terrible costs.

"It is not a question of choosing between human rights and the safety of your people, as you have claimed, but the means employed to address crime must not result in further crimes against individuals whose conduct often causes very little harm," the open letter read.

The effects of belligerent, police-led campaigns suffered by other countries are contrary to Duterte's zero-crime and zero-drugs promises. One main reason for failure is how war could only disrupt the supply and demand cycle so far.

When there's demand, there would be supply

The system of drug control adopted around the world in the last century had aimed to eradicate illegal drugs by mainly trying to wipe their availability. Now localized by the Philippine government, the drug war only adds a new phase in buying and selling but cannot truly stop it, experts say.

Prices of common substances Based on 2015 PDEA Annual Report

Collins said the government's aim of controlling narcotics supply through a war is based on a mere "assumption" since the demand for illegal substances generally does not diminish.

"When there is a demand, there will be a supply," he said.

In the 2014 report "Ending the Drug Wars" by the London School of Economics' think tank, Collins explained that suppression has proved to increase drug prices only for a short time. The price hike afterward gave a new rise in supply and caused a shift in the supply chain, which then made prices lower. The result: Supply and prices returned to the way they were before the war.

Government action focusing on suppression of supply John Collins, London School of Economics IDEAS 2014 "Ending the Drug Wars"

Lower prices Shift in drug supply chain Drug market equilibrium Increase in prices New rise in supply Gov't suppression of supplies "The likely outcome (based on evidence from other countries) is that the drug market will undergo changes in operation, but not necessarily size. It may shrink in the midst of the chaos of the war, but the likelihood is that it will reemerge since all of the conditions which fostered it in the first place will remain," Collins told Philstar.com.

Drug policy experts have found that demand increases amid "poverty, inequality (and) poor rule of law"—conditions that make illegal drugs a particularly enticing option economically and psychologically.

Felbab-Brown noted that even in Latin America where drug wars of various intensities continued over several decades, supply has not been eliminated and drug use has increased. Not even a sustained campaign has proven effective.

"Drug markets will adjust. As long as there is demand, supply and retail will take another form," she said.

If the government suppresses one type of drug, evidence suggests that consumers are just as likely to switch to other types, said Collins. The much suppressed opium only led to the manufacture of heroin as a byproduct, while crack came from the prohibition of cocaine.

While resources go to suppressing supply, demand-reduction programs are usually left underfunded.

"Public health approaches to drug treatment should acknowledge addiction as an illness requiring medical treatment," she said.

Earlier this month, Malacañang and the chief of police declared the drug war a success, claiming that supply has been cut by 90 percent, with the government regaining authority at national penitentiary Bilibid where incarcerated leaders of cartels continue to control the narcotics chain from their swish cells.

The claim, however, comes from scant data. Collins noted that narcotics run within black markets, where transactions are difficult to measure. "I would take the claim of success with a great deal of skepticism," he said.

Supposed that drug supply has indeed contracted with severe prohibition, history shows that the production and consumption halt is temporary before they spike anew.

"Short-term supply changes as a result of police interventions are rarely (almost never) sustained into the medium-long term," Collins said. "They often produce spillover effects as people switch to other substances and criminal organizations regroup and fight over the drug market."

Perception game: Degrees of a 'crisis'

On September 2, a blast at a night market in Davao City killed at least 14 people and left scores of others hurt. The atrocity prompted Duterte to declare a nationwide "state of lawlessness" for an indefinite period, invoking the same constitutional provision that allows a Philippine leader to declare martial law.

"We're trying to cope with a crisis now. There is a crisis in this country involving drugs, extrajudicial killings and there seems to be an environment of lawless violence," Duterte said. Police chief Dela Rosa claimed the tragedy could be an act of "narco terrorism."

Duterte seems to have long considered what he calls a drug "crisis" officially recognized by the state. Even as he would dismiss his most controversial remarks as only made in jest, Duterte was consistent in proclaiming drugs as a national security threat, "an invasion of a new kind."

There is a crisis in this country involving drugs, extrajudicial killings... - President Rodrigo Duterte on declaring a state of lawless violence

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, one of Duterte's closest allies and his vice presidential candidate, repeatedly declared early in the campaign that the Philippines is on the verge of becoming a "narco state." Duterte's supporters recognized the crusade against drugs as a centerpiece of Duterte's winning platform.

The numbers, however, can tell a different story.

Cayetano cited findings that 92 percent of Metro Manila's barangays are affected by drugs. The data came from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA), whose 2015 annual report recorded that while most of the capital region's villages are "affected" by illegal drugs, a majority of barangays nationwide are drug-free.


Drug-affected* barangays in the Philippines From PDEA Annual Report 2015
Total number of barangays nationwide: 42,036
Unaffected 30,715 (73.07%)

Affected 11,321 (26.93%) PDEA defines a drug-affected barangay as having the existence of a drug user, pusher, manufacturer, marijuana cultivator or drug personality regardless of number

In rationalizing his war on drugs, Duterte estimates the number of drug users—which he later revised to drug "addicts"—in the country at 3.7 million. Even PDEA's proposed computations, however, cannot demonstrate the number.

In documents provided to Philstar.com, PDEA claims the figure is based on the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime's data that 5.2 percent of ages 15 to 64 used illegal drugs. The 5.2-percent figure, however, is the global average of drug use that could not validly be applied to the Philippines.

Citing last official data released in 2013, the UNODC's research section said the Philippines had an estimated prevalence rate of only 1.69 percent or 1.6 million of ages 10 to 69.

"This is a low prevalence rate compared to other countries. At the global level, UNODC's best estimate suggests that overall (global) drug use affects 5.2 percent of the population age 15 to 64," said Thomas Pietschmann, a data analyst at the UNODC, responding to Philstar.com.

Drug use in the Philippines: Prevalence
President Rodrigo Duterte
3.4% to 3.7% Drug Prevalence (Usage)
100 Million population
Source: PDEA data(computation questionable)

Dangerous Drugs Board
1.8% Drug Prevalence (Usage)
101 Million population
Source: 2015 National Household Survey

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
1.69% Drug Prevalence (Usage)
96 Million population
Source: 2013 government estimates, aged 10 to 69


Global Average 5.2% Drug Prevalence (Usage)

2015 National Household Survey: 1.8 million current users
4.3 million used drugs at least once in their lifetime

At a Senate panel hearing on September 1, Assistant Secretary Benjamin Reyes of the Dangerous Drugs Board cited a nationwide household survey conducted in 2015—ahead of its official release. Reyes said there are an estimated 1.8 million current drug users in the Philippines.

Data from the drugs board, established under President Fidel Ramos' term in the 1990s to address fears of a drug crisis, also showed a notable drop in drug prevalence from 6.7 million in 2004 to 1.3 million in 2012.

The improvement was attributed by the drugs board to its two-fold objective of reducing both supply and demand—combining law enforcement, monitoring and judiciary on the supply side with preventive education, treatment and rehabilitation and research on the demand side.

The count of drug users, however, rose to 1.8 million in 2015.

Yet, the rate is only a fraction of drug use in other countries.


Drug users in the Philippines Estimates by the Dangerous Drugs Board
* 1.8 million regular users + 1.6 million occasional users

In East Asia, the Philippines does have the largest percentage share of population using amphetamine-type substances, the most popular of which is known locally as shabu, at 0.74 percent (ages 10 to 69) in 2012. The figure is small alongside the 18.3 percent of Iceland's population using cannabis, which remains illegal there. Australia, meanwhile, registered 3 percent of its population using ecstasy-type drugs.


Global prevalence Annual prevalence of use of common substances as percentage of population Iceland USA New Zealand Canada Spain AUS (cannabis) Serbia AUS (ecstasy) UK PH Data from UNODC 2013 (latest)


 Country Percent of population Substance Iceland 18.3% (age 15-64) cannabis USA 15.4% (age 15-64) cannabis New Zealand 14.6% (age 15-64) cannabis Canada 12.2% (age 15-64) cannabis Spain 10.6% (age 15-64) cannabis Australia 10.16% (age 15-64) cannabis Serbia 5.1% (age 15-64) opioids Australia 3% (age 15-64) ecstasy-type UK (Scotland) 2.4% (age 15-64) cocaine Philippines 0.74% (age 10-69) amphetamines World 5.20%

The Philippines neither appears to be a major player in the world's illegal drug trade. The PDEA last year seized P5.4-billion worth of substances. While the amount is considerable, it pales beside a single $275-million (P12 billion) seizure of ice in a Melbourne estate, or a £512-million (P31.8 billion) cocaine seizure off Scotland.

The Philippines' location, however, is strategic to global trafficking. President Duterte said the country is a transshipment point of notorious Mexican cartel Sinaloa, among other international syndicates. In 2013, Thailand tagged the Philippines as part of the nexus for cocaine reaching its shores.

The Philippines had similarly been among the casualties of the crackdown of methamphetamine in 1951. The production moved from Japan to neighboring countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Collins identifies this as the "balloon effect" or the phenomenon where the trade is not truly abated when inhibited in one place, but only transfers elsewhere.

"Transshipment points emerge due to rule of law issues, poor governance, etc. The notion that further weakening the rule of law through a dirty 'drug war' suggests the Philippines is just as likely to witness a worsening of the problem," Collins said.

Drug markets exist all over the world... The problems associated with these drug markets are often symptom of broader societal problems. - John Collins Drug policy expert, London School of Economics

International drug monitoring bodies such as the UNODC, moreover, have not identified the Philippines as a major drug hub despite urging it to narrow enforcement gaps and curb corruption.

"Drug markets exist all over the world—with a very small number of exceptions. The problems associated with these drug markets are often symptom of broader societal problems," Collins added.

The US Department of State earlier this year pointed out the Philippines' challenges in dealing with the drug problem—such as in monitoring financial systems and gateways for money laundering linked to the international narcotics trade—and deficiencies, particularly a handicapped law enforcement capability, insufficient judicial tools and clogged court dockets.

Among the deficiencies of the Philippines in addressing the narcotics problem are handicapped law enforcement, insufficient judicial tools and clogged court dockets.

Asked if the Philippines has characteristics of a narco state, Felbab Brown said there is no standard definition of the term, but it is usually applied to economies of which a vast segment depends on illegal drug production or trade, such as Bolivia in the 1980s and in recent years, Afghanistan and Guinea-Bissau.

The term could also mean that the drug trade has official sanctioning of government officials and "deeply permeates the institutions of the state."

Last year, about 200 government employees linked to drugs were arrested. Substances are also chronically seized in a series of raids at the national penitentiary Bilibid. While a culture of corruption that allows such practices is deeply entrenched, the Philippines' narcotics woes are comparatively moderate.

"There is little reason to believe that the Philippines is a narco state, whatever the definition," said Felbab-Brown, an author of several publications on illegal economies.

Sociologist Nicole Curato, a Canberra-based fellow at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, said the war on drugs could be "legitimate" in the public's eyes, but it could have unintended implications.

"I'm just very cautious that when we use the word 'war' evidently we start looking at our fellow Filipinos as enemies who should be eradicated rather than fellow human beings that also deserve protection," Curato told Philstar.com in an online interview.

Fleeting signs of success

Duterte and his security officials are quick to point to the successes of the drug war two months in. The Philippine National Police regularly releases a toll of drug suspects arrested and killed during police operations. It also reports new numbers of dead found outside police efforts by unknown assailants. Duterte often cites the "voluntary" surrender of more than 700,000 drug sellers and consumers while vowing to wipe the last trace of the drug menace.

In examining a century of drug policies around the world, Georgetown University adjunct associate professor William B. McAllister warned governments against adopting a "zero tolerance" goal in their drug control strategies not because it is not laudable.

"But because it unrealistic by all historical standards of human behavior," McAllister writes in London School of Economics' series of reports on drug policies endorsed by five Nobel-prize winning economists.

McAllister said a way to define realistic success in drug policy is to set targets for use and abuse.

Such numerical targets are unheard of in Duterte's rhetoric. "

Imagine for example, that a particular country suffered a 10-percent heroin addiction rate among its population. A goal could be set to reduce to, say, 5 percent," he wrote.

"Programs could be implemented to achieve the target rate, and then to maintain the 'floor' percentage so that it did not rise."

But such numerical targets are unheard of in Duterte's rhetoric. (He did say once though that he would kill 100,000 criminals in his first six months in office). Several times, he pledged not to end the war or lift the state of emergency before the last criminal personality has fallen, while viewing human rights concerns a nuisance. Rather than being dismissed as illusory and crude, his statements are often seen as brave, practical goal-setting.

 
Duterte defends bloody anti-drug campaign by philstarnews


SCREENGRABBED PHOTO

Duterte justifies bloody anti-drug campaign by philstarnews Curato said Duterte's campaign might be succeeding after all if the direction issued is to attack the trade from below through violence.

"If you base it on that level and [the policy is] very clear [in] saying that violence is very much part of it then yes, we are succeeding. But the broader question is, is that the policy that we really want to take?" she said.

Felbab-Brown, meanwhile, finds Duterte's directive as self-defeating, and can even induce survival of the fittest among drug offenders.

"Dealers who remain on the streets will only be those who can either violently oppose law enforcement and vigilante groups or bribe their way to the highest power," she said.

"By eliminating low-level, mostly non-violent dealers, Duterte is paradoxically and counterproductively setting up a situation where more organized and powerful drug traffickers and distribution will emerge."

The very premise of a "war on drugs," for Collins, ignores the fact that drugs could not be completely rooted out, although their effects on society could be minimized.

"[A drug war] is the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to conduct surgery," he said.

If you base it on that level and the [policy is] very clear [in] saying that violence is very much part of it, then yes, we are succeeding. But the broader question is, is that the policy that we really want to take? - Nicole Curato Sociologist, Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis

Even the mass surrender of 700,000 so far does not indicate victory.

Police chief Dela Rosa aims to have 1.8 million drug users surrender to authorities. Following official estimates, this means enforcers want 100 percent of all drug users listed down and monitored, if they are not killed first.

"This is like saying a violent war on poverty has been 'successful' because thousands of poor people had 'surrendered'. Now what? There is no treatment infrastructure in place," he said.

He suggests that resources be channeled to more productive programs such as health interventions since drugs are primarily a "public health problem."

Felbab-Brown also said no war, even if sustained for a number of years, has successfully lowered the supply of drugs. Instead, she suggests a number of more effective policies for the Philippines without resorting to a witch hunt and letting the bodies pile up.

Drug policy alternatives for the Philippines
Vanda Felbab Brown, expert at Booking Institution

"•Law-enforcement and rule of law components of drug policy designs need to make reducing criminal violence and violent militancy among their highest objectives.

•Law enforcement measures should focus on the most dangerous areas and most dangerous actors first.

•High-value targeting can inadvertently increase violence by provoking turf wars. Targeting the middle layers of cartel leadership tends to be more effective in suppressing drug violence and weakening the power of organized crime groups.

• Socio-economic approaches for addressing drug-related crime and alternative livelihoods policies should be fully integrated into overall rural and economic development efforts, focus on both on-farm and off-farm income, and address the structural drivers of illicit economies. Well-designed socio-economic approaches to drug-related crime crucially help build support for drug policies and state legitimacy.

•Casual users under community supervision can be effectively targeted through mild, short, swift, and reliable penalties, such as spending one night or two in prison, but not extensively incarceration.

•Drug prevention should focus on early-age interventions and confidence-building, such as peer-pressure resistance.

•Policy designs and evaluations should be broadly based and include considerations of national security, public safety, rule of law, economic development, public health, and human rights.

•Stigmatizing and punishing users undermines efforts to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. Public health approaches, such as needle-exchanges and safe-injection sites, produce far better policy outcomes.

•Public health approaches to drug policy, while desirable from a human rights perspective, do not on their own address the issues of drug-related violent crime and corruption."

"The right objective should be to minimize violence in criminal markets and maximize public health. For both of those objectives, the war on drugs in the Philippines unleashed by Duterte is not only ineffective but outright counterproductive," Felbab-Brown said.

University of Maryland professor Peter Reuter, a top analyst on illegal markets, told the BBC last year that illegal drugs are a problem that can't be solved, but should instead be managed.

"Choose your problem. There is no solution. Use of psychoactive drugs is a social problem like a whole lot of other social problems. We manage it. And we may manage it better or worse, but the notion that we solve a problem is simplistic," he said.

Policy paradox: It only gets worse

If there is a consensus among drug policy experts, it is that the existence of a drug market only points to larger, more serious concerns that gave rise to narcotics trade and abuse in the first place. Among these are poverty, poor public health systems and weak rule of law.

The paradox is that the means used to confront the drug menace in the past decades, most recently in the Philippines, usually involve human rights violations that, experts say, further corrode rule of law and vilification of drug users who are mostly poor, underemployed or sick. Its long-term effects, looking at experience of other countries, involve worsening of the very troubles drugs are feared to create.

A national household survey by the Dangerous Drugs Board in 2008 found that more than a third of drug users in the country were unemployed. While that might not seem striking, the unemployment rate then was at 7.3 percent, indicating that drug users are a lot more likely to be jobless.

The mass killings in the Philippines will not dry up demand for drugs. Duterte himself responded to critics who complained that only the small fry have been subjected to police efforts. The rich, he said, use less potent heroin and cocaine, while the poor take meth or "shabu" that could potentially reduce them to a bestial state.

"There are many poor people (arrested and killed) because they are an easy target," Duterte said.

Collins said Duterte's current strategy "will not work on its own merits, since it is entirely unscientific or public health based."

He said already overflowing prisons will be more packed while camps without treatment facilities will be put up to intern those who surrendered. These can lead to more problems.


"Overflowing prisons will be more packed, while camps without treatment facilities will be put up to intern those who surrendered. The health and welfare in these facilities will go from bad to worse."

"The health and welfare conditions in these facilities will go from bad to worse. Disease will spread. Drug markets will likely become established within them. And individuals will lose existing ties with their communities. These are the opposite of the conditions needed to help people with drug dependence issues," Collins said.

With misguided policies, the drug trade, while believed to inspire corruption, can lead to acts of graft by public officers, such as facilitating the flow of drugs in prisons and camps.

"The mass killings in the Philippines will not dry up demand for drugs: the many people who will end up in overcrowded jails (as is already happening) will have a high chance of becoming addicted in prison," Felbab-Brown said.

 
Duterte to send drug abusers to military camps by philstarnews


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Duterte to send drug abusers to military camps by philstarnews "There is always smuggling into prisons and many prisons are major drug distribution and consumption spots," Felbab-Brown said.

De facto shoot-to-kill policies, moreover, will give offenders a chance to "institutionalize top-level corruption as only powerful drug traffickers will be able to bribe their way into the system."

"Corrupt top-level cops will engage in witch hunts against their drug business rivals as well as political enemies," she warned.

Conceding that the world's war on drugs has been lost, former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria told BBC's "The Inquiry" that a place with a complete absence of drugs is "something unreachable," a "utopia."

For Duterte's government, however, the fight will go on and it can be won. But how many more people have to die or be killed to achieve the impossible?

Reports from Philstar NewsLab; Graphic design by Jonathan Asuncion and RP Ocampo; Development by Ricky Ulnagan; Videos by Efigenio Toledo IV. Copyright Philstar.com 2016 All rights reserved.


MANILA BULLETIN

Lawmakers list hits and misses during Duterte’s first 100 days October 4, 2016 Share11 Tweet1 Share1 Email0 Share133 By Ben R. Rosario, Ellson A. Quismorio, and Mario B. Casayuran

Several lawmakers gave a mixed review of President Duterte’s first 100 days in office, citing both hits and misses on the President’s scorecard.

Duterte became the country’s 16th President last June 30. In the past three months, he has waded from one controversy to another, not the least because of his coarse language. Still, he remains resolute in his crusade to stamp out the drug menace and in hammering out a lasting peace deal with communist rebels.

On Monday, congressional leaders gave their assessment of the President’s term so far.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the sharp drop in criminality and a strong stand on the country’s sovereignty are among the top accomplishments of the Duterte administration.

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But Alvarez was quick to point out that the President’s wrongly linking Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino to drug trafficking and his reference to Adolf Hitler were particularly glaring mistakes.

In a press conference, Alvarez said Duterte has corrected his mistakes, showing his humility and human side. “Six years pa siyang mag-aapologize,” Alvarez joked, although adding Duterte was elected not to please everybody, especially the foreign community, but to address the concerns of the country.

“We have to remember that the president is fighting on a lot of fronts- illegal drugs, addressing the rebellion of both the CPP-NPA and MNLF and MILF. That is not an easy task,” he said.

Compared to his predecessors, Duterte chalked up more positive accomplishments, Alvarez said.

“At least there is a drop in criminality, it has dropped to about 50 percent at least. This is a big deal,” he said.

He dismissed Duterte’s threat to kill three million drug pushers and addicts, saying it is a mere threat that can be made against criminals.

On foreign policy, Alvarez commended Duterte for proclaiming that the Philippine sovereignty is inviolable.

“We used to be subservient to Western countries, particularly America and Europe. Now, for the first time, national interest is the priority,” said Alvarez.

On the minus side, traffic in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu is still hopelessly knotted, he said.

And Metro Manila’s railway system is also mired in glitches, Alvarez said.

The railway transit network was “privatized during the previous administration supposedly to address the problem. But up to now, nothing has happened. That problem really has to be addressed,” he said.

Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas gives Duterte good marks for quickly acting on legislative priorities.

Fariñas cited as an example the 2017 General Appropriations Act, which is expected to be approved days ahead of schedule.

Alvarez said he has no problem with granting emergency powers to Duterte as long as they are properly defined.

TOO EARLY TO JUDGE

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile played it safe, saying it is too early to judge the President’s performance.

“We should not be governed by this populist concept of 100 days to show a performance. He has been performing already. He has created a name in the world that no President has ever done, not even (the late President Ferdinand) Marcos. He has come to power like a meteor,” Enrile told a news forum sponsored by Samahang Plaridel at the historic Manila Hotel.

Enrile said the drug problem that Duterte is fighting “is nothing compared to the drug problem of America.”

“The American drug problem in terms of economy is $60 billion and they (drug syndicates) have their own private armies. That is why America cannot move as fast as we are doing it in the Philippines. They have the Sinaloa (among other drug syndicates in Central and South America) apart from the criminal syndicates that they have in the US. They have much more serious and bigger problems of drugs intrusion on that side of the planet that we have in the Philippines,’’ he said.

Enrile sees Duterte as playing his role as a President who has to govern and chooses his policies.

“You may not agree with his methodology but he is the only President that we have,” he said.

“Let us not become too impatient. The last time we had a President who never made any ripple when he entered the pond. He put his foot into the pond and nobody noticed him and he passed unnoticed,” he added, apparently referring to former President Benigno Aquino III.

“Now we have a President who has created too much wake and we are agog. We have become impatient again?” he said.

Asked if the official acts of the President during the past three months benefited Filipinos, Enrile said what the President is doing is maintaining order as “drug addiction is a lawless violence.”

“Let him do his job. Government is to govern, to control human condition… In the end we will chastise him or idolize him,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Give Rody more time – Enrile BY JAIME PILAPIL, TMT ON OCTOBER 4, 2016 TOP STORIES

FILIPINOS should not judge President Rodrigo Duterte based on his performance during his first 100 days in office, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile said on Monday.

“Let us not be too impatient. We need time. Do not judge him by his achievements after 100 days. He has six years to attain his goals, dreams and aspirations for the country. We are not used to rigidity. Let him do his job. Who knows, he may succeed,” Enrile said.

Based on the body count in the war against illegal drugs, the former lawmaker said Duterte appears to be succeeding in his goal to stamp out the drug menace.

“Based on the body count, he seems to be succeeding. We have a pro-active president. He is doing his responsibilities,” Enrile told reporters.

Police records showed that more than 3,000 people have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30.

Enrile admitted that Duterte has created “too much wave” in his fight against illegal drugs.

A report from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said drug addiction remains a major problem.

But Enrile said drug addiction problems in other countries are worse, such as in the United States where several syndicates actively promote the use of illegal drugs. He said illegal drug use is a P60 billion industry in the US while the drug business in the Philippines is at more or less P10 billion.


TRIBUNE

Dick on unsolved crime: Chicago had it worse Written by Angie M. Rosales Tuesday, 04 October 2016 00:00


GORDON:

The US city of Chicago alone has a total of 545 unresolved deaths, compared to the reported 3,000 deaths half of which were deaths under investigation in the entire Philippines that makes allegations of widespread state-sanctioned summary killings in President Duterte’s war on drug unfair, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said yesterday.

Gordon slammed the United Nations (UN) and the foreign media for highlighting unresolved deaths in the Philippines, noting that deaths in other countries have it far worse.

Gordon questioned the UN for not raising human rights violations in US cities where the ratio of unresolved killings compared to the population is higher than in the Philippines.

“Chicago city has become the crime capital of the USA. As of 2016, October 1, 2016, there have been 545 killings in Chicago. In the Philippines, there are 3,000. That’s for the whole country,” Gordon said.


COURTESY OF http://www.inquisitr.com/

He lamented that the UN and foreign media seemed to be silent on these deaths in the US and other countries and only scrutinize those in the Philippines.
“One killing is bad but the Westerners are trying to be holier than thou. Let him without sin cast the first stone,” he added. “Why is UN not questioning the US for the Chicago killings?”, he asked.

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Gordon insisted that the rule of law is still present in the Philippines as the Senate continues to investigate on the killings.

“The rule of law is still among us. The problem is the rule of law will only happen if someone will testify,” he added.

UNSOLICITED ADVICE TO RODY

Gordon, however, issued an unsolicited advice to President Duterte saying that he can’t avoid not being a statesman, as he openly appealed to him and other Executive officials to exhibit leadership in governing the country, amid the numerous tirades the government has been receiving especially from the international front over the Chief Executive’s unsavory remarks concerning the administration’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs in the country.

“I’m a senator, I can say that I’m a friend but he can be angry at me and I can’t do anything. But we have to protect the country from bad statements and the President has the duty to be a statesman. He must not be heard saying bad words,” he said.

The overall lead in the Senate’s probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings taking place in the present administration, called on the country’s leaders to make an assurance that despite the rising incidence of deaths of drug personalities, the government will hold accountable those responsible, especially for the alleged erring policemen.

“We have to be accountable. And to the media here, to the foreign media, we have not thrown out the rule book because the Senate is investigating extrajudicial killings, whatever you want to define it, the law has not been thrown out. So don’t be afraid of the Philippines, the Senate is investigating. That’s the beauty of democracy. All of these cases are still undergoing investigation. We will do our best to come up with a satisfactory investigation,” he said.

“That’s what we need, an assurance to the public. You know why a cop is called cop? (It’s stands for) constable of the people. That’s where it got its name,” Gordon told Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Gen. Ronald dela Rosa who presented anew figures on the status of anti-drug operations of the law enforcers.

Duterte too loud

“The President is too talkative, too loud. It is right that he shows his anger against drugs but cut down on the ‘I will kill you’. He is falling on his own sword. Now people abroad are being led to believe that it is really what is happening,” the senator said.

Dela Rosa told Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III that of the thousands of arrested drug personalities, only a small percentage – which is being highlighted by international media entities - represent those killed and most casualties attempted to fight off arrests made police operatives.

Of the present 22,387 arrested out of the 23,474 drug operations since July 1 and 1,375 were killed during police operations.
Given the intensified campaign being carried out by the government, Gordon said that it cannot be helped but create an impression that the PNP is trying to keep up with a “quota.”

Gordon was told that these reported cases are still under investigation and urged them to come up with a satisfactory investigation.

Meanwhile, senators welcomed the move of Duterte apologizing to the Jewish community for his remarks that he is willing to slaughter three million addicts in the country, just like what Hitler did to the Jews, under his intensified anti-drugs campaign.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the significance or meaning of an apology, if repeatedly made, will no longer have any value in the future, he stressed.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, party mate of Duterte in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said Malacañang should learn from this experience.

“We learn from all our past experiences. But of course, I want the president to be effective. Let him be himself,” he said.
It started with politics

Duterte traced his notorious image as a human rights transgressor to his old political foes, now allies, back in his Davao turf.


De Lima was appointed by president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights in May 2008 and was DOJ Secretary in the Noy Aquino govt.

In his speech in Bacolod City on Sunday, the 71-year-old firebrand said that the negative label actually started when his former opponents attributed the killings of petty criminals in Davao City where he was a long time Mayor, that reached national attention through then Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman and now Sen. Leila De Lima.

“The issue about human rights, actually it started as garbage. My political opponent, unfortunately, I won’t name him because his wife is my relative. They started this thing about human rights,” Duterte said.

Obviously, the President is referring to former House Speaker Prospero Nograles whose wife Rhodora Bendigo is a relative.
The Nograles political clan has already ended its decades old rivalry with Duterte when the latter decided to run for the Presidency last year.


NOGRALES was elected as the Speaker of the House on February 5, 2008, the first ever elected Speaker from Mindanao. He gave up his House seat in 1992 to make an unsuccessful challenge to the re-election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, but regained the seat in the 1995 election. In 2010, he ran again and lost 2nd try for the mayorship of Davao City against Vice-Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of then-mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte who ran for vice-mayor. WIKIPEDIA

In a September 23 speech, the President said that it was Nograles who actually fed de Lima, who also became Justice Secretary, with malicious photographs of victims of alleged vigilante killings imputing liability on then Mayor Duterte.

“It started with politics. All of those who died there even those who were ran over by a vehicle, pictures were taken. Nograles then sent these to de Lima, who is his friend. They are both ugly,” the President said, bragging that his being a “criminal killing a criminal” made Davao City a safe city.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also took the cudgels for beleaguered Senator de Lima whose alleged sex video recording could be unveiled in Congress anytime soon.

LEILA'S SEX VIDEOS

In a statement, the CHR said that apart from being a disgraceful move for legislators publicizing sex videos are a violation of one’s privacy and human rights, adding that de Lima’s dilemma now is “clearly a form of psychological violence.”

“Showing the alleged ‘sex video’ shows utter lack of respect for the dignity and privacy of a prominent woman legislator and is clearly meant to shame her,” the CHR said.

“As Gender Ombudsman, the Commission cannot allow the continuing discrimination and violation of any woman’s rights and in this case, the rights of Senator de Lima,” it added.

Sweepingly, the CHR, whose chairman Chito Gascon is a yellow ally having been one of the past regime’s residual appointments, said that humiliating de Lima is of the same degree as shaming all women.

“Whenever we keep silent when violations occur, we contribute to the trivialization of the recognition gained in the cause of women’s rights. Hence, we contribute to the violation of the rights of women everywhere,” the CHR claimed.

Moreover, the CHR reminded legislators that production and distribution of sex videos is a violation of Republic Act no. 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Law.
With Ted Tuvera

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte explains why …’I’ll never kneel before Americans’ SHARES: 9288 VIEW COMMENTS By: Gil C. Cabacungan @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 09:32 PM October 4th, 2016


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses delegates of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, a parallel summit in the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and other related summits on Sept. 6, 2016 in Vientiane, Laos. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

PRESIDENT ANGRY AT US FOR RIDING ON 'GARBAGE' HURLED BY RIVALS DURING POLLS. ALSO, HE WANTS ONE-SIDED WAR GAMES STOPPED

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte resumed his tirade against the United States and its allies who have been criticizing him for his bloody war on drugs.

“For the life of me, I’d rather kneel before the king of Brunei or Thailand but I will never before the Americans,” said Mr. Duterte.

The President said that US President Barack Obama, the US State Department and foreign-funded nongovernment organizations merely rode on the “garbage” that his political rivals threw against him, the alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao City , when he ran for mayor and for president.

“When you’re at the receiving end of an uncontrollable wrath, the only way out is through insult. That was my retaliation to them. Sabi ko putang ina ninyo (I said, ‘Your mother is a whore!’),” said the President.

The President doubted whether the Americans would sacrifice their lives for the Philippines. He cited the war games, which he believed benefited only the Americans because the weapons being used were incompatible and therefore useless for the the country’s military. “I really lost my faith in the Americans,” said the President.

“You can go to hell, State Department, you can go to hell Obama. You can go to hell EU (European Union), you can choose purgatory because hell is full. Why will I be afraid of you?” said Mr. Duterte. SFM


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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