With Lim, Espinosa off the hook, drug war clearly tar­gets poor – Bam


Sen­a­tor Bam Aquino on Tues­day slammed the dis­missal of il­le­gal drugs charges against Cebu busi­ness­man and self­con­fessed drug traf­ficker Ker­win Espinosa as proof that the war on drugs only tar­gets the poor.

In a res­o­lu­tion dated on De­cem­ber 20, 2017, the De­part­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ) dis­missed the cases filed against Lim, Espinosa, and 20 oth­ers.

“Sa pag­pa­palaya ng mga nahul­ing drug lord, klaro na ang tokhang ay para lamang sa mga mahi­hi­rap na Pilipino at hindi para sa may pera at konek­siyon,” Aquino said in a state­ment.

“Ang hus­tisya sa bayan ay tila para sa iilan lamang at hindi para sa bawat Pilipino,” he added.

The sen­a­tor also ques­tioned the value of the on­go­ing war on drugs if the al­leged sources of drugs are set free.

“Ano pa ang ha­laga ng pag­patay sa libu-libo nat­ing kababayan, kung pakakawalan din lang ang mis­mong pinag­mu­mu­lan ng droga?” Aquino said.

Last Jan­uary, the gov­ern­ment re­vived its “Oplan Tokhang” cam­paign against il­le­gal drugs af­ter it was sus­pended fol­low­ing crit­i­cism over the high num­ber of al­leged drug per­son­al­i­ties killed in po­lice oper­a­tions.

Rich and poor are equal tar­gets

Pres­i­dent Duterte had said that he could not spare the poor from his anti-il­le­gal drugs cam­paign be­cause that would be a form of se­lec­tive jus­tice and against the law.

Thou­sands of peo­ple, most of them in im­pov­er­ished com­mu­ni­ties, have been killed since Mr. Duterte launched his war on drugs af­ter tak­ing of­fice in 2016. Hu­man rights groups blamed the po­lice for de­lib­er­ately killing drug sus­pects dur­ing an­tidrug oper­a­tions.

“So if you are poor, I can­not do any­thing and say, ‘I will not ar­rest you, I will not kill you be­cause you are poor’ — that would be se­lec­tive jus­tice,” the Pres­i­dent said in a speech last Jan­uary at the 60th birth­day cel­e­bra­tion of Speaker Pan­ta­leon Al­varez.

The Pres­i­dent said he had been ac­cused of tar­get­ing just the poor. “And worse, they say, ‘Duterte only kills the poor,’” he lamented.

But he said the law was very clear. “I can­not say that this law is only for the rich but not for the poor,” he said.

Jus­ti­fy­ing the in­clu­sion of the poor among tar­gets in the war on drugs, Mr. Duterte said “[t]he act of one is the act of all be­cause it is a con­spir­acy. That is the law.”

“And my oath of of­fice says that I have to en­force the law against ev­ery­body who vi­o­lates the law,” he added.


Fa­ther and son Ri­cardo De Luna and Richard De Luna and neigh­bor Mar­ian Dacua were ar­rested at a raid con­ducted by the Dis­trict Drug En­force­ment Unit (DDEU) of the Que­zon City Po­lice Dis­trict at Matahimik Street, Teach­ers Vil­lage, Que­zon City. At least P75,000 worth of shabu, drug para­pher­na­lia and a firearm pis­tol were re­cov­ered dur­ing the raid.


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