Palace: War on drugs remains ‘unrelenting’

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DAVAO CITY (December 20) —Malacañang on Wednesday, December 19, stressed that the Duterte government’s campaign against illegal drugs would continue to be unrelenting.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said this during a Palace press briefing in view of a government agency report that the official death toll has reached more than 5,000 since the drug war started in July 2016.

Secretary Panelo pointed out that the 5,050 casualties recorded by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) were much lower than the 30,000 deaths being reported by some “false news agencies.”

On the other hand, the Palace Spokesperson stressed that drug-related deaths only occur in police operations whenever there are instances of drug suspects fighting back.

“The number of deaths occurring in drug-related cases will depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrests, the buy-bust operations,” Panelo said.

“It means that the people involved there are resisting arrest or using violence. That’s why in the process, they are given the consequent violence coming from the police officers,” he added.

The President’s chief legal counsel said the death toll figures could still increase depending on how drug personalities would respond to police operations targeted against them.

“If they become violent, necessarily, the result would be violent too. What you sow, you reap,” Sec. Panelo said.

Meanwhile, he made clear that not all drug-related deaths were a result of police operations, noting that drug syndicates themselves are behind most cases of the so-called extrajudicial killings in the country.-PND

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