NOVEMBER 13, 2019 – Vice President Leni Robredo has no intention to scrap the controversial â€śTokhang operation â€ś in the governmentâ€™s anti-drugs campaign, her spokesman said on Wednesday.
Lawyer Barry Gutierrez said the newly designated drug czar only wanted to change public perception on President Duterteâ€™s signature â€śOplan Tokhangâ€ť, where police knock the the doors of suspected drug personalities and request them to surrender.
Robredo has floated the idea of a having a “more effective campaign” to avoid “senseless killings,” saying it has acquired a negative connotation.
The police operation has been criticized in the past three years due to alleged extrajudicial killings and for appearing to target only poor communities.
“When she talks about kailangan magmove on na tayo from Tokhang, she is talking about changing the perception ng ating mga kababayan na ito ay puro patayan lang,” Gutierrez said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay.
“Gusto nating maging mas balanse ang appreciation dooon sa buong programa, mainitindahan ng ating mga kababayan kung ano ang iba’t ibang aspeto rito.,” he added.
Gutierrez said there is a need to re-direct and assure the accountability of law enforcers to change the publicâ€™s negative perception on â€śTokhang operationsâ€ť.
MalacaĂ±ang yesterday expressed openness to the possible overhaul of the government’s anti-narcotics campaign, including the scrapping of Oplan Tokhang.
“Kung sa tingin niya ay mayroon pang mas effective kaysa sa tokhang, e ‘di gawin niya,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing. “She should be given a wide latitude and she should pursue her own scheme of things in pursuing the drug war.”
Over 5,500 drug suspects were killed since the drug war was waged in 2016, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said, but human rights groups alleged the death toll could be as high as 27,000.
In August, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to approve a resolution filed by Iceland to look into the human rights situation in the Philippines due to the governmentâ€™s brutal and bloody war on drugs policy. (Karen Macalalad / MM)