The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has withdrawn its support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, which the party described as having become “anti-people and anti-democratic.”
“In line with standing orders, the New People’s Army (NPA) will continue to intensify its operations to arrest and disarm drug trade operators and protectors. However, these will no longer be considered as cooperative with the Duterte regime’s undemocratic and anti-people ‘war on drugs,’” according to a statement by the CPP released on Friday.
“As before, the NPA will continue to exercise due process in dealing with suspects, such as those PNP officers presently in custody in Compostela Valley and Surigao del Sur.”
The NPA is the guerrilla wing of the CPP. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines is the political arm.
In the statement, the CPP said the “anti-drug war of the Duterte regime has rapidly spiraled into a frenzied campaign of extra-judicial killings and vigilante murders perpetrated by the police and by police-linked criminal syndicates.”
The statement said nearly 1,000 people have been killed in just a little more than one month, although official police data show that 592 drug personalities have been killed in 5,422 operations as of Sunday.
The CPP’s criticism of the government’s anti-drug war is that it appears to target “the lowest rungs of the criminal syndicate ladder.”
“In contrast, the suspected big drug lords and their protectors are afforded courtesy calls to Malacañang, accommodations in Camp Crame’s guest house and preliminary investigations by the [National Bureau of Investigation],” the statement said.
The CPP also criticized government for shifting the burden of proof from the state to the accused.
“Duterte has come up with one list after another of so-called protectors, narco-politicians and judges without proof nor clear basis for accusations of their involvement in drugs. He could not even tell the people how the lists were drawn. It is a mystery even to the chief intelligence officer and head of the [Philippine National Police],” it said.
The CPP warned that Duterte’s war on drugs is bound to fail because it does not address the socio-economic roots of the problem,” it warned.
It cited the case of Mexico and Thailand where it said the drug problem remained even after thousands had been killed in the fight against drugs.
“In all likelihood, many of the summary and vigilante killings are being carried out by the criminal syndicates who use the ‘anti-drug war’ as camouflage for waging all-out war against their rivals and their rival protectors in the police, bureaucracy and judiciary or to rub-out their own men,” the CPP said.
MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO