To decriminalize drugs is to legalize shabu

9

Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia

MADAM Vice President, what are you smoking? Seriously, you thought this is a bright idea, one that you will be best remembered for? This is your way of battling the scourge? Did you read thoroughly Portugal’s Law 30/2000?

Do you know we have ratified and are signatories to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances? Was there CSW done when you decided to merely drop Portugal as a “better” way of battling the menace?

What is to decriminalize? What drugs would Robredo want decriminalized under RA 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002? She said decriminalizing does not mean possessing drugs for personal use would become legal, but rather, it would be considered an administrative violation punishable by fines or community service.

What the Vice President wants repealed is a 15-year-old law which is only now being strongly implemented by government. When one decriminalizes, it legalizes use; it will no longer a crime to possess, trade and manufacture illegal drugs, right? We become a narco state since now abuse in use is a health issue and not a crime.


Context and perspective are important in referring to certain models or case studies in battling the scourge of illegal drugs. It is very important in using the Mexico model as a failed process of battling illegal drugs, according to the Vice President. She forgot to check the nature of operations and influence of drug use and the drug industry in Mexico and the Philippines, which are two different things. When Robredo keeps referring to failed battles in Mexico and other Latin American countries, she fails to understand the industry itself. Now she comes up with an off-the-cuff remark citing Portugal as “triumphant” in decriminalizing personal possession of all drugs in 2001. “What did Portugal do? Portugal found a system to combat drugs that was peaceful and orderly. They reformed their laws; they strengthened rehabilitation [of addicts]; they fixed their institutions responsible for rehabilitating,” she said.

Ergo, Duterte’s plan and program are not peaceful and orderly. And viola, reforming our laws and strengthening rehabilitation, fixing institutions responsible for rehabilitating are not being done. Clearly, that is false. Rehabilitation facilities are being constructed. Oplan Tokhang has been stopped, corrected and reloaded. Rehabilitation programs are rolling out.

Again, what the Vice President forgot to mention are the trade-offs for Portugal. “Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, and is used as the shining example of what all nations should do. It has the lowest percentage of drug-overdose deaths in Europe. But here again, it is all a trade-off. In 1995, eight percent of Portuguese teenagers had tried recreational drugs. By 2011, that percentage had gone to 16 percent and with children under 13, it was the highest in Europe. Even while touting the benefits of decriminalization, the Portuguese government says the 40-percent increase in homicides since 2001 is related to drug use, and HIV transmission related to intravenous drug use is among Europe’s highest. Even Dr. Joao Goulao, the chief architect of Portugal’s decriminalization policy, has said: “It’s very difficult to identify a causal link between decriminalization by itself and the positive tendencies we have seen.” There is no simple or easy solution to the rampant drug-abuse problem. And looking for “simple and easy” solution may cause greater harm (Business Mirror editorial, August 25, 2015).

One gram of heroin, two grams of cocaine, 25 grams of marijuana leaves or five grams of hashish are the drug quantities one can legally purchase and possess in Portugal, carrying them through the streets of Lisbon.

Ecstasy, and amphetamines—including speed and meth— can also be possessed in amounts up to one gram.

That’s roughly enough of each of these drugs to last 10 days. Will Robredo also recommend these for the Philippines?

These are the amounts listed in a table appended to Portugal’s Law 30/2000. Goulão participated in creating this law, which has put his country at the forefront of experimental approaches to drug control. The substances listed in the Law 30/2000 table are still illegal in Portugal but using these drugs is nothing more than a misdemeanor, much the same as a parking violation.

Pinto Coelho is a doctor ho has run rehab centers and written books on addiction. He is opposed to Goulão’s policy. Coelho’s greatest concern is that his country has given up on the idea of a drug-free world. How is it possible to keep young people away from drugs, when everyone knows exactly how many pills can legally be carried around? He still believes deterrents are the best form of prevention and that cold turkey withdrawal is the best treatment method. He is also fighting the extensive methadone program Portugal began as part of its drug policy reform, which now provides tens of thousands of heroin addicts with this substitute drug. The unintended consequences of a simple and easy solution.

So, let us go into the details, Madam Vice President. What provisions do you want decriminalized in Republic Act 9165? Importation, sale and trading, manufacture, cultivation, unnecessary and unlawful prescription, disposition of confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs? It is so easy to decriminalize but the devil is in the details. So, are you ready for a zombie state?

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9 Comments

  1. Madame VP is really making History..

    1. She embarrassed our nation with her unverified Crime Reports Video smilingly telling the whole world of a crime which had been existing even from the past administrations..

    2. Recommending to Decriminalize Drugs and all Drugs related crimes..

    Addicts are used to lying to their parents to justify their actions.. wala naman akong duda na addict cya pero bakit parang addict cya mag isip..

    May kasabihan tayo “Kung di ka makakatulong, mas mabuting manahimik ka na Lang” o kaya naman gumawa kna Lang ng tahimik to prevent yourself from saying incriminating and annoying comments lalo sa media.. Hinihiya mo pati sarili mo at itong pamilyang Pilipino..

  2. Eddie Socnayan on

    Decriminalizing drugs as Ms Robredo wants makes her an addict to drugs, if it were not so, she would not have recommended it

    • Eddie Socnayan on

      I wish to comment on my 1st comment, what I really meant is that Ms Robredo maybe addicted to drugs because of her recommendation of decriminalizing it

  3. no to decriminalize drug use!!!! ganyan mo talaga lalabanan ang ating Presidente, ganyan mo ililigtas mga kakampi mong drug lords

  4. If Robredo really wanted to decriminalized manufacture and use of shabu be ready as well to decriminalized killing the drug users if they commit crime against non-users. I will never allow a drug user to harm my family member and get away with it. If the government will forced me to live by with addicts, the government must also give me the right to kill them if they try to commit crime.

  5. We are not Mexicans. We are not Portuguese. We are Filipinos! No offence to Madam (acting) Vice President but I believe in Filipinos. We achieve what others cannot.She has again demonstrated her non-existent leadership skills and in the process shows Duterte’s inspirational governance, placed side by side the LP heavily lacks in comparison.

  6. I admit I made a wrong decision for voting Robredo.
    Not only the VP sabotage/destroyed the Philippine in her UN video now the VP intends to make filipino children addicted to illegal drugs.

  7. Decriminalizing drugs will be the most dangerous thing in the Phils.. can u imagine Madame VP dito sa atin khit di lasing o di bangag ang isang tao, matignan mo lang ng di cnasadya uupakan kna..

    Whoooa.. that’s really extremely dangerous..
    My neighbor teenager raped her Ate simply bec he’s bangag on drugs and now u want these drugs related crimes be decriminalize..

    I bought a gun just to protect my family from a drugs contaminated barangay community and was forced to move to other place just to get away with it, bec am scared to death, for my only son who hated drugs so much and for 10yrs since then, my son is so thankful and told me to give away my gone to our Mayor para daw sa mga matitinong pulis na walang baril..

    Have mercy on us Madame VP don’t do it or suggest to decriminalize it ever again please..

    • Wla naman alam yan si robredo, di niya alam ginagawa lang syang tautauhan ng mga nasasagasaan ng duterte government, kagaya ng mga druglords, gambling lords, corrupt officials na hirap na ngaun mangurakot, mga mining companies na nang aabuso ng mga natural resources natin, mga religious organization na totoong di nman makadios ( panahon pa ng mga kastila)