DRUG lords may be bankrolling destabilization efforts against President Rodrigo Duterte without the knowledge of civil society groups campaigning against the government’s war on illegal drugs, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said on Friday.
DEEP POCKETS Senator Alan Peter Cayetano tells reporters it was too obvious for drug lords to confront the police or President Rodrigo Duterte directly, so what they did was to look for an issue that they could exploit and hope it would lead to the President’s ouster. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ
The Senator said it was only natural for drug syndicates to look for means to stop the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the government that had cost them huge losses.
The key Duterte ally declined to give specific information and pointed to the intelligence community.
“What I’m saying is this: If I’m a drug lord making P1 billion a year and here comes the government going after my men, I have to do something because if I don’t, I may not only lose my income but I may also get arrested and jailed,” Cayetano said in a news conference in Quezon City.
He said it would be too obvious for drug lords to confront the police or the President directly, so what they did was to look for an issue that they could exploit and hope it would lead to Duterte’s ouster.
“That is factual and that is how they (drug lords) operate around the world,” he added.
But Cayetano made it clear he was not saying that the anti-Duterte rallies, like the one organized during the commemoration of the 31st “People Power” anniversary on Edsa last February 25, was somehow funded by drug lords.
“I do not know what specifically the drug lords are financing. What I’m saying is that it’s part of their playbook. It is part of organized crime to use their money so that they can continue to do business and it’s part of their plan to get rid of Duterte,” Cayetano added.
The senator also said he was not implying that humans rights advocates, church organizations and other groups should not speak out on abuses committed by authorities.
“What we are saying is let’s not be naïve. Drug lords are not standing by, they are not doing nothing. Now, how much are they doing is for the law enforcers to find out,” he said.
Cayetano was among those who appealed to the President and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to re-launch the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, which was stopped in January after revelations police anti-narcotics operatives killed Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo in October.
The PNP responded with the creation of a new anti-drug group, and the President said it was up to the PNP to decide whether it would resume the drug war. He claimed there had been a rise of about 20 percent in drug sales on the streets since police were pulled back.
President Duterte on Thursday warned of “more killings to come” in his war against drugs.
“I am committed to stopping drugs before I go out, which means to say, Father, Monsignor, Bishop, there will be more killings because they really fight back,” he said, addressing himself to critics from the Catholic Church and referring to drug suspects who were killed by police for resisting arrest.
“It will not end tomorrow for as long as there is drug pusher and a drug lord,” the President added.