Buhay party-list group Rep. Lito Atienza on Thursday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to heed former President Fidel V. Ramos’ advice for him to order law enforcers to conduct the war on drugs properly.
“We strongly support the brotherly advice of Mr. Ramos, for President Duterte to compel police officers to restrain themselves, and to order them to simply incapacitate rather than kill suspects,” Atienza said in a news conference in Quezon City.
In a newspaper column, Ramos scored the administration for making a priority a war on drugs at the expense of issues of poverty, living costs, foreign investment and jobs, saying the country is “losing badly.”
“In the overall assessment by this writer, we find our Team Philippines losing in the first 100 days of [the Duterte]administration–and losing badly. This is a huge disappointment and let-down to many of us,” the former President said.
“It is not always shoot-to-kill, which is the mission of the law enforcer, it is shoot to disable,” Ramos added.
Ramos is Duterte’s special envoy to China.
“Mr. Ramos is absolutely correct. We are after all still a government of laws, not of men. The police do not have a license to kill suspects. The duty of the police is to apprehend and gather enough evidence against suspects so they may be put on trial,” Atienza said.
The lawmaker added that the continuous killings boil down to respect for the value of human life.
“Law enforcers are supposed to protect and save lives, not take lives. In any operation, they are supposed to try their best to avoid if not minimize the potential loss of human lives, whether it is the lives of suspects or the lives of innocent bystanders,” Atienza said.