Presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte’s public projection as a tough crime-buster that helped removed illegal drugs off streets of Davao City of illegal drugs is just a hoax, administration standard-bearer Manuel A. Roxas II said yesterday.
Roxas said that in 2014, he wrote Duterte to inform him that almost 40 percent of barangays in Davao City fall under the category of “seriously affected by drugs” based on the assessment of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Maybe he forgot that I, as secretary of the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), wrote him a letter because of the PDEA report that 72 out of 180 barangays of Davao City are heavily-infested by illegal drugs,” said Roxas.
“It did not come from Mar Roxas, it came from the PDEA. That’s why I wrote him a letter to inform him of this problem,” added Roxas after the camp of Duterte criticized him for his alleged failure to curb illegal drugs when he was still the DILG Secretary following the LP standard-bearer’s post-debate statement that illegal drugs are still rampant in Davao City.
Asked if Duterte responded to his letter, Roxas said he has to look for the records in the DILG. But he said whether or not Duterte responded to his letter is already irrelevant since the most important aspect of his letter was the actions taken to address the illegal drugs problem.
Rep. Barry Gutierrez, LP spokesman for campaign, said the latest data still revealed of the illegal drugs problems in Davao City. “That (Roxas letter to Duterte) was 2014. Two years have passed, drugs remain rampant in Davao City,” said Gutierrez.
“So what is he talking about his promise to rid the whole Philippines of illegal drugs in three to six months? He is still the mayor of Davao City right? But he seems to have forgotten to clean his own backyard,” he added.
During the Cagayan de Oro debate, Duterte promised to make the Philippines free of illegal drugs peddlers and users and other criminals in just three to six month, saying he would put his name, his honor, and his life.
Roxas has been disputing the reports being circulated by the Duterte camp and social media allies that Davao City is the most peaceful city in the country. Roxas, citing PNP records, said Davao City ranks fourth in cities with highest crime incidents.
Gutierrez laid Roxas’ gains as Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary against drugs, saying records revealed that the government was able to confiscate some P4.83-billion worth of illegal drugs in 2014.
Last year, he said the government was able to seize some P2.46 billion.
But Gutierrez said that unlike Duterte, Roxas does not solely claim responsibility on the illegal drugs campaign, attributing it the coordination of various government agencies such as the PDEA and the police.
Gutierrez also cited the accomplishments of the “Oplan: Lambat Sibat” that Roxas helped conceptualized in 2014 at the height of the criticisms of rampant criminality in Metro Manila.
“Through Lambat Sibat, we brought down crime in Metro Manila to 240 incidents every week from the weekly average of 919,” said Gutierrez.
“Without killing anyone, almost 700 Filipinos were not mugged or stolen from. So who actually did not do anything?” the LP spokesman added.