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‘Don’t be lawyers for drug lords’

Big-time drug dealers apprehended by the government may have find difficulty finding lawyers to defend themselves in court.

President Duterte appealed to fellow San Beda law graduates Thursday to refrain from accepting drug lords as their clients, showing his disgust towards those involved in the criminal activity.

At the San Beda College of Law alumni gathering held in his honor at the Club Filipino in San Juan City last Thursday, the President told his schoolmates to let lawyers from rival schools University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University handle drug-related cases instead.

“Huwag naman ‘yang mga drug lord. Susmaryosep. Maraming kaso diyan na pakialam mo. Ibigay mo doon sa iba. Ibigay mo doon sa taga-UP, pati Ateneo. Baka madale ka pa,” Duterte said.

Duterte noted that his lawyer friends in Davao have avoided defending drug dealers in court due to his aversion to these offenders. The former mayor of Davao City is a law graduate from San Beda.

“Ayaw nila kasi alam nila ayaw ko e. So ‘yung mga abugado nila, sa labas. Nothing significant but that was the practice,” he said.

The President has launched a strong campaign against illegal drugs and other crimes but assured that due process and rule of law will be respected. He has already identified three drug lords associated with the Chinese triad in the country as well as five police generals involved in the illegal activity.

Hundreds of drug addicts and pushers have surrendered to authorities amid concerns they might be killed in the Duterte-led crackdown. Dozens of drug dealers have also been arrested and killed either in police raids or unknown circumstances.

Malacañang earlier assured that the government’s anti-drug campaign is “not a free-for-all” crackdown on drug suspects and must still abide by the rule of law.

In his speech before San Beda schoolmates, Duterte reaffirmed his resolve to put an end to the country’s drug problem.

He warned anew that county can turn into a narco-politics state in four to seven years if nobody interdicts now. He also lamented that the Philippines is the “only country except South America” where shabu is cooked inside the national penitentiary.

“Kaya tatapusin, may magtatapos talaga nito. I have placed the burden upon myself. Tatapusin ko ito even at the cost of my honor, my life, and the presidency,” Duterte said. (GENALYN D. KABILING)