DUMAGUETE CITY -– Vice Presidential candidate and incumbent Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero announced Friday that what is needed to curb the illegal drugs problem in the country today is to utilize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the Philippine National Police (PNP) cannot do it alone.
Sen. Escudero was in this city with presidential bet Grace Poe, also an incumbent senator, on sorties in Dumaguete City and other parts of Negros Oriental.
At a press conference, Sen. Escudero described the illegal drugs problem as a “threat to national security” and if they get elected in the May 9 polls, a “Poe administration” will be utilizing the AFP.
“The first step in solving a problem is admitting that there is a problem,” Sen. Escudero said, but he pointed out that “no government in the past has considered it (the illegal drugs problem) as a threat to national security.”
The drug lords are already behind bars and yet they are still operating, the senator added, pointing to the illegal drugs operations being carried out inside jail facilities such as the National Bilibid Prison.
On the so-called narco-politics, Escudero admits that there are some police and military personnel and even some politicians who are involved.
They should be the first to go and any administration must get rid of them by suspension or dismissal from the service, Escudero stressed.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Administration (PDEA) says not too many persons in the higher echelons of government are involved in the illegal drugs trade but mostly police officers and local government officials, according to the vice presidential bet.
Escudero also admits the perennial problem of PDEA lacking in personnel to carry out its primary task of addressing the illegal drugs problem which is why there is a need to tap the AFP.
“Under a Grace Poe administration, this will be the first time in the history of the country that AFP and other agencies will be utilized to solve the problem,” Escudero added. JUDALINE PARTLOW/ PNA/ northboundasia.com