New Philippine anti-drug czar issues death penalty call

Dante Jimenez says death is the only deterrent that will instill fear in drug lords
New Philippine anti-drug czar issues death penalty call

An alleged drug dealer is handcuffed after a drug bust operation by police in Manila. (Photo: Noel Celis/AFP)

The Philippines’ new anti-drug czar has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to reimpose the death penalty, saying it is the only deterrent that will work against the country’s drug barons.      

Dante Jimenez, the newly appointed co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), made the call at a press briefing at the presidential palace in Manila on March 3 where he pledged his full support for Duterte’s controversial drug war.

Jimenez replaced Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, who was fired by Duterte last November in a move that Catholic bishops described as “shameful.”

“I would like to request to the president to make as a priority bill the reimposition of the death penalty. This is the only penalty that would be able to institute fear among these illegal drug lords,” the Manila Times reported him as saying.

They are coming to the Philippines because there is no death penalty, he added.

Jimenez said he accepted his new role because he wanted to protect the country’s youths and society from drugs

“I pledge to continue the war against illegal drugs waged by the president, as promised from the time of his campaign, up to this day,” he said.

Jimenez also dismissed his predecessor’s claim that the drug war was a “massive failure,” saying “I have seen and felt the disastrous effects of the illegal drug trade on many families and its real threat to the future of our country.”

He even signed his acceptance statement with his own blood, which he said was to “represent the thousands of victims of illegal drugs.”

Jimenez’s stance is in direct contrast to that of Robredo, who vowed to end the killings that have characterized the government’s violent campaign against illegal drugs. She called for the government to target drug lords instead of killing small-time drug dealers.

Robredo was axed less than a month after being named as the ICAD co-chairman.

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