“The momentum the police has gained over a short period through life-risking work of fighting illegal drugs must not be deterred by legislative inquiries like what we are conducting right now.” This was among the points raised by Senator Panfilo Lacson in his opening remarks on the first day of the Senate hearings on the alleged drug-related extrajudicial killings.
The Senate hearings started August 22, Monday with Senator Leila De Lima chairing the primary committee and Senator Lacson the secondary committee.
Earlier, Lacson had advised President Rodrigo Duterte to “encourage” the PNP to participate in the Senate probe. However, during the hearing, the senator expressed reservations about the entire proceedings as hearings of this nature may erode the confidence of the PNP in carrying out its mission and may upset the gains already made.
“I have openly and consistently manifested my misgivings to allow this inquiry to proceed and for good reasons,” he said.
Lacson served as PNP chief from 1999 to 2001 before becoming senator. He also took active part in major police operations when he was with the Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) Intelligence and Security Group (MISG) from 1971 to 1986. Thus, Lacson knows what law enforcers think and feel in the performance of their duties.
“As I have spent half of my life in enforcement, like them, I am not sure how many times I could have been… killed during police operations that I have participated in, number of times I could have landed in jail while performing my duties,” he recounted before the committee.
He also said that his stint as PNP chief then was “anything but pleasant.”
“Never ako nakaramdam ng good vibes noon (I never felt good vibes in those times). I just hope our resource persons, members of the police force, are not talking to themselves now, cursing us legislators the way I did then,” Lacson said.
“I would like to stress, having come from the ranks of the police, I know and understand their psyche, I know their frustration over a fraud judicial system, unsympathetic and sometimes corrupt prosecutors,” he added.
But Lacson had high praises for the efforts and gains of the PNP in its fight against the illegal drug trade in the country. He partly attributed the success to the efforts of the Duterte administration. “Frankly I have never seen anything on a scale of the current anti-illegal drugs campaign under this administration,” he said.
Finally, Lacson told the PNP his “guess” on how the present anti-drug campaign would probably end: “Either we have a drug-free Philippines after six months—or may be a longer period—or, God forbid, you go back and worse end up in jail.”