The Philippine’s envoy to the United Nations Teddy Locsin called Vice President Robredo an “idiot” for suggesting to study Portugal’s response to drug use, which is to decriminalize it.
“This woman is a real idiot,” Locsin wrote on his Twitter account in response to Philippine Daily Inquirer’s report about Robredo’s remarks involving Portugal’s decriminalization move against drugs.
“Let’s legalize murder while we’re at it and rape as well. Legalize use you cartelize pushing,” Locsin added.
In the Inquirer report, Robredo made the remarks about Portugal during a forum in the University of the Philippines in Los Baños when she was asked by a student to suggest an alternative method to the government’s bloody war on drugs.
Robredo said that the Philippines should look into the best practices used by countries that are successful in fighting drugs, citing Portugal and its “triumphant” battle with the addictive substances. She compared it to the often failed drug war enforced by countries in Latin America, which used mainly violent methods.
“If we only study the drug campaigns around the world, we will see that the countries that used violence in combating drugs never succeeded. Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico —these countries used force, they fought fire with fire. Many lives were lost but they were not successful,” Robredo said in Filipino.
“Who were successful? One of those is Portugal. What did Portugal do? Portugal found a system to combat drugs that was peaceful and orderly. They reformed their laws; they strengthened rehabilitation [of addicts]; they fixed their institutions responsible for rehabilitating. They were triumphant,” she added.
Inquirer noted that Portugal decriminalized personal possession of drugs in 2001, which meant that those who are caught with drugs for personal use will be punished by fines or community service.
This led to lower drug use levels in Portugal compared to the European average since drug possession was decriminalized, according to the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. The group’s 2015 report added that drug use in the country among 15- to 24-year-olds declined. This led the UK-based group to conclude that decriminalizing personal drug possession “did not cause an increase in levels of drug use.” However, Portugal also implemented social and health reforms to complement their new drug policy.
However, Facebook user Edwin Cruz corrected Locsin about the latter’s false assumption that decriminalization and legalization are the same.
“VP LENI suggested to Pdutz to “decriminalize drug use” and urged him to study what Portugal did. She recieved so much condemnation and disapproval from the produtz bloggers and supporters and some member of the administration,” Cruz said.
“One of them is Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. He accused VP Leni Gerona Robredo of being an IDIOT. He said further to LEGALIZE MURDER while we are at it and rape as well,” he added.
“But here is the thing, VP Leni never said we “LEGALIZE” drug use. She said we “DECRIMINALIZE” drug use. Those are two different words.”
Cruz then went on to define the two words.
“”Decriminalization” is the lessening of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts, perhaps retroactively, though perhaps regulated permits or fines might still apply,” he said.
On the other hand, he added, “”Legalization” on the other hand removes all or most legal detriments from a previously illegal act.”
Cruz, who seemed to be Robredo’s supporter based on his Facebook posts, defended the Vice President by saying that she is not wrong with her suggestion to decriminalize drug use.
“Is VP Leni wrong with her suggestion? The answer is “NO”. In fact several UN agencies, including the World Health Organization Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have promoted decriminalizing drugs for personal use to end the harms of harsh criminal sections,” he said.
He also showed three other countries that showed how decriminalization does not promote drug use – Australia, Netherlands, and The Czech Republic.
Before ending his post, Cruz said, “There you go Mr. Ambassador to the UN. So now who is idiot? You or VP Leni? I wonder if you can say the same thing with your Boss Pdutz?”
See more of Cruz’ post in the link below:
The Economist also differentiated decriminalization from legalization in its blog, “The difference between legalization and decriminalization,” published on June 19, 2014.
“Decriminalisation does not mean that people can use drugs with impunity. Instead it means that possessing small amounts no longer lands the perpetrator with a criminal record or a jail sentence. Under Jamaica’s new law, people caught with up to two ounces (57 grams) of cannabis can be fined, but not arrested or taken to court. Drug users in Portugal can be forced to attend classes aimed at getting them back on the straight and narrow. People found with cannabis in Italy may have their driving licences confiscated. By contrast, legalisation, of the sort enacted in Uruguay and a handful of US states, means that consumers face no penalty at all (unless, for instance, they smoke in public places). More importantly, it means that the supply side of the business—cultivation, transportation and retailing—is also legal. In Jamaica, selling cannabis will remain a crime; in Alaska it will soon be a legitimate, taxable occupation.”
The Economist, though, pointed out that Portugal’s decriminalization has one flaw – it was still unable to address the “criminal monopoly” on the country’s multi-billion dollar drugs industry, where gangs still reign.
Locsin became quite controversial when he made a Hitler comment before Duterte’s own Hitler comparison hit the headlines in 2016.