The rule of law must always serve as the “benchmark” in prosecuting suspected drug personalities, a United States official has reminded the Philippines, whose government is conducting an intensified campaign against illegal drugs.
Upon his visit in Manila, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Undersecretary and Counterterrorism Coordinator David J. Glawe has met with senior Philippine officials, including Philippine Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
In an interview with reporters on Friday, March 2, Glawe said he discussed with Aguirre a wide range of security issues, including drug menace.
“We did talk about the importance of the rule of law…The benchmark of the U.S. law enforcement is the U.S. Constitution,” Glawe said.
While acknowledging that the threats of narcotics must be addressed, the U.S. official emphasized that the rule of law must always be placed in the forefront of the anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Glawe, also a former Houston police officer and special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), pointed out that simply “attacking the supply” side of the narcotics problem “without addressing the demand” portion of it would be a failed tack.
“I understand the challenges [posed by] criminal organizations and narcotics trafficking. It’s very difficult. But the rule of law always has to be in place when enforcing the law,” he added.
The U.S., a decades-long Philippine ally, is one of the countries that expressed concern over the thousands of alleged of extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses linked to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “bloody” drug war.
The U.S. official noted: “When we partner with other countries, we also partner in [the implementation of the] rule of law and the humane treatment of people, and that’s the benchmark of the U.S. law enforcement.”
Glawe reiterated that the U.S. government is “absolutely 100 percent for the rule law.”
“That means adhering to search warrants, arrest warrants and due process for people arrested,” he added.
Apart from narcotics, the issues of human smuggling, child exploitation, and the global fight against terrorism were also discussed during the meeting. (Dana Sioson/AJPress)