Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said this Thursday that the bill that proposes to decriminalize or no longer impose prison sentences on those caught using illegal drugs in the country must first be carefully examined.
In an interview with GMA News’ Unang Balita this Thursday, it was said that such a proposal promoted by Senator Robin Padilla was recently discussed in a committee hearing in the Senate.
According to Dela Rosa, he was the former author of the proposal. But because of the comments he heard from the authorities, the senator said that it is necessary to study the impact carefully it will have.
“Una, talagang I am the author of the bill. Ako mismo ang gumawa niyan at gusto ko talaga dahil sa kasagsagan ng ating war on drugs nakita natin na punong-puno na ang ating kulungan dahil sa mga drug offences,”said dela Rosa.
“So, in order to decongest itong mga kulungan, sabi natin i-decriminalize na lang ‘yan dahil ‘yon naman mga rehabilitation centers natin ay hindi napupuno. At saka we consider that drug addiction is not more of a law enforcement problem but more of a health problem. So, ‘yun ang nagiging thinking natin noon,” he added.
This Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs held a hearing on establishing drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers where the decriminalization of illegal drug users was discussed.
Scrutinize proposal decriminalizing use of illegal drugs – Dela Rosa
But according to Dela Rosa, the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, National Bureau of Investigation and Dangerous Drugs Board strongly opposed the bill.
According to him, the law enforcement agencies also said that the proposed law could send a wrong signal to the youth, so it should be carefully discussed first.
“Pero ngayon nu’ng narinig ko rin ang side ng law enforcement kagaya ng PNP, PDEA, NBI at Dangerous Drugs Board during the hearing, narinig ko ang kanilang side, malakas ang kanilang opposition, ayaw na ayaw nila dahil it will send daw wrong signal du’n sa ating mga kabataan na ‘it’s okay to use drugs’ kasi hindi ka pala makukulong i-rehab ka lang,” said Dela Rosa.
“So, ‘yung hearing na ‘yun aking sinuspend muna at sabi ko mag-hearing tayo ulit dahil mabigat na talakayan dito para we will come up a very good piece of legislation. Hindi ‘yung mamadaliin natin, pag-usapan muna natin ito,” he added.
Meanwhile, the senator also mentioned that the Department of Health (DOH) supports decriminalization because it considers the use of illegal drugs a health problem.