The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte fires Dangerous Drugs Board head for “contradicting” his number of drug users

May 24, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte fired on Wednesday Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Benjamin Reyes for "contradicting" his number of suspected drug users in the country. Duterte said Reyes had cited that there were 1.8 million suspected drug dependents in the country, contradicting his four million estimate. "I would like to put to task publicly this Reyes. You know, five years ago, (Dionisio) Santiago who was the (former) PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) chief gave us a figure of three million. Reyes, the chairman of Dangerous (Drugs) Board, gave the accomplishment of (Director General Ronald) Bato (dela Rosa) of the PNP (Philippine National Police). That's 1.8 (million)," he said. "When I have been telling everybody, everything that there's about four million drug addicts. And here comes a chairman. You're fired today, get out of the service. You do not contradict your own're just a civilian member of a board," Duterte said. "You are not the implementor of the law. The correct count is the police and the PDEA." Duterte has declared an all-out war against illegal drugs. He justified his action by citing  there were four million drug addicts in the country. But Duterte has been criticized locally and internationally for the alleged thousands of extrajudicial killings involving drug suspects. One of his critics was Agnes Callamard, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or abitrary executions, who visited the Philippines last month to attend a forum on drug abuses. During that forum, Reyes was present as he cited a survey in 2015, which the DBB commissioned, showing there were 1.8 million users. He also cited an "intelligence report" suggesting a figure of four million drug users. Duterte insisted Reyes should not cite there were only 1.8 million drug users in the country. (Celerina Monte/DMS)