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De Lima says PDEA use of Facebook ‘dangerous’

By Mario Casayuran

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima today warned that the use by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) of Facebook page for its anti-illegal drug campaign is even more dangerous to the ordinary man than previous strategies to stamp out multi-billion-peso illegal drugs operations in the country.

Senator Leila de Lima (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Senator Leila de Lima (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Simply put, it’s a license to destroy one’s reputation and personal security, and it makes the task much easier now because the informants are afforded with a veil of protection—sponsored by the government no less,’’ de Lima said.

De Lima lamented that while the rest of the country is busy dealing with the pandemic, ‘’the infamous drug war hardly missed a beat as at least 50 drug-related killings have been recorded since March 15.’’

“To compound the problem, PDEA Director(-General) Wilkins Villanueva recently announced that they had now created a Facebook page named “Isumbong mo kay Wilkins” aimed at providing a more accessible venue for informants to report alleged illegal drug activities,’’ she said.

“In an obvious bid to recycle the failed Masa Masid program of the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government), PDEA this time encourages tipsters to report suspicious drug personalities via their newly-minted Facebook page or through dedicated 24/7 hotline numbers,’’ she added.

De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center for alleged illegal drugs-related charges for the past three years.

She is also barred from attending Senate hearings even through the teleconferencing mode.

“On its face, PDEA’s initiative is even more dangerous than its predecessor precisely because the main mechanism for reporting has been moved online. In the wake of a massive surge of fake accounts on Facebook coupled with the lack of regulations on account creation and verification, we can imagine a corresponding spike in the surreptitious and malicious tagging of just any person as a drug personality, whether real or fake, and for whatever reason,’’ she said.

“Simply put, it’s a license to destroy one’s reputation and personal security, and it makes the task much easier now because the informants are afforded with a veil of protection—sponsored by the government no less. Cases such as mine—completely fabricated and bogus—are sure to multiply with such an ill-conceived program,’’ she added.

“Let me remind the public that Mr. Duterte was granted a whopping ₱4.5 Billion in confidential and intelligence funds for 2020, while the PDEA was given ₱500 Million in confidential funds; billions more were allocated to the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) and PNP,’’ she stressed.

“Why then should the government resort once again to this sort of inanity and tomfoolery that can most definitely endanger thousands of Filipinos. Is this the extent of the PDEA’s imagination?’’ she asked.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/06/20/de-lima-says-pdea-use-of-facebook-dangerous/)

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