AN irate Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group director Brigadier General Romeo M. Caramat Jr. yesterday lashed out at a Reuters’ report which quoted him as saying that the Philippine government’s drug war is a failure.
“I am asking Reuters to produce any tape recording or a video of me telling them that the government’s war is a total failure. This is truly absurd and I vehemently deny that I have spoken to any reporter and told him or her that the war on drugs is a failure,” the official said.
PNP chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa also defended Caramat, the head of the PNP’s premier anti-narcotics unit which since October last year have already accounted for nearly P3.4 billion worth of shabu as a result of eight major anti-narcotics operations in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Caramat said he was grossly misquoted by Reuters and would rebut the wire agency’s report point-by-point given the chance by the agency. “This is a classic case of putting words into my mouth. I have never said those words and this is very unfair to me,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992 said.
Reuters’ quoted Caramat as saying that “ultra-violent approach to curbing illicit drugs had not been effective.” “Shock and awe definitely did not work. “Drug supply is still rampant.” Those were the words which Caramat reportedly told the agency.
However, Caramat vehemently denied saying those words.
“They put words into my mouth, they gave another meaning to what I have said and made it appear that I am criticizing the government although I am not. I am not that kind of fool who will criticize the actions I have been doing which is go after drug lords and their ilk. This is really unfair,” he said.
The PNP-DEG director challenged Reuters’ to prove he had said the words they attributed to him, or else retract their story.
Gamboa has ordered the PNP-DEG to go after known ‘high-value targets’ or HVTs in the country amid their huge success in accounting for nearly P3.4 billion worth of shabu since October 2019.
The last major sting conducted by the PNP-DEG was in Imus, Cavite last December 28 leading to the confiscation of some five kilograms of shabu worth P34 million.
Since Gen. Gamboa was designated as PNP Officer-in-Charge last October, the PNP-DEG had already conducted eight positive anti-drug operations, the biggest of which was last November 26, the day PNP-DEG operatives confiscated some P2.6 billion worth of shabu.
The others are the following: October 17: 100 grams of shabu worth P680,000; October 25: 200 grams of shabu worth P4.420 million; November 4: six kilos of shabu worth P40.8 million; November 27: 17 kilograms of shabu valued at P116 million; November 30: 67 kilos of shabu worth nearly P456 million; and December 4: around P3.060 million worth of shabu.