Online reporting of drug suspects a dangerous extension of illegal and lethal ‘drug watch lists’

PDEA’s ‘Isumbong Mo kay Wilkins’ Anti-Drug Campaign poses a dangerous call for ordinary people to add on to the government’s unverified drugs watch lists.

These lists are used by the police to get leads for their investigations, at times leading to deadly anti-drug operations.

They are highly unreliable, and only creates a system whereby individuals are placed under perpetual surveillance.

“Amnesty research highlighted how drug watch lists may be manufactured as these were generally obtained outside any legal process. Compiling drug watch lists without any legal basis is unjustifiable, irresponsible and illegal. Names could be added arbitrarily, for example, because of personal vendetta or because the police receive incentives for killing more individuals on the lists. Amnesty research also showed how it is essentially impossible for names to be expunged from these illegitimate lists. People named on these lists continue to experience crippling fear and uncertainty even after they have gone through the motions required by the government’s anti-drug policy, including ‘graduating’ from community programs.

“The kind of police work that PDEA is promoting is lazy and unacceptable. PDEA Chief Wilkins Villanueva should instead ensure that all ‘war on drugs’ activities are subject to independent oversight to uphold police accountability, including for the thousands of killings and other violations committed in the past. His anti-drug campaign must not fuel the culture of impunity, and prove that under his watch, Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ will not be a war against the poor.”