By By Atty. Romulo P. Atencia
Can Illegal Drugs Still be Contained?
posted 16-Jul-2016  ·  
4,392 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

A doctor laments: “Today, shabu poses a problem as serious, as frightening, as formidable, as any present day issue confronting the Filipino society. How can a country and a system mired in corruption fare against the commerce of drug trade so empowered by its bottomless coffers and consequent political clout? Many powerful nations have succumbed; the fanfares of their drug wars drug muffled, their policies inevitably compromised, shifting from prevention into containment. Sadly, I think the Filipino society confronts an impossible task. The problem is passed prevention. Is containment still possible?” 

********

The proliferation of illegal drugs in the country is staggering. Inquirer.net recently reported the discovery of black bags and boxes containing 180 kilograms of suspected shabu worth close to PhP 1 billion in an abandoned farm in Claveria town in Cagayan province. PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa presented to media all 180 packs each containing 1 kilogram of shabu at Camp Crame in Quezon City. According to him, the shabu packs appear to come from China or Taiwan. This news report was quickly followed by a Philippine Star report updated July 7 about the arrest by PDEA operatives of three Taiwanese nationals and the seizure of more than P1.4 billion worth of shabu, chemicals and laboratory equipment at a clandestine drug laboratory in Las Piñas City and a warehouse in Parañaque.

********

Another news item, this time in the Manila Bulletin, reported that 35 mayors have been fingered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to be players in the illegal drugs trade. Without mentioning names, Duterte said these local chief executives with links to the illegal drugs business cannot pick their chief of police. “I will not assign to you a chief of police of your choice. I would even amend that law… sila sila mismo naglalaro diyan (they are the ones playing there),” said Duterte, who added that he would ask for the amendment of the law giving mayors the operational supervision and control of the police. Republic Act 8551, an act establishing the Philippines National Police under a re-organized Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), gives the mayors the power to direct employment and deployment of units or elements of the PNP through the station commander. Duterte said he would instead assign police officers that would look into the drug activities of local chief executives. “We will not be able to improve this country… let us put a stop to this play,” he told police during the turnover of command at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO). Duterte vowed to arrest high profile and valued drug pushers in the country. “In this fight I put at stake my life, honor, and my presidency. One of us will be sorry – it will be you,” he said referring to politicians into illegal drugs.

********

Even prior to Duterte’s assumption of office, it was reported that a low-ranked policeman has built a house “fit for a general.” This was according to the government agents who arrested the suspect last 25 May 2016 after finding about PhP 7 million in cash and a hefty stash of “shabu” at his well-furnished house in Manila. This person, an antinarcotics officer who reports to the National Capital Region Police Office, was also tagged by the NBI as a “reseller” of drugs that were earlier confiscated in police operations. A Police Officer 2 like him earns about PhP23,000 a month. But his house “looked as if it belonged to a general, not someone of his rank. You’ll be surprised at the high-end furniture”, commented the NBI -National Capital Region deputy chief.

********
After President Duterte’s assumption to office, he accused some police generals of having links with the drug trade. Duterte later sprung a surprise on national television when he named five police generals, including three still in active duty during the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force last week. For his part, Gen. Dela Rosa ordered a surprise drug test of police officers just hours after he officially became the country's top police official. Allegedly, nine (now reportedly eleven) cops tested positive for drug use.  The PNP Chief also announced a thorough revamp of the PNP, particularly zeroing in on policemen from Metro Manila who boast about being "ninjas", recycling illegal drugs. Dela Rosa said that none of the 20 ninja policemen have surrendered so far.  Asked about what he plans to do with the drug-tainted personnel, he said: "I will send them to Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi to fight the Abu Sayyaf."

********

These news reports give us an idea on who the main actors are in this flourishing trade in narcotics. In fine, they are: first, the drug lords who set up, finance and manage the organizations involved; second, the manufacturers and importers (mostly aliens) of illegal drugs; third, the politicians and police officers protecting or are directly involved in illegal drugs activities; and, fourth, couriers or people transporting narcotics to different parts of the country. These are the “big fishes” at whom law enforcers turned a blind eye in the past.

********

There would be no drug users if there are no drugs available. But narcotics proliferate although no drug laboratory has ever been discovered in Catanduanes. Hence, these must come from other places in the mainland like, say, the far-away province of Cagayan where the billion-peso worth of shabu was unearthed. Or from Las Piñas where a drug laboratory was discovered, with suspected Taiwanese chemists collared there. Common sense (which does not seem so common, after all) dictates that there must be a sophisticated way of moving or transporting illegal drugs to this island-province. Rather than concentrate on small fries, local drug enforcers should also go after the big fishes – politicians, high government officials, and police officers involved in illegal drugs. Every drug enforcer worth his salt should know these powerful personalities because one of them has even been reported to have been included in the NBI Order of Battle. The arrest of heavyweights in the local drug trade and their confinement at the BJMP without bail may still convince the common Catandunganon that, yes, containment of the illegal trade in narcotics is still possible.

0 comments
new to catanduanestribune.com?
connect with us to leave a comment.
connect thru
Cancel
Cancel
Cancel
Other Some Random Thoughts articles
home home album photo album blogs blogs