By: Elena Grace Flores
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he did not have all the data pertaining to the illegal drugs problem in the country. That he needs an extension on his self-imposed 3 to 6 motnhs deadline.
During the campaign period and when he assumed office last June 30, Duterte vowed to solve the drug menace within six months in his administration. That hardline campaign against illegal drugs and other forms of criminality catapulted him to power. More than 16 million Filipino people voted for him because of his anti-illegal drug and anti-criminality campaign promise.
Now, barely three months in office, Duterte acknowledged the widespread proliferation of the illegal drug trade in the country. He said that he was shocked to know its extent that even people in government are involved in it.
The President said his self-imposed deadline of six months is too short. Officials said there about 4 millions drug users in the country. Well, you have six years to clean this Republic of illegal drugs, Mr. President. That is, if you can survive. So remove that “self-imposed deadline.”
Another list of government officials composed of some 1,000 personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade is now in the hands of the chief executive. He said that even if he decides to kill these people he cannot kill them all.
Public Officials are Involved
Most of those involved are barangay officials and policemen who are conniving or extending assistance to drug lords for personal gain. There are even politicians who are really into the illegal drug business.
Easy Money Attracts People
Well, we know already that the illegal drug trade is a multi-billion-peso industry and a very lucrative business. Though very “delicate,” it is a very tempting business because it gives easy money.
Look at those known drug lords like the late Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, Kerwin Espinosa and Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro. They started only as street pushers but became millionaires after a few years of operation. Those who are already millionaires are still into it and are raking more money.
Following the aggressive anti-drug campaign and the launching of “Oplan Tokhang,” close to one million surrenderees have surfaced all over the country and only 3,000 drug personalities got killed in either legitimate police operations or vigilante-style killings.
Achievement or a Menace?
But this is already phenomenal and an achievement of the Duterte administration. We would not have seen this in a Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas or Grace Poe presidency. He boasted that if he did not become the president, the problem will continue in the same magitude.
Imagine even drugs convicts who are serving their prison terms at the National Penitentiary and whose movements are being restricted are still able to do their illegal drug trade inside. This situation is very prevalent in all jails all over the country. And why this is happening? Because of corruption that even jail officials are involved.
National Bilibid Prison
The testimony of convicted drug lord Herbert Colangco in yesterday’s hearing at the House committee investigating the alleged involvement of then justice secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima in the illegal drug trade is quite revealing. Granting that it was true, imagine a Cabinet official who had a political ambition will do that kind of shenanigan.
Accusing the Rival
Colangco, who is serving a jail term at the National Bilibid Prison, told committee members how he and other prison leaders were tapped by de Lima to raise funds for her senatorial bid. And the funds they raised were proceeds of the illegal drugs they peddled inside and outside of the national prison.
The intelligence reports gathered that drugs supplies came from Munti were indeed true. So, how can we control the proliferation of illegal drugs when some of our “big shots” in the government like a Cabinet member, police officials, government employees and politicians are into it?
Killings cannot sove the Problem
Fighting illegal drugs is everybody’s concern. It cannot be solved through killings. Even if all drug lords are killed tomorrow, new ones will take their place. Well, Duterte’s approach to deal with the problem is just part of the “cleansing” process but is not the ultimate solution to it.