Duterte’s revulsion towards drugs

President Rodrigo Duterte

Actually it is not only President Rodrigo Duterte who loathes the seemingly endless proliferation of drugs in the country.

The over 6 million people that made a big difference in his winning the presidency and the many more that supported also abhors the extent that illegal drug is being distributed and/or used in this country.

What is even more alarming and disturbing are the involvement of some generals, police other government officials in the illegal drug trades as he has pointed out.

Some eyebrows may have been raised when Duterte asked for another year to combat the drug menace in the country, this, after failing to keep up with his promise to eliminate it in six months after getting elected, and again being unable to contain it after an extension of another six months.

But is this a measure of an unsuccessful campaign on Duterte’s war against drugs?

For many who have seen the repercussions of drug use and the intelligence reports Duterte has been getting about the illegal drug trade in the country, I think the consensus is that the president is right is his assessment of the magnitude of the drug problem in this country and is the reason why he signed a memorandum allowing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to participate anew in the government’s drug war.

So it cannot be said, therefore, that Duterte has failed in his war on drugs, but the fact is that a continuity of the relentless campaign is needed involving a greater number of anti-illegal drugs personnel to prevent the resurgence of the menace.

Duterte was right in listening to the clamor of the public that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) shall take over from the PNP the anti-illegal drugs operation because of the extrajudicial killings brouhaha, but the agency’s inferior number simply rendered them inadequate to be at the critical place in the most opportune time.

What was happening though is that while there may not have been any killing, the proportion of crime committed and illegal drug trade increased.

Thus, Duterte has ordered the PNP to return to the government’s war on illegal drugs but in a supporting role, with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) keeping the lead overall in the campaign.

Not only that. Other law enforcement agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Postal Corporation were also directed to provide support to the PDEA in the conduct of the anti-narcotics campaign.

In a statement, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said:“The President recognizes the significant strides PDEA has made in the government’s anti-illegal campaign but it has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents and operatives who can penetrate drug-infected areas down to the municipal and barangay levels.”

Indeed, this is a welcome development that will surely make an impact in Duterte’s one year appeal to stamp out the drug menace in the country.

 

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Shelve barangay elections or appoint barangay officials

President Rodrigo Duterte

Once more the country faces a dilemma on whether or not the barangay elections are to proceed in October this year after it has been postponed in October 2016.

If the decision were left to ordinary politicians, and more so those belonging to the opposition, definitely the clamor to proceed is deafening as it has been today for the simple reason that the voters have already been deprived of their rights to choose their leaders.

Unfortunately the traditional politicians mentioned above have to contend with somebody who is not only an unconventional politician but the president of the country who knows whereof he speaks because he has the voluminous intelligence reports in his possession that potentially show the danger of his determined war against illegal drugs being derailed and jeopardized.

The stark difference between the arguments of those advocating for the holding of elections in October 2017 and the reservations made by President Rodrigo Duterte against it is that while the typical politicians only think about the rights of the voters, Duterte has the welfare of the country and well-being of the Filipino people foremost in his mind, which is to say a long term commitment of his presidency that he wants to see succeeding.

Duterte could not have been more emphatic in his resolve to win his war against illegal drug as when he gave a speech recently before the first general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines saying that he did not want the barangay elections held this year due to the purported influence of drug money in the elections.

His statement was simply a reverberation of what he has been telling everybody during his visits all over the country, saying, “Narco-politics has entered the mainstream of Philippine politics.”

It is in this frightening backdrop that President Duterte wishes that a law be created giving him the mandate to appoint the over 42,000 barangay officials nationwide instead of having them elected in October as scheduled.

In as much as Duterte has in his possession the verified information about the deep-rooted involvement in illegal drugs of many barangay officials then it is only right and just that he be given the authority to appoint those unsullied and exemplary individuals to head the barangays if only to insure that, like illegal drug trades, corruption and criminality will also be stopped.

This exceptional mandate could only redound to the benefit of the country and the Filipino people.