Espinedo is Duterte’s lethal weapon against drug lords

 

Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espinedo and President Rodrigo Duterte

“Your next assignment is Iloilo,” President Rodrigo Duterte Duterte said after Ozamiz police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido was conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu award during the National Heroes Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

With this words and ominous warning perhaps, if you may, Duterte no doubt has serve Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog notice to shape up and clean his city of illegal drugs so he could clear his name among the mayors in Duterte’s ‘narco-list’.

It must be remembered that Duterte has called Iloilo the “most shabulized” province in the country.

For Mabilog what is important to remember also is that the latest award conferred by Duterte on Espinedo is the third that he has received this month, a confirmation of the President’s support for his  accomplishments in the war on drugs.

There is no need to specify anymore what Espinedo’s accomplishments are. Suffice to say that the bemedalled police inspector’s transfer to Iloilo comes after two mayors linked to the illegal drug trade were killed in separate police operations where he was chief of police.

Who can ever forget the controversial killing of Albuera City Mayor Rolando Epinosa Sr. while in detention at the Baybay City jail on November 2016?

With Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others killed in a July 30 shootout after being served search warrants at the Parojinog’s properties for their illegal activities, who can now question that Espinedo is indeed Duterte’s lethal weapon against drug lords?

Thus, it was only proper and sensible that Mayor Mabilog welcomed the announcement of Chief Inspector Espenido’s new assignment, saying he looks forward to working “side by side” with the police official in addressing the illegal drug trade in the region.

Espinedo on his part said that Mayor Mabilog has nothing to fear and all he is asking is for the mayor to cooperate. He is even advising the latter to surrender if indeed he is what he is – a drug lord.

“He should cooperate what he is willing to cooperate so that his name would be removed from the list of narco-politicians, which is for the best. We are pro-life. Look at my record.”

Pro-life, indeed, for Espinedo is a preacher in his church Seventh Day Adventist.

But in asking Mabilog to look at Espinedo’s record, the former has to think twice as hard choosing which record is it that he has to be concerned most about – his record as a preacher or his record as a police officer.

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Duterte’s first year in office

 

I have lived long enough to see presidents come and go in this country but I have never seen the likes of President Rodrigo Duterte who hit the ground running at a considerable speed upon assumption of office.

While Duterte may have been ready with his administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda that included among other things the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices and family planning, he, however, entrusted the execution of all these to his social and economic mangers while he took it upon himself to lead his much vaunted campaign promise to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs , corruption and criminality.

As an unconventional politician whose approach to solving problem has been described as ‘out-of-the-box’, not to mention the colorful language he uses especially when piqued, is what has endeared him to the Filipinos which is why he was overwhelmingly voted to the presidency.

I am not going to discuss here Duterte’s defining moments individually which includes among other things his running after and eventually putting Sen. Leila de Lima in police custody for using drug money to finance her senatorial bid, his alleged killings and human rights violation stemming from his bloody war on drugs that has been harshly criticize here and abroad by international human rights agencies and advocates, his antagonistic stance towards the U.S., his shift from a U.S. dictated foreign policy to an independent foreign policy, his open arms policy towards China despite the latter’s incursion and militarization of the West Philippine Sea, his diplomatic sortie to Russia, and last but not least of his controversial decisions is the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

For me what is important in Duterte’s 365 days in office is putting into context how the country and the Filipino people are today having Duterte as our president.

I do not know about you, but it makes me wonder, if not guessing, how it would have been for the Philippines and the Filipinos had we had Roxas, Poe or Binay as the president.

Knowing what we know now about the wide-ranging prevalence and gravity of illegal drug use in the country, could any of the other presidential aspirants, had they won, had the political will or the gumption to declare war against it, as Duterte has done, knowing that you are up against ruffians and monsters?

Could they have had the guts to discover and say that we are now a narco-political country?

Would talking to just the MILF, passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law and establishing a new autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, prevented the Islamic State-inspired Maute group from storming and creating havoc in Marawi City.

Would they have the potency to declare martial law?

Perhaps Divine Providence determined the course that Duterte be president, warts and all, for he has what it takes to lead and fight for the Filipinos in preserving the integrity of the country and having it respected.

This in essence is what is Duterte’s presidency about one year after and in the next 5 years, God willing.

 

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.

MEP’s meddling an utter rudeness

 

The European Parliament

I am actually referring to the arrogance and brazenness of some Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who are meddling in the political affairs of the Philippines, a sovereign country at that, by filing a resolution calling for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima and quashing the drug charges against her.

If this is not a blatant show of superiority complex, I don’t know how else to interpret it.

Let me just qualify what I mean by superiority complex. Surely, it is not about intellectual superiority, nor in terms of integrity and morality, but this pompous and imperious bunch of people think they belong to a superior race because they come from a much developed country and they are white.

That is all there is to it and they think that because they are the high and mighty, that they have the ascendancy, the authority, nay, the ‘sovereign obligation’, to bully and lecture us about justice.

Justice my ass! Justice for de Lima?

But of course justice has been done, and where she finds herself now is the kind of justice that she deserves.

And they don’t have to worry about her safety. She definitely is in good hands. She has to be because the Filipino people would really like to see how the de Lima saga ends, if only to prove that indeed she was deeply entrenched in the drug activities.

This bunch of swaggering and pontificating MEPs think that it was all the time fine and dandy and much better in the Philippines before Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte got voted to the presidency.

I am sure de Lima saw what was coming to her after she won a slot in the senatorial race allegedly with the help of drug money, and seeing, too, that Duterte captured the presidency.

De Lima must have felt sorry in hindsight that she was not able to gather enough evidence to prove that Duterte was behind the much ballyhooed killings in Davao while the latter was the mayor and the former as chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and thence Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

What de Lima is getting is payback time from Duterte, after what he went through being falsely accused and humiliated by her.

Now the table is turned against de Lima and for the information of the MEPs, this is a welcome development for the country.

Duterte’s relentless and bloody war against illegal drugs, not to mention criminality and corruption, is giving most Filipinos hope that under his leadership the Philippines will grow and develop faster.

In fact Duterte’s brand of leadership for many is a breath of fresh air, even with the alleged extrajudicial killings brouhaha, but, unfortunately, the meddling of the MEPs is fouling the atmosphere somehow.

 

Robredo’s “palit-ulo” allegations

 

Vice President Leni Robredo

It is unfortunate, if not saddening, that Vice President Leni Robredo, a lawyer, has gone down to the gutter-level of attacking and debasing President Rodrigo Duterte about some serious allegation which has still to be proven by her.

While Duterte has recently absolved Robredo of being a party to a destabilization campaign being waged against him, the fact remains, however, that the vice president is spearheading the opposition group that is very vocal against the president’s bloody war on illegal drugs that has cost thousands of lives already.

It is in this context that Robredo newly and publicly revealed a new heinous scheme called “palit-ulo”, literally translated as “exchange heads/swap heads”, being employed by the government operatives in the slums or poverty-stricken areas when searching for persons of interest involved in illegal drugs.

Robredo elaborated this by completing the story, saying, “They (communities) told us of the ‘palit-ulo’ scheme which means ‘exchange heads’ where the wife, husband or relative in a so-called drug list will be taken if the person himself could not be found.”

This unconfirmed and unsubstantiated story, while prejudicial and damaging to President Duterte, has actually been recorded and scheduled to be played at the 60th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria.

Robredo’s message obviously did not sit well with Malacañang as Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella immediately issued the following statements:

“Eight months into our campaign against illegal drugs, Vice President Robredo, suddenly refers to an alleged ‘palit-ulo’ scheme – which she mistakenly describes as substituting a relative for a missing drug personality.”

“While she has the right to speak freely on matters of public concern, she also has the responsibility to be careful with her statements especially avoiding unfounded allegations from questionable sources.”

While Abella admits the existence of a “palit-ulo scheme”, he explained, however, that this game plan involves “a commitment of a drug suspect to provide assistance in the arrest of a ‘bigger fish’ in the illegal drug syndicate”, which could earn the former a plea for lighter charges.

That is all there is to it, but having said that, Robredo has still to justify or prove that indeed an actual swapping of heads occurred.

Now I am wondering if Bongbong Marcos would have been a better vice president.

Plunder with impunity and rape deserve the death penalty

hb-4727I could only describe as self-serving the decision of some members of Congress to exclude plunder and rape, and even treason, in the controversial House Bill (HB) 4727 which seeks to restore the death penalty in the country.

But I am more bothered about the exclusion of plunder and rape.

It must be remembered that the original version of HB 4727 originally listed 21 crimes punishable by death. It was reported that the congressmen later agreed to remove plunder, rape, treason and other heinous offenses following several caucuses by the so called super majority bloc leaving the much talked about crime of illegal drugs as the sole monstrous offense deserving of death penalty.

Yes, illegal drugs destroy the future, if not the lives of people, but don’t plunder, especially if done with impunity, rape, murder, treason, kidnapping, and the likes, also ravages the dreams, the aspirations, the future and practically the lives of people?

The gall of these politicians again to fool the Filipino people!

Plunder is a crime more associated with politicians than any other group of people in our society and it is always committed with impunity and to the very people these bastards have been sworn to serve and protect.

If lady justice could only have turned her wheels faster I am sure we would have been seeing a lot more of politicians the likes of former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and the latest, incumbent Sen. Leila de Lima, following their footsteps leading to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center because of plunder associated with the pork barrel and drug money scam.

It does not surprise me therefore that, while the lawmakers should have only proposed the exclusion of plunder, they also have to recommend the forbiddance of rape, treason, etc., so it may not appear that they are being subjective and biased for their own selfish motives.

These politicians/lawmakers who are working hard for a watered-down version of HB 4727 should remember Abraham Lincoln’s famous saying: “You can fool part of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.”

 

Duterte changes tack on war on illegal drugs

 

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

It looks like the kidnapping, in the guise of anti-drug war, that led to the brutal murder of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joon and eventually the disappearance of his ashes, which was reportedly flushed in one of the toilets in the crematorium, has made President Rodrigo Duterte realize that his war on drugs, violent that it has become, is not going anywhere and far from being a success.

It will be noted that Duterte promised the Filipino people that he will eradicate illegal drugs in the country in six months of his presidency.

Well, it was not as if Duterte did not make a difference in his war against drug, but it has dawned on him now that the enormity and monstrosity of the problem made worse by the complicity of rogue and corrupt members of the police force in all ranks of the hierarchy is making his efforts futile at best, and at worst an avenue for political and public condemnation.

“You policemen are the most corrupt. You are corrupt to the core. It’s in your system,” the enraged Duterte said.

This being the dismal picture of police scalawags sustaining the drug proliferation instead of preventing it from becoming a plague in our society, it is only fitting and proper that Duterte has to change tact in his war against drug by declaring war first against police criminals existing in the Philippine National Police (PNP) organization.

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa echoed Duterte’s sentiments when he issued the following statement to his people, saying: “We have to focus our efforts towards internal cleansing … and by the time we have cleansed the PNP, the President will determine that and instruct us to go back (to) the war on drugs.”

Needless to say that the existence of illegal drugs and the presence of corrupt policemen is a recipe for failure if one has to wage war against the former.

Hopefully Duterte’s change of tact on his war against illegal drugs also changes his perception about giving support and protection to cops involved in the killings believing them to be truthful, like in the case of the murder of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in his cell at the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail, which has been thought by many as a rubout, but which Duterte assured the operatives involved that they won’t go to jail.

It is not too late to change tack. In fact it is a welcome move, a humbling move on the part of Duterte, to recognize and acknowledge that there is another direction to take and a better way to carry on the war on drug to success without generating much controversy.