By Erik Espina
Previous administrations were unmindful of the creeping damage to society and the danger to the republic due to the spike of illegal narcotics entering the country. It took a person of President DU30’s caliber to expose the peril confronted by every Filipino family, as well, governance cascading into “narco-politics.” A declaration of policy regarding drugs being officially listed a “national security threat” as pre-cursor to the street — level engagement, would have further elevated the campaign as one of “whole nation,” raising the alarm for civil, political, and cultural consciousness. An expansive challenge not limited to law-enforcement. A previous column, prior the presidential elections suggested this.
Reverting the main effort combatting drugs to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) favors public perception that the Palace is sensitive to the legal requirements under RA 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act 2002, Section 22 regarding the requirement for a representative from media, DOJ, and any elected public official during drug raids, etc., and amended by RA 10640 on the custody and dispensation of confiscated and seized dangerous drugs, laboratory equipment, etc.
The police, with PDEA as lead agency, may still be tapped to augment buy-bust operations, especially in serving warrants in dangerous communities. Bringing the fight to Customs is another diagnosis hitting the nail on the head. Malacañang is cognizant that drug smugglers have become smarter, by taking the easier route of bribing Customs directly to facilitate entry of their “stuff.”
Enterprising drug-suppliers realized that if the Bureau could be “persuaded” to turn a blind-eye to rich business paying exact duties and taxes, it was a small step to include drugs in the pervasive scheme of corruption – for a higher price.
Another approach is creating the Barangay Anti-Drug Unit (BAD-U) and the Pook Drug Watchers (PDW), deputized PDEA eyes, ears, and nose against suspicious persons and activities. Case build-up with suspension must be the norm against politicians entangled with drugs. Drug tests may be filed in schools, with parental consent. Remember the execution of Lim Seng by firing squad during Marcos administration? The people, including the “fist-pumping masa” (common folk), saw this as a clear message, an example against foreign vendors, shabu laboratory chemists, National Bilibid VIPs, plus China drug summit/rapprochement.
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