TURNING POINT: The Moromoro War on Drugs

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/ 29 Oct) – The guy at the bottom of the Bureau of Customs totem pole is ordered arrested by the CEO of the republic for singing  a top tune on  corruption at high level involving P11 billion worth of shabu.  Why only order the immediate arrest of whistle blower Jimmy Guban, and exempt disgraced Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Dep. Dir. Ismael Fajardo and former Philippine National Police Senior Superintendent Eduard Acierto, when all three former drug enforcers comprised the triumvirate that facilitate accordingly  the entry of tons of illegal drugs into the country?

Have we not been repeatedly told that just a whiff of corruption would send heads rolling down? Now came a horrible stench. Why was its existence being immediately denied by the primus crime fighter notwithstanding the findings of the PDEA, the agency entrusted by the government to sniff, hunt and pursue the scent of illegal drugs?

And wonder of all wonders, why is the guy who was sleeping on his watch being promoted to a cabinet position instead of being sacked for incompetence and infidelity to his job and responsibility?

Rewarding mediocrity is a stinging slap to the government merit system where rewards are only dispensed to civil servants in recognition of defining  performance and achievements on the job. We might as well abolish the Civil Service Commission if we regress to rewarding lapdog loyalty, omerta and padrino – the reward system in gangland culture.

Commissioner Lapeᾔa is awed by his miraculous salvation. Naturally, he is expected to be eternally grateful to his savior. But nowadays a lot of people are saying there is no forever. The unreliable flip-flopping ex- BOC commissioner may yet do a somersault and spill the beans in the act.

Meanwhile, PDEA  Chief Aaron Aquino vowed to follow the scent of the P11B shabu wherever it may lead encouraged by the affirmation of  Lapeᾔa on  the existence of the illegal drug in the controversial magnetic lifters. Aquino ought to walk his talk. He must give undivided focus and attention to the smugglers, drug lords and their protectors no matter who they are. Indeed, once you disable the source, supply is cut and the shabu distribution and the bloody purge of petty pushers and users throughout the land may yet end.

But as of now, the tons of missing shabu may have already flooded the streets, the highways and  byways and nooks of the archipelago. The daily spilling of the blood of petty shabu sachet pushers and users especially in urban centers may thus continue to grab media attention for some time.

The war on illegal drugs and corruption has been the centerpiece program of the Duterte administration, the campaign promise that titillated the nation and tipped the 2016 presidential election to RRD’s favor. As early as November 2016, PRRD titillated again the Filipino people with a claim of a drug matrix that included generals, lawmakers, local chief executives and other personalities. The public was made to believe that the war on drugs would already take higher grounds. But, nah, no general or bigtime drug lord was ever dragged to court and jailed. Only one politician was hauled to prison – enemy No.1 Sen. Leila de Lima, the irrepressible critic of the President on human rights violations as early as her stint as Commission on Human Rights chairperson, particularly on  the Duterte Death Squad, when Pres. Duterte  was still  mayor of Davao City.

Nothing of consequence followed after that.

Drugs sap the morale and vitality of the nation. The drug lords, their allies and protectors are far worse enemy of the state than the terrorists in the south or elsewhere in the country. Whereas the terrorists are generally territorial, the drug warlords and their foot soldiers are sowing havoc and wrecking lives everywhere.

What is really holding back the President up to this time from destroying the matrix? Why can’t he launch an honest to goodness war to finish off the vicious enemy of the state?

Guban, Fajardo and Acierto were reportedly in the President’s matrix. Why were they still allowed to operate when their trade was already known to him?  The inaction, the failure to disable them worsens the narco condition of the country and reduces the war on drugs to a moromoro.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines)