This ‘drug-cleared barangays’ brouhaha

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc May 10,2018 - 08:30 PM


Asincere barangay captain narrated to me his assessment of President Rodrigo Duterete’s war on drugs. He said he is happy because the drug problem in his barangay has reduced since Duterte became the president.

He admitted, however, that the drug menace has not been totally eradicated. There are still many users and pushers in his barangay, but not as many and as active before Duterte came to power.

He observed that there are still those who continue selling drugs secretly unlike before where it was sold like ordinary goods by untouchables. He also noticed that there are some drug surrenderers who went back to their old vices when they observed that police operations abated.

He said that honestly he wants the police to continue conducting more anti-drug operations in his barangay to totally solve the problem. He knows the capabilities of those involved in drugs to fight against the fully-armed authorities. Hence, he acknowledges that he needs the police because it cannot be done by his unarmed barangay tanods alone.

Recently, however, his plan of inviting the police to conduct more anti-drug operations poses a problem because a high ranking government official asked him to sign a piece of document that would be instrumental for his barangay to be declared as drug-cleared. He said that he is in a dilemma.
He is aware that one of the requisites to be declared as drug-cleared is the absence of users and pushers in his barangay. If he signs the said document that means that he’s lying to himself and to his constituents.

Such lie is clear enough to be noticed by his constituents who have personal knowledge. He is bothered that he would be scolded or even made as laughingstock by his very own supporters.

On the other hand, if he does not accommodate the high ranking official’s request, he might be facing the consequences. He is fully aware that in politics it’s not easy to anger or offend politically-powerful person.

How many sincere barangay captains have come across the same dilemma? Are true public servants used as sacrificial lambs over a highly and glaringly questionable recognition?

With PDEA and CPADAO’s efforts of declaring the barangays in Cebu as drug-cleared it is unavoidable that there are questions that ordinary citizens could raise, to wit: what is really their interest? What is really their basis?

Who is really concerned of or desperate for recognition? Is it not purposely done to make it appear that they are working? Is it not done to make a cover-up? What about the timing of the declaration which is during the campaign period?

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TAGS: barangays, brouhaha, cleared, drug, this

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