The drug menace isn’t going away anytime soon but still it is quite alarming to learn that drug dealers are in cahoots with local elected officials and police officers in Cebu especially with the onset of the election season.
That’s the assessment of Ron Ricardo of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) who admitted that while there is still no strong evidence to back up their claim, he cannot discount the possibility of “narcopolitics” thriving in Cebu province.
The figures cannot lie: 12 anti-illegal drug operations in Cebu have netted P20 million worth of drugs that were seized by police and the PDEA just last month. The biggest haul was the nearly one kilo worth of shabu confiscated by police in barangay Mabolo, Cebu City worth P12 million.
The illegal drug situation is considered one of the biggest issues against the Rama administration, which has not declared nor waged a serious campaign against illegal drugs.
In fact, a drug den operated just beside Cebu City Hall and a police substation with some of the city government employees supposedly engaging in pot sessions even during office hours.
Rather than assuaging the fears of his constituents by replacing the incompetent police force there with a more proactive police personnel, suspended Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama chose to transfer the police substation someplace else, claiming that they had been ineffective and that the substation only spoils the view of Cebu City Hall.
That a major drug dealer managed to escape the city police hours before they swooped down on his headquarters only casts a huge shadow of suspicion and doubt over the Cebu City government’s commitment to eradicate the drug menace in the city.
But the war on drugs isn’t just confined to Cebu City, though it is a major battleground. Senior Supt. Clifford Gainarod, Cebu provincial police chief, said there are five towns and two cities—one easily being Cebu City—that are considered hotspots for “narcopolitics.”
What is worse, Gainarod said, is that some police officers themselves are cashing in on the action, as told to him by some mayors and vice mayors. These have yet to be verified, but considering the extent of the operations and the substantial yields of illegal drugs that possibility cannot be easily dismissed.
These reports only serve to further enhance the assessment of Sen. Grace Poe that some lawmakers are raising funds through narcopolitics especially now that they can no longer use their own pork barrel to do so.
That said while the community and police can do much to defang the drug menace, we need to see a more aggressive and proactive campaign led by local officials against it.
We don’t need a Davao Death Squad type to get rid of these drug traffickers—just solid law enforcement and a community that actively campaigns and shields their own against these peddlers of death.
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