On July 12, 2016, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) incinerated illegal drugs worth 1.77 billion pesos in Aguado Trece Martirez Cavite.
When the illegal drugs reached that cremation stage, it is as if one snuffs out the roots of all evil. That finishes its long menacing career in a bloody war that wrought destruction to society, unless of course, new batches of them borne out again.
This would come as a rosy scenario. This is what President Duterte is gung-ho about. And it should be done consistently in regular interval.
If this first drug cremation under Detente’s watch is not just to impress, well and good. If the time comes where there’re not any more illegal drugs to be burned, that’s even better.
But, of course, that’s after when all the illegal drug operations in the country had been suppressed or decimated. When all the big time drug lords and pushers had been either jailed or killed. When all users who surrendered had been rehabilitated.
That can be a tall order, actually. One has to strike a balance: That while relentlessly pursuing the drug eradication, the pursuer must be cognizant of the constitutional rights of their target. In the actual battle; error, lapses, a mistake could be committed. That presented a dilemma of infringing the victim’s right: in most cases the small time pusher or user.
However, the other side of the coin is the bloody war against drug raised the level of fear that resulted in droves of those who surrendered, 85,000 as of the last count. The actual drug menace revealed the stark reality of its ugly face, the danger it presented to the microcosm character of the nation. And it came right in time when addressing the problem is not too late.
As one observed the spate of killing related to drugs, curious watchers noticed that there seems to be twin operation going on. One conducted by the legitimate operatives, and the other by the vigilante group. The vigilante group purportedly does most of the “extrajudicial killing.” One can recognize its signature by having the victim’s body carton wrapped, lettered with the admonition: “Don’t copy. I am a pusher.”
What’s more intriguing as the news would tell it, is that those killed have the record of drug pushing and involved in petty crimes, too.
During the campaign Duterte said, he can solve the drug problem in 6 months. Many howled in disbelief. People said it’s impossible. Then, there appeared on Facebook the illustration on how the drug problem can be suppressed not stop (changing Duterte’s terminology here) in 6 months.
Duterte would issue an Executive Order instructing the Mayors and Barangay Officials, identified and make a list of all those in their respective constituencies who are the drug lords, the pushers, and the users. If the Mayors refused to comply, they can be construed as drug protector, or the drug lord themselves.
The list would then be forwarded to the precinct level, upward to municipal, and provincial level to do an evaluation, investigation, and validation with the help of police assets on the ground. Then the order of battle would be prepared. And finally, it’s execution.
In Duterte’s numerous speeches during the campaign and until now that he is already the president, he has been insinuating, as if soliciting help from the New People’s Army to do their share curbing the illegal drugs and other crimes catered to their own brand of justice. It is as if delegating the NPA of the dirty job with his tacit approval. As legally, on their own, it could be messy and too many hassles. The religious right, the do-gooders, and the human rights advocate always watch over their shoulder. With the NPA, however, it is easy, quick, and no question ask.
Now, here is the rub. Could it be that the list provided by the Mayors and Barangay Officials, is being shared by the police intelligence operatives to the NPA? As the NPA is known to be chummy with the president, could it be that this para-military element is likely being used and the source of some extra-judicial killing?
The end justifies the means, as they say. Would it be for the greater good of the people and the nation?