Who was it who said that the greater peril in society is when our citizenry gets used to the abuses of our law enforcement authorities? Sadly, this is what is happening in the daily spate of killing of drug suspects. This has been happening with impunity since Day One, and people have become inured to it.
Listening to President Rodrigo Duterte and chief henchman Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa explain away the death of drug suspects “because they resisted and fired first giving our police operations team no choice but to fire back and defend themselves” has become standard operating procedure.
It has become an all-too-familiar story that the credibility of the police is strained to the limit. At the scene of the so-called encounters, lifeless victims are sprawled on the ground with an unlicensed .38 caliber paltik beside their hands.
Have other police agencies like the National Bureau of Investigation ever questioned whether these loose firearms were fired by the suspect? Or, were these paltik the same ones recovered from other victims in earlier encounters?
Vice President Leni Robredo, whether you think she would make a strong leader or not, has urged the people to speak out against police abuses and extrajudicial killings of suspects. At least she and the Commission on Human Rights have expressed their alarm at how the police in the bloody war on drugs are enforcing the law.
Like other citizens of the country, we think President Duterte needs all the support in breaking the backs of the drug cartels and saving many young lives who have fallen to addiction. Drug users, it has been traced by experts on crime, contribute widely to the rampant criminality in this country.
The recent massacre of a family in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and other incidences of robbery and rape committed on young women, housewives and mothers can also be traced to the perpetrators who were high on drugs when they committed the crime.
Arresting these criminal suspects you say would overcrowd our national penitentiary?
Other concerned government agencies believe rehabilitation centers may be the answer. This is being done by other civilized countries in the world. Saving these young felons from themselves is a primary concern. Penal incarceration with hardened criminals would only contribute to the turnstile prison system that spawns recidivists.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has a key role in the war on illegal drugs. Its silence on the issue leaves one to think their acquiescence is consent to the manner suspects are gunned down.
The killing of the Parojinog political family in Ozamiz was not met with protests by the people. Fourteen people were felled by a volley of police bullets. This is the highest number of casualties in a single police operation. The Parojinogs which included the patriarch mayor, his wife and brother are known to have started their political power from membership in the notorious Kuratong Baleleng kidnap-for-ransom and robbery gang. The Parojinogs built up their political power base.
But people are wondering why the government seems to be soft on the case of P6.2-billion smuggled shipment of shabu from China. Obviously, this a slap on the face of government and its much ballyhooed war on drugs. The drugs are smuggled from China with the conspiracy of our Bureau of Customs officials. It can be considered an act of war and economic sabotage by an external power.
Why Duterte still retained retired General Nicanor Faeldon as Customs commissioner is a mystery to many. Digong has fired other Cabinet officials on what he claimed as merely the “whiff of corruption.” Well, the stink of the smuggled shabu shipment is more than a whiff of corruption. The stench reaches all the way to the high heavens.