Why Leni is bound to fail

"The drug problem is a health issue."


Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile took me aside at the 365 Club get-together at the Holiday Inn Suites to tell me that I got it all wrong about the alleged escape of the late ABS-CBN boss Geny Lopez and Serge Osmeña. They had been detained for their role in the assassination attempt against the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.

According to Enrile, the escape of Lopez and Osmeña was for real. I wrote that it was not; that Marcos allowed them to “escape.”

JPE recounted that when he was in New York after a meeting in Washington, somebody called him from San Francisco to say that Lopez and Osmeña had escaped and were already in the United States. Subsequently, Enrile called Marcos about this.

According to JPE, it was Steve Psinakis, brother-in-law of Lopez, who actually engineered the escape. Psinakis was working in Meralco—still a Lopez domain at that time. From detention, JPE said, Lopez and Osmeña flew to Hong Kong and then to San Francisco. They joined the Light A Fire movement headed by Raul Manglapus. Enrile also recalled that it was engineered by Psinakis in cooperation with a certain American named Larry Logman, a Jew.

After Marcos was reelected in 1969, there was also a coup attempt led by the Philippine Academy Class of 1944 in cooperation with the ROTC. This was quelled in time.

It has always been my policy to accept that I am wrong. The Lopez-Osmeña escape was a true event that a movie was even made out of it. The movie was called “Eskapo.”

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When I said in my latest column that Vice President Leni Robredo was bound to fail in her role as drug czarina, I meant that in the end, any attempt to wage war on drugs will only minimize it, not end it.

Recall that the United States which has been waging an anti-drug was for many years despite the effectiveness of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Robredo does not seem to have a real grasp and strategy to dwell on the drug menace except to say that the killings must be stopped. Official figures place the number of casualties at 6,000, but unofficial counts claim the real number could be four or five times that!

In soliciting the help of the United States and the United Nations, which have been critical of Duterte's policy of killing almost everybody involved in the drug problem, Robredo indicated that she is ignorant about her role as drug czarina.

To many who are ignorant about the drug menace, the move of Robredo to stop the killings may be a long-sought solution. Will fewer killings end the problem, though? Absolutely not.

The drug problem is a health issue, I keep saying that.

Records show that the demand for drugs is so great such that our country has become a transshipment point for cartels and syndicates.

Yes, Leni, there is a need to cut the supply of drugs coming to the Philippines. But the US and UN cannot do that. We have to cut the demand. You should ask Congress to enact a law requiring every local government unit to build community-based rehabilitation centers to stop the demand.

And that, to me, is another problem. Government rehabilitation centers usually do not cure the drug users with psychiatrists and psychologists. This would be expensive. Instead, the centers just resort to isolating addicts—when they are released, they go back to their old habits.

This is the reason I say the drug problem can only be minimized and not eradicated.

I recall that Marcos created special courts to try drug dependents but after martial law, these courts were abolished.

Drug dependence and addiction is the bane of this generation. For the poor, drugs are a way to assuage their hunger and joblessness. For the rich, it's for kicks.

I know a little about drugs because I was vice president of DARE Foundation, a rehabilitation center. This is where I learned that the drug problem is multi-fold.

This is why I said that Robredo is bound to fail in her role as drug czarina. If there were a president who could wage a war on drugs, it would be Duterte.

* * *

We postponed the launch of my book, The Road never Ends, to January. The Manila Standard, courtesy of House Majority Leader, is helping me publish this book. This is because the original date, Nov. 26, is too close to the holidays. Many of the businessmen and taipans I am inviting will be too busy to attend the book launch.

I will announce the details as soon as I have them.

* * *

My sincerest condolences to the family of a good friend, John Gokongwei Jr., self-made tycoon, whose life was legendary, from rags to riches. He is a visionary and a pioneer who gave back to the needy.

He's blessed that he had children who took up after his pioneering spirit. He will be missed by friends. His life is a perfect example that there is no substitute for hard work, patience, perseverance and integrity. 

Topics: Juan Ponce Enrile , Leni Robredo , DARE Foundation , Geny Lopez , Serge Osmeña , The Road never Ends , John Gokongwei
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