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Jan 26

The Untouchables

Yesterday’s Inquirer editorial brought up the dangers of Narcopolitics. Last year, I pointed to the blog Third Wave, who I believe was the first to bring up the issue of Narcopolitics with regards to the 2010 polls. More recently, he had this to say in his entry, Just a social user: No big deal?:

The war against dangerous drugs is the most dangerous job.

The entrapment operation of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on September 20, 2008 that caught young and affluent drug suspects will prove the risks of the job. The wealth and political connections of so called Alabang Boys has became the greatest threat of honest drug enforcers of PDEA.

Let the money moves. Let political influence change things. Behold wealthy suspects, you’ll soon be free!

I don’t wonder why the Alabang Boys appear so confident and relax. They know wealth and influence can save them.

One of the parents admit that he knows that his son is using drugs. He said, (my son) is a social user but not an addict. It’s no big deal.

If all of the parents of 6.7 million drug users in the Philippines think the same way, the war against drug in the country will not prosper. (Data based on 2004 survey of Dangerous Drugs Board).

The entry provides an insight into the awareness of many citizens that illegal drugs presents a grave threat to society, and the desire of many citizens for something to be done; and that law enforcement when it comes to the drug trade means tangling with mad, bad, and dangerous people.

But it all points to the problem that the best way to tar and feather anyone is to bring up the “D” word. Another insight into the uphill struggle for those insisting on a scrupulous regard for rules of evidence and so forth, is the obvious skepticism with which government lawyers’ actions are often met. A good example is in Pinoy Politics:

In our country, you can buy your freedom as long as you have connections and money. I remember my American friend who teased me about our judicial system. He said, in the Philippines, “it’s better to drive without license, than to drive without money.” Funny, but true! Maybe, for some “onion-skinned” Filipinos, they might be offended. But come on, guys, let’s be real!

If the buy-bust operations happened to “Talayan Boys” or “Payatas Boys”, would the hullabaloo that beseiged DOJ happen? I don’t think so! Immediately, these “Talayan Boys” or “Payatas Boys” would be annihilated. There’ll be no intervention from influential people from down abyss, or even from high-heavens. These fucking people who intercede on behalf of “Alabang Boys” must be prosecuted, or even burned to death. They don’t deserve to be in the government, they’re doing great diservice to the people. Putang ina, wala kadikadecalideza ang mga hayup na ito. Eh si Zuno nga madalas kong makita sa Cafe Adriatico at kung sino-sinong kameeting na babae dun. Pati din si Blancaflor madalas din sun. If both of them are really guilty, let their heads roll!

…Gen. Santiago and the PDEA have been working hard to eliminate drugs. But with these misplaced people in the government, who lawyered for the accused instead of prosecuting them, the country is indeed going to the dogs. Putang ina nyo, mamatay na sana lahat ng mga sangkot sa cover ng Alabang Boys.

What makes me angry is the fact that on mere “technicality” the people in DOJ tried everything to mitigate the case against Alabang Boys. Bakit kaya? May porsyento ba sila o sangkot kaya sila. Well, your guess is good as mine!

But the “technicalities,” when anyone’s life, liberty, or property are at stake, are everything. This is because aside from the harsh and disturbing realities Pinoy Politics points out, there is another reality, and that is, the prevalence of official extortion and the flipside of the impunity the wealthy and well-connected exhibit when it comes to the justice system -the non-wealthy and non-connected, if targeted unfairly by the authorities, are completely at the mercy of officialdom.

A Simple Life has this to say:

The curious case of the Alabang Boys, who allegedly are connected to a big-time drugs syndicate, would have been one of those countless cases that got dismissed “due to technicalities”, if not for the righteous indignation of the PDEA.

While PDEA agents were spending sleepless hours staking out and apprehending illegal drug pushers, DOJ undersecretaries and state prosecutors were apparently busy conniving with drug criminals and their lawyers, in duping the seemingly clueless Justice Secretary into signing dubious resolutions to dismiss drugs-related cases.

I don’t contest that the indignation may be righteous, indeed, but that ignores the quite obvious problem here: enthusiasm and a zeal for interdicting and apprehending drug pushers (minor or major) means nothing if the cases aren’t ironclad. And the even more basic issue is whether you have the right sort of people in charge of law enforcement in the first place. Major Ferdinand Marcelino has become a kind of (Middle Class, at least) folk hero for his fiery and uncompromising nature, something the public tends to admire and sorely misses in officialdom.

But Mon Casiple points out the odds stacked against Marcelino:

The so-called “Ayala Boys” case and the facts that came out exposed the subject that is usually only whispered about: the extent of and intertwining of drugs, politics, and the justice system. It points to a frightening combination that may have already undermined the very integrity of the current democratic system.

It is an open secret that drug money provides a major source for campaign money in Philippine elections, right up to the level of the campaign for national political positions. Drug, jueteng and other criminal money is expected to play a major role in the financing of many candidates in the 2010 national and local elections.

It is also an open secret the ‘despite the decades-old anti-drug campaigns’ the drug problem not only persisted but has grown and spread to every nook and cranny of the archipelago, corrupting government officials, policemen, judges, lawyers and other components of the the whole justice system.

From time to time, there may be petty drug criminals who were convicted but by and large, major players ‘specially those big fishes (operators of shabu laboratories, distributors, and smugglers’ are freed on technicalities, escaped, or simply had their cases dismissed. The drug syndicates – core leaders are never caught.

See also Malou Guanzon-Apalisok’s 3 biggest drug scandals, which details the woes of one whistleblower:

The 2001 investigation conducted by the House dangerous drugs committee, then headed by Cebu City Congressman Antonio Cuenco, is worthy of mention not only because a top NBI official insulted the members of Congress by playing golf instead of attending the House hearings, but also because today one of the whistleblowers, Bernard Liu, is bearing the brunt of the legal action filed by the brothers Peter and Wellington Lim as a consequence of Liu’s testimony and the committee’s failure to pin the businessmen down on illegal narcotics activities. Trying to vainly fend off before the Court of Appeals the warrant of arrest issued against him by the Cebu Regional Trial Court three years later, the witness bewailed why he is being punished for testifying. Liu’s fate has had a chilling effect on those who may have inside information on the illegal narcotics trade.

And how bizarre things can get as officialdom tries to be responsive to public opinion while failing to achieve anything:

The case of a very large cache of amphetamines that went missing after it arrived in the port of Manila from Seoul, South Korea, in November 2001 was a subject of a probe conducted jointly by the committees on dangerous drugs and public order and security. Then National Bureau of Investigation director Reynaldo Wycoco revealed that Seoul counterparts tipped him that about 100 kilos of shabu hidden in a cargo of vermicelli or noodles will be transported to Manila in a 40-foot container van via Hong Kong. Wycoco confirmed the illegal cargo arrived shortly after midnight of November 17 on board the vessel Manila Star but after two days in the Customs container yard the shipment was released reportedly without the knowledge of NBI officials.

Shocked over how a large shipment of illegal drugs could disappear under the very noses of NBI and Bureau of Customs officials, Ilocos Norte Congressman Roque Ablan exposed the anomaly in a privilege speech. Summoned to appear before the joint House committees, the officials described a bizarre entrapment operation that allowed the delivery of the drug cargo to a fictitious address in Binondo, Manila, only to be led to nowhere in Bulacan. The House hearing abruptly ended after Congress was fed with a letter from a supposed police authority in Seoul, saying that the drug shipment was just 500 grams of amphetamines.

This discouraging reality is what inspires an admiration for vigilante justice in fighting illegal drugs. As Patricio Mangubat wrote, back on January 2 in Filipino Voices,

One source revealed that Johnny’s son is not really a hardcore drug pusher-addict. The real pusher is one of the two young guys arrested. He’s said to be the close friend of the high-society drug lord who’s closely associated with a retired general. This guy should be the one arrested by PDEA. But, for some unknown reason, they always fail to catch him in his Valle Verde lair and his BF homes-Paranaque tambayan. Maybe, they’re scared of the father who’s very close with the First Golfer.

I would not even be surprised if some showbiz personalities fall in the next few weeks. This young druglord is highly connected and very well known in the underworld and in showbiz. He’s the one who supplies the drugs to artistas, social climbers, the Fort habitues, and those partygoers. In the future, he’ll be unmasked and brought to justice. For now, the public is encouraging the Alabang boys to spill the beans. Time to rehabilitate yourself. There’s still time for you to repeat and turn a new leaf.

By the way, those Magdalos inside the PDEA – again, thank you. You did a great job. The nation hopes that you’ll continue your good work. Dismantle these drug cartels. Kill the bastards.

I fully subscribe to Mangubat’s call for the parents to put their kids in rehab and for the kids to spill the beans. The cautionary note to his call for the liquidation of evil drug dealers is this comment on his entry. And at least one columnist also perceives the whole thing to be The lynching of State Prosecutor John Resado.

Let me add that another problem is that Marcelino, who obviously admires his boss, Santiago, is still subject to a chain of command with a flawed sense of way to go about things.See No PDEA post but Palparan was briefed:

Santiago said he could make Palparan his deputy for “special concerns” in case the controversial former military officer is appointed to the PDEA by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We will discuss with him how best we can utilize him at PDEA,” Santiago told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday in a phone interview.

Santiago said he gave Palparan an overview of what PDEA does during a briefing last week. Afterward, he said, the retired general “seemed to like” the idea of joining the agency.

A President who would appoint such a man; a PDEA chief who would welcome him -this should be enough to say, “whoa, there, hold your horses!”

So even as PMA alumni back Dionisio, Marcelino. one has to distinguish if Santiago and Marcelino deserve to be put on par with each other, and the disquieting reality that the Philippine National Police as an institution still hasn’t overcome its Philippine Constabulary origins, and is riddled with brass who graduated from the PMA: and that is part of the problem when it comes to law enforcement in this country, it still lacks a firm grounding in civilian-minded law enforcement.

Still, considering past efforts to exact accountability from our elected officials, why this sudden insistence on my part on precisely the sort of thing I’ve challenged? If “where is your evidence, prove it in the proper forum!” was a noxious mantra with regards to asking the President of the Philippines to resign or impeaching her, why should it matter in the case of people like drug dealers, whether real or alleged?

Hence my column today, The Untouchables. The genesis of this column was my dissatisfaction with the whole issue of the collision between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

And my having recently watched The Changeling (on a related note, read more on the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders).

At the heart of my column are two things:

1. It is wrong to put a civilian undertaking like law enforcement in military hands, the military mentality is incompatible with evidence-gathering and the prosecution of offenders; the reason the military’s colliding with civilians is that the vigilante-minded soldiers have been sent to run after drug dealers but in such a manner as to keep the truly powerful drug dealers beyond the reach of these soldiers; and so-

2. The whole issue is a sideshow because it parades parasitic socialites before the gallery (which always generates applause), but ignores the really powerful drug lords.

Concerning the second point, I brought up the need for an Elliot Ness, instead of a George S. Patton, to lead the fight against illegal drugs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, has made available significant portions of Ness’s FBI File. Something of interest is his response to his pursuit of a poential suspect as the Cleveland Torso Murderer (a 1930s serial killer):

One very strongly suspected individual was Dr. Francis E. Sweeney, who voluntarily entered institutionalized care shortly after the last official murders were discovered in 1938 and remained in such in various hospitals until his death in 1965. Significantly, Sweeney worked during World War I in a medical unit that conducted amputations on the field of battle. Sweeney was later personally interviewed by Ness, who oversaw the official investigation into the killings in his capacity as Cleveland’s Safety Director. During this interrogation, Sweeney, whom Ness code-named “Gaylord Sundheim,” is said to have “failed to pass” two very early polygraph machine tests administered by polygraph expert Leonard Keeler, who told Ness he had his man. Nevertheless, Ness apparently felt that there was very little chance of obtaining a successful prosecution of the doctor, especially as he was the first cousin of one of Ness’ political opponents, Congressman Martin L. Sweeney. Sweeney {d.1960}, a political ally of and a father-in-law to Sheriff O’Donnell {d.1941}, and an opponent of Republican Cleveland mayor Harold Burton, had hounded Ness publicly about his failure to catch the Butcher. After Sweeney committed himself, there were no more leads or connections that police could make to him as a possible suspect. The killings apparently stopped after Sweeney committed himself. He died in a Dayton veteran’s hospital in 1965, though he did continue to mock and harass Ness and his family with threatening postcards well into the 1950s.

This is of interest because of the refusal of Ness to exceed the parameters established by the law. This is what separates the law enforcer from the vigilante.

As it is, the whole thing has gotten bogged down in the minutiae of the accusations and counter-accusations. An interesting perspective is provided by Ang magulong pag-iisip ni Pulis Na Pogi:

so where did things most probably went wrong?

for pdea: they did everything right except entrap the bribers. for all we know, pdea double crossed the suspects (accepted the bribes–but not major marcelino i think–and still filed the case anyway.) this might have given rise to the outburst of one of the relatives of the suspects as narrated during the congressional inquiry.

for resado, he was very coarse in his diskarte. he should have not rendered an inquest resolution right there if he had the intention of receiving the expected bribe. he should have talked to his supervisor first. but habit may have overtaken him this time. it is common to see cases recommended for filing by the inquest prosecutors on the night of the inquest proceedings when the arresting offices are present, overturned the next morning by the chief inquest when the resolution is forwarded to him. during the interim, you and i knows what happens.

for the doj, they had tolerated their people for so long that verano thought that even in this high profile case, he can get away with the blatantly illegal things that he used to do all the time.

for the family of the suspects, they should have known better than bribe pdea. with a bagito marines as team leader of the arresting team, they should have known that he is still incorruptible. had they bribed resado at the very start, they could have won right in the very first round. resado could have written: “there are things that need to be clarified in a preliminary investigation. release of the suspects is hereby ordered unless detained for other lawful grounds.” the only recourse of the pdea then is a motion for reconsideration.

this happens all the time!

And so, my column was an effort to try to zero in on just what, exactly, was bothersome about the whole issue.

Late last night, long after I’d submitted my column, I ran across this January 10 entry in Torn & Frayed in Manila,”Alabang Boys” give us a break:

Here are three conclusions you might have arrived at from the relentless coverage of the “Alabang Boys” case in recent days.

– Drug taking in the Philippines is almost unknown - this is why this exceptional case has attracted so much attention.

– The Philippines must be as incorruptible as Singapore - this is why the papers are so outraged at this alleged bribery attempt.

– The Philippines has no serious problems to attend to - this is why the papers are devoting so many acres of newsprint to this trivial case (not to mention the ruckus at a golf club that competed for space on the front page).

– This place is weird.

Unlike the Inquirer, which has clearly decided that the Brodett family is guilty (or so it seems to me), I haven’t reached a conclusion about the rights and wrongs of the case.

Given the way things work here, it seems to me quite possible that the Brodetts may have tried to pay money for their sons’¢ release. Facing similar circumstances, many of us might have done the same.

On the other hand, it also seems quite possible that, realizing that the young men were from a wealthy family, members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) either set them up or tried to use their sons’ predicament to “encourage” a bribe from their parents. After all, it would not be the first time such a thing has happened in the Philippines.

That’s why we have courts; to decide which of prima facie equally plausible explanations reflects what actually happened.

I have reached a couple of conclusions about the furor over the case though though.

– The PDEA claim that the three young men represented “a syndicate that sold illegal drugs at the Metro Manila club circuit and did business online” isn’t too convincing, if only because it has supplied no evidence of this, beyond dropping the name of Embassy (surely an easy target), which the club has strongly denied.

– It seems much more likely that this whole thing is about young people taking drugs for fun, an activity that has been widespread throughout the world for at least 40 years and will still be practised long after the Brodetts, the PDEA officers, you, and me have all kicked the bucket. So why can’t we have a public policy that reflects the realities of the 21st century rather than those of the 1940s?

That about says most everything that needs to be said, and quite nicely.

And it tells us the limitations of the coverage in our media. Everyone, like the French officer in Casablanca, seems shocked, shocked! That drug-dealing (and taking!) is going on here. But there’s a certain feigned ignorance about the whole thing.

And yet, the implications of such scandals is dire.

More recently, stories have started cropping up, pointing to N. Mindanao tagged as RP’s new illegal drugs capital while there are other areas of the country long blighted by Narcopolitics: Calabarzon ‘narco-politics’ under watch. In the past, even the New People’s Army has been shocked, shocked, they’d even be thought of as possibly coddling the drugs trade! You can be sure the NPA will find itself the target of an offensive justified by the War on Drugs. Which may be why Palparan is chomping at the bit to be assigned to PDEA (see Insurgency Re-examined, from the Free Press Centennial Issue, on the self-perpetuating nature of the Communist insurgency and the military’s response, which helps feed the beast).

As the Roman saying goes, who will guard the guardians? If PDEA says Narcopolitics – a factor in 2010 polls, and yet assuming (as I do) the good, even noble, intentions of the young officers in PDEA, this still brings up the need for caution, as Ding Gagelonia points out in Filipino Voices:

This narco-politics spin, unsubstantiated as it is, fits well into a scenario where even genuine, non-criminal dissent may be stifled.

The onus is for Santiago to put his money where his psy-war-prone mouth is and present to Filipinos real hard evidence about national level narco-politicians.

Throw your suspects in jail, Mr. Santiago, and spare us your histrionics and psy-war tactics!

Could it be that this one-time Marcos-era Metrocom officer may actually be engaged in a politically motivated black propaganda push where the ultimate beneficiary is the anti-drug trafficking Czarina and not Philippine society?

For background, here’s Aljazeera’s The shackles of shabu. It takes a look at the crystal meth trade in the Philippines, and the prominent role Chinese triads play in the manufacture and distribution of the drug. See Howie Severino’s Blood for Shabu.He tells the story of addicts who sell their blood so as to have money to pay for the addiction.

See also Ecstasy party pill; shabu drug of choice.Recently, Vera Files has reported As ‘shabu’ price rises, Ecstasy use up, and along the way puts forward official statistics on drug use:

The figures seem small, don’t they? While Baby Boomers, the generation that embraced the Drug Culture in the 1960s and 1970s, are now a relatively smaller portion of the population than the under thirtysomethings that comprise the overwhelming bulk of our population, surely their percentage of drug use would raise the overall percentages? But if true, I wonder how the percentages compare with other countries.

In other news, SMC-allied group buys 7% of Meralco: Board changes seen Monday. The end of an era?

And on a related note, here’s something to chew on, GDP Growth and Missing Energy. Another area in which official statistics may not give an accurate picture of actual conditions or the real situation.

Pete Lacaba, in his Plaridel e-mail list, offers up one of his classic articles by way of a reminder that today is the 39th anniversary of the start of the First Quarter Storm. See The January 26 Confrontation: A Highly Personal Account, February 7, 1970.

And finally, Iceland’s economic collapse fires a saucepan revolution: Amid rowdy protests, the PM is bowing out

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  1. cvj

    Manolo, thanks for the link! 🙂

    I think the appointment of Palparan to PDEA is a deft move to deodorize him. A few dead pushers here and there and he acquires a Dirty Harry image (a-la Alfredo Lim) which would relegate his role in the Dirty War against the Left to the background. The Middle Class in particular (and Filipino Society in general) applauds vigilantes as long as they are not the ones affected.

  2. istambay_sakalye

    it is a known fact that all drug dealer/user/supplier connected to a police/politician will never be prosecuted unless he(the user/dealer/supplier) bite the hand that protect them, whoever says otherwise is from mars 😉

  3. ricelander

    Stricter enforcement and more draconian rules only make the demand curve and supply curve to retreat where they meet at a new equilibrium– lesser quantity of sales at higher price, in more instances the soaring in price compensating more than enough the drop in quantity sold. Highly profitable enough, you make it even more lucrative. And because it is illegal, you expect the nastiest of the underworld to be in control, and baby, it’s a fucking bottomless goldmine–which could buy people’s honor and wage a long-running war. Hah, so easy for us to condemn people who get bribed so easily, ewan ko lang kung kaya mong takbuhan ang tumatagining na milyones kung ikaw ang nasa lugar nila. Some people are hard to bribe, some people are more honorable than others, true, but who could resist that coupled with a threat na uubusin isa isa lahat nang pamilya mo kung hindi ka pa rin tatahimik. Heck, take the money and run!

    Did Elliot Ness defeat the gangsters running the alcohol business? No! The world should look at the lessons of the Prohibition because the forces at play are the same. This war can’t be won.

  4. kristine0019

    “(In the Philippines)it’s better to drive without license, than to drive without money.”

    – Very simple and true. Indeed, onli in da Pilipins.

    We need more people like Maj. Marcelino. The only problem with him (according to some text messages that have been circulating recently) is that he refuses to name other soldiers who were involved in the bribery because they were his “mistahs” in the PMA.

    But then that’s exactly the reason the Philippines is in deep s**t. We spoil those soldiers so much – akala nila kung sino silang mga Diyos dahil lang sa papel na ginampanan nila sa EDSA I at II. Kaya ayun, kaliwa’t-kanan ang kudeta at katiwalian nila. In the process, taongbayan ang naghihirap.

    If we want the Philippines to improve, then we should smash those sacred cows. As “V for Vendetta” puts it, “People should not be afraid of their government; the government should be afraid of its people.”

  5. kristine0019

    I agree with you, cvj.

    I also believe that the “Alabang Boys” issue and Palparan’s possible appointment to the PDEA smack of middle-class hypocrisy. The reason the middle and the upper classes love vigilantes so much is that they know full well that the vigilantes will not go after them. They don’t care about Palaparan’s countless human rights atrocities as long as he doesn’t touches them.

    When PDEA conducts a raid in Tondo or in Payatas, it is called “justice.” But when PDEA does a raid in Ayala Alabang or in Forbes Park, it is called “human rights violation.”

  6. john marzan

    “narcopolitics,” hindi ba yan ang code word ng mga anti-lacson re his activities?

    http://www.news.google.com/archivesearch?q=narcopolitics+lacson&num=50&hl=en&scoring=d&ie=UTF-8

  7. UP n grad

    That 0.03-percent for cocaine is among lowest in the world.

    The 4.2-percent for marijuana is highest for East Asia.

    The 6.0-percent for meth/shabu/ice is highest : Philippines has highest rate of shabu addiction prevalence in the world.

    —————————-
    Shabu is imported into Philippines. And as Filipinos-for-Philippines wants, some businessmen has begun to locally manufacture the product : in fact, one of the largest meth labs had been found in Pinas (the lab, thankfully, destroyed).
    The Inquirer, n a 01/25/2009 newsclip, reports :
    —-
    In February 2008, some P412 million worth of equipment, chemicals and the finished product were seized in three laboratories in Zamboanga City. Eight suspected syndicate members, including three Chinese nationals, were arrested.

    Coordinated busts in July dismantled a lab in Real, Quezon and its warehouse in Biñan, Laguna, yielding P350 million worth of chemicals, equipment and product and two Taiwanese chemists and three Chinese nationals.

    “Chemists are very high-value possessions of syndicates because not just anybody can be a chemist. They determine the quality of drugs, turn chemicals into product, that in turn turns into money,” Derilo said.

    Smaller kitchen-type laboratories were also shut down around Luzon throughout last year.

    With the raids crippling inland operations, there was a shift to transshipment of the finished product.

    In May, security officials of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales busted a shipment of 745 kilograms of shabu, roughly worth some P5 billion.
    —-

    Even with shabu starting from Burma or China, the profit margins are huge. With 3 layers between manufacture and customer, there is enough profit for every participant (profits at least 200%, and can even be 400% at a transhipment layer). Shabu pills enter on suitcases via airports or boxes via mail/shipping or on boats via unprotected coastlines. Even in metro-Manila, one can do buy-bulk/sell-retail and make money — buy a 10-gram pack, then sell at per-gram tingi with a 35% to 100% mark-up.

    Martial-arts approach to deal with the enemy is to kill the head — putting energy at the customer/retail-level highly-inefficient, effort should be along coastlines/airports and in cooperation with China/Thailand/USA/United Nations/Interpol activities to find and destroy the shabu sources.

    USA is expending $$$ to help the Philippines (so the shabu going into Philippines does not get transshipped to Hawaii or Guam or into the mainland).

    http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2008/vol1/html/100780.htm

  8. UP n grad

    The inquirer article (with useful statistics) is here:

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090125-185397/Ecstasy-party-pill-shabu-drug-of-choice

    Unemployed or underemployed National-Capital-Region entrepreneurs interested in buy-bulk/sell-retail business opportunity should be warned — this is risky business (only highly self-disciplined people should apply).

  9. UP n grad

    AND one can get life-imprisonment if caught dealing a 10-gram pack (or even less) even if your reason is to raise tuition-money for a nephew or to raise airfare money for an OFW-uncle.

  10. Bert

    This drug story is a conglomeration of plots going around in circles, sub-plots spinning tangentially out of the peripheral but never losing sight, and where the hero is the villain, the villain the hero, and the ending never in sight. To any keen observer of this drama a dose of bonamine should be beneficial.

  11. UP n grad

    And I do remember narco-politics and Ping Lacson talks over MainStreamMedia and among bloggers.

  12. UP n grad

    By the way…. reminder to Ding Gagelonia…. it is wise for government authorities not to name names as they cite the growing drug addiction and drug-trade problem in the Philippines. Reason : there is a huge distance between blogger-reports or claims by opposing politicians before a narco-politician can be convicted. Some thing about evidence that is admissible in courts.

    Here is a classic situation in Cebu where conviction is not guaranteed.
    http://www.cebuonlinenews.com/20081129/992145-ddb-officer-questions-bail-of-cebus-shabu-queen/

    Evidence is not evidence (for a sentence to jail) unless admissible in courts. For impeachment, too.

  13. UP n grad

    This story illustrates that Filipinos may indeed have elevated their roles to exceed the gofer roles (of truck drivers, watchmen, dealer) to become the capitalist.

    http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/ceb/2006/07/22/news/brit.tells.on.7.shabu.lab.men.html

    [PS: Maybe there has, or maybe not…. I am not aware if there had been convictions from the case above.]

  14. Carl

    In drugs, in business, in politics: we Filipinos always kowtow to the elite.

    Had those Alabang boys been street urchins from the slums, instead of delinquents from gated communities, they would have been rubbed out, much to the approval of the middle and upper classes.

    “The Untouchables”? In India that would refer to the lowest-caste members of society. But in the Philippines the elite are “The Untouchables”, for different reasons, of course. Here, the elite get away with tax evasion, drug-pushing, bribery, smuggling, influence-peddling, murder – you name it. It’s the Philippine daily way of life. This “Alabang Boys” case is just a passing diversion.

  15. karl Garcia

    This is a job that calls for an Elliot Ness, not a George S. Patton.

    by MLQ3.

    I want to share what Rom has to say about Militarization.

    I happen to agree most of the things she has written in that post.

  16. PhilwoSpEditor

    If those “Alabang Boys” had been in Davao when caught, they’d be rubbed off no matter if rich or poor.

    I happen to agree with vigilante tactics, because for one, the Government is really supposed to be afraid of the people, not the other way around. It’s like we’re all dirt scared of those b*****ds whom we have given the privilege of holding office here.

    It’s like this, knowing justice is something that barely exists here in the Philippines, might as well take justice into our own hands. Ridding the streets of these ‘social users’ would be doing the ordinary law-abiding citizen a service…

    Then again, Palparan at the PDEA post? Something smells fishy. GMA really likes shuffling tried-and-tested failures into really important posts.

  17. Bert

    “GMA really likes shuffling tried-and-tested failures into really important posts.”

    Philwo,

    Let me remind you that the likes of Palparan, Esperon, Neri, Garcillano (I’m not sure of Bolante, but I forgot the others, heheh) are not failures. On the contrary they are the epitome of success, and on their own merit, too. They succeeded, didn’t they?

  18. Bert

    Wait, everybody. In the recent Senate hearing Lacson alleged the First Guy met with the contractors blacklisted by the World Bank. Ain’t that something?

    This drug story is heading on to something after all, perhaps?

  19. Carl

    Regarding the much-publicized exploits of the Davao City Mayor, some sectors point out that it is more of a legend than a fact.

    Below is an article from Sun-Star Davao that was only published yesterday:

    City Is Among Suspected Drug Transshipment Points

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    EVEN a feisty anti-drug advocate city mayor can’t seem to stop drug syndicates as Davao City remains to be a “suspected” transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly amphetamine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy.

    In a report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2008, Davao City was identified to be one of the suspected transshipment points of illegal drugs in the country.

    Other points of transshipment included the ports of Palawan, Masbate, Sorsogon, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and South Cotabato.

    Ports in Luzon, such as Manila, Ilocos Sur, Quezon province, Mindoro, Pangasinan, Zambales, and La Union, were also identified as trafficking points.

    The report showed that in the last 10 years, the Philippines remained to be a significant producer, transit country and consumer of crystal methamphetamine. It added that the drug manufacturing is being handled by transnational organized crime syndicates working in concert with local drug groups in the Philippines.

    Ephedrine, according to the UNODC report, is smuggled into the country by using mislabeled shipment documents. The chemical is then synthesized using the thionyl chloride process.

    “Labs have primarily been concentrated near the greater Metro Manila area, however increased law enforcement efforts have pushed production to other areas such as Southern Tagalog, the Bicol (area), and Mindanao region,” the UNODC report said.

    Methamphetamine produced in the Philippines supplies both the domestic market and neighboring countries.

    The report showed that from the Philippines, the illegal drugs are shipped to the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the USA (including Guam), Canada, and Spain.

  20. BrianB

    Manolo, a shame campaign is not bad at all. Drugs is a trendy crime, especially the high-end ones. Shaming drug users, though barbaric to some, is a very Filipino solution to the growing drug problem. It’s also a moral issue. The anti-drugs are well-beat in terms of illicit influence and money but on the open moral ground, drugs is an obvious evil.

    We also have to be realistic about the problem. In simple monetary terms and given that this is the Philippines, there is little we can do about the drug problem. Even petty corruption is hardly controllable.

    A shame campaign, in my opinion, is more preferable than the Duterte solution.

  21. BrianB

    With that said, I believe that many high-profile people, even well-respected congressmen have tried E. It’s also a professional solution for newbies in the marketing field, though eventually they end up addicted to cocaine. I know someone who was advised to take E because she felt to inhibited in front of her crush. She’s married to him now. As you can see, if you want to take the road to empathy, you will no doubt be eaten up by the lifestyle.

  22. supremo

    If the Philippine government cannot enforce the dangerous drugs law then it might as well regulate the use of those illegal drugs. Let’s take marihjuana as an exampe. There should be a place where you can buy marijuana and consume it. If someone is caught consuming the stick outside of the marijuana place then give the user and the owner of the place a ticket. No need to haul them to court. That’s just a waste of government resources.

  23. leytenian

    On legalizing drugs, that is impossible to implement. the Philippines would be in violation of international treaty if we will create a legal market in cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs. Philippines is one of the many countries who reaffirmed its commitment to strong drug laws with United Nations.

    But let’s talk about it for discussion purposes.

    Legalization will increase supply and will decrease the price. Availability is a leading factor to increase drug use. Increase use of addictive drug will lead to increase addiction.

    Legalizing drugs will not eliminate illegal drug trafficking nor the violence associated with the illegal drug trade. An underground economy would still exist unless all addictive drugs in all strengths were made available to all ages in unlimited quantity.

    Rule of Law: Strong drug laws will refrain people from using drugs. Surveys show that the fear of people getting in trouble with the law constitutes a major reason not to use drugs. Our rule of law is weak. It releases drug pushers from jail and prosecutors can be bought.

    Import and Export: Strong domestic law will discourage foreign drug lords from penetrating. Is our port strong? Are employees in our port honest and understand the consequences or majority can be bought.

  24. supremo

    leytenian,

    Proliferation of drugs will definitely increase usage but at least you know who are the users. I don’t think parents will encourage there kids to use drugs. Shame will probably kick in if everyone knows that your kid is a drug user.

    Let drug lords bring in there stuff from anywhere in the world. The law of supply and demand will determine the price..

    I’m not saying there will be no law. The drug pusher will still need a license and the drug user can only consume the drugs in the drug pusher’s place. Again, shame might kick in.

  25. UP n grad

    There are beaucoup-huge profit margins on the trde in illegal drugs. A near-normal government, because it is “… for the greater good”, should only pull out a reasonable profit margin. In other words, shabu, marijuana, etcetera sold by the government (content with 50%-margin) should cost much lower than the same products from criminal elements (with their 800%-and-higher margins). You should also expect bribery and government-skullduggery to disappear (if you believe in Santa Claus).

    Somehow, the church and the evangelicals and the parent-teachers-associations will get involved, too, so I would not be surprised that confusion and “…for the greater good” will continue to happen. 😛

  26. supremo

    UP n grad,

    ‘Somehow, the church and the evangelicals and the parent-teachers-associations will get involved, too, so I would not be surprised that confusion and “…for the greater good” will continue to happen’

    Heaven help us if they join the fun.

  27. PhilwoSpEditor

    Brian B,

    The Duterte Solution of letting vigilantes run amuck seems a better solution, instead of a shame campaign. Look what happened when Lim tried the shame campaign. Might as well have men in black motorcycles shoot down lawless elements. Compared to Manila, Davao is in many ways, less effective in the war for drugs.

    (I acknowledge they weren’t failures… The succeeded in keeping Gloria the Tall story maker in the post, ridding the country of opposition.)

  28. PhilwoSpEditor

    Oh correction: I mean, compared to Davao, Manila is in many ways, less effective in the war for drugs

  29. d0d0ng

    Again, it has been demonstrated that Philippine government bureaucracy is primariy a business undertaking. It has a place for everybody. The rich can always cash in for something it badly needed.

  30. d0d0ng

    Carl on, “Had those Alabang boys been street urchins from the slums, instead of delinquents from gated communities, they would have been rubbed out, much to the approval of the middle and upper classes”.

    I can definitely agree on this. The Alabang boys are like a pot of gold. Somebody did not get his share and so the squabling to air dirty laundry.

    Government solution – put in place the Butcher (Palparan). LOL.

    Not bad as he is an expert in extrajudicial means.

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