Like you and me, the President is also human
By Al S. Mendoza
FROM drug war to police war.
What a shift.
It’s like changing gears in a most unorthodox form—as in from first gear to third gear done in lightning-quick fashion.
The war against illegal drugs was President Duterte’s key campaign promise.
He was the lone candidate among the five hopefuls in the 2016 May presidential derby that dared dangle that bait.
The electorate bit it.
And we now have a President whose word he had tried to keep—and fulfill.
He had said he’d eliminate the illegal drug trade in six months.
He had said he’d exterminate drug users, drug pushers and drug lords in six months.
But because he is only human just like the rest of us, he is also prone to mistakes. Or miscalculations.
And so, he missed his six-month target: The drug menace was so monstrous it just couldn’t be licked in half a year.
Scrap it he did pronto.
One reason for it?
The police, Mr. Duterte’s main force to combat illegal drugs, were themselves allegedly involved in the syndicate—at least some of them, including, gosh!, generals.
Dismayed no end, the President vowed to enforce “internal cleansing” of the police force.
Before this, it has been loudly whispered that some police officers were into the drug syndicate themselves.
Bato’s “Operation Tokhang” designed to ferret out both drug-users and drug-pushers had been uglified into “Operation Tokhang Ransom.”
This made police plant drugs into targeted kidnap prospects.
Millions in ransom money would be demanded in exchange for the victims’ freedom.
The turning point was when a kidnapped Korean businessman was discovered to have been murdered inside Camp Crame, the police headquarters.
Worst, the crime scene was literally a spitting distance away from Bato’s residence.
Supreme irony, to say the least.
Some police suspects in the Korean’s murder were lambasted by Bato in public and ordered to do push-ups.
After getting chided, criticized, for that “kid-glove” treatment, Bato fired back: “If I manhandled them, punched them in public, would I not be accused of human rights violations?”
Bato would next get orders from President Duterte not to retrain some 400 erring cops.
Instead, those facing serious cases like mulcting or kidnapping, would be deployed in war-torn Mindanao.
Those with other offenses, like tardiness, insubordination or abuse of power, would be dispatched to clean the Pasig River.
“Or even let them drink the water in Pasig River,” barked Mr. Duterte.
Already, some cops have gone AWOL (absent without leave).
They ought to be fired from service.
Next, hunt them down. They could be potential criminals, anyways.
Police versus police. About time.