Millions now suffer from illegal drug trade


By Ermin Garcia Jr.

THE Standard newspaper’s own recent survey (1,500 respondents nationwide) conducted by resident researcher Junie Laylo, revealed that the third biggest problem in the country is “Drug addiction/Illegal Drugs.”

It followed “Poverty” and “Corruption” (the biggest problem) and has overtaken “Unemployment/Lack of Jobs,” and “High Prices of goods, Services,” and yes, “Criminality”!

What all these indicators tell us is that illegal drugs have already affected millions of families, and the perception is that the government is unable to protect them from the drug syndicates. Tsk-tsk.

I fear that unless our government becomes more resolute in addressing the drug problem today, our government will soon be controlled by persons in the pockets of the drug syndicates. That’s for certain.

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MILF+NPA VS. DRUGS. The threat posed by illegal drug trade has become so serious that, last week, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the New People’s Army (NPA) have already made it known that they have launched their own campaign against the illegal drug trade!

I wonder if the two groups have already considered sending death squads to Pangasinan to help deal with the worsening drug problem. (Note the series of killing of known drug pushers here) Going by the records of PDEA, the MILF’s campaign could be given a boost if it is told that the known big sources of shabu in Pangasinan are found inside Moro enclaves in the cities of Dagupan (Bonuan Binloc/ Bonuan Gueset) and Urdaneta!

The NPA, on the other hand, should strike at the drug syndicates in the province that use and exploit children as pushers and peddlers.

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OMBUDSMAN LEADS THE WAY. Surprisingly, corruption (no longer poverty) has taken over as the biggest problem.

The perception is clearly the result of impressions that corrupt public officials in local and national offices are still not being made to account for their criminal actions.

In fairness to the Ombudsman, media now get reports of numerous indictments over criminal use of public funds and abuse of power and authority. Here are the recent decisions in the month of December alone by the Office of the Ombudsman that should warm the cockles of the hearts of the disillusioned citizenry:

  1. Ordered the perpetual disqualification and dismissal of Cebu City Provincial Administrator and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Eduardo Habin, BAC members, namely: Bernard Calderon, Marino Martinquilla, Cristina Giango, Adolfo Quiroga, Necias Vicoy, Jr., Roy Salubre, Emme Gingoyon and Eulogio Pelayre for Grave Misconduct and Gross Neglect of Duty in connection with the anomalous procurement of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) project in 2006.
  2. Ordered the suspension for one year of Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado for Oppression/Grave Abuse of Authority for his willful refusal to comply with the Civil Service Commission’s directive to reinstate provincial veterinarian Edgardo Gonzales in November 2013.
  3. Found probable cause to charge Caibiran, Biliran mayor Eulalio Maderazo for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the procurement of medicines without the benefit of a public bidding.
  4. Obtained the conviction of Bank Officer II Irene Sarmiento, k.a. Shirley Lazaro, of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the New Central Bank Act for misrepresenting her identity as a consultant of AMWSLAI, using the name of her sister Shirley Lazaro, and obtained loans from AMWSLAI totaling P260,000.
  5. Charged Romblon municipal mayor Juliet Ngo-Fiel with graft before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the blatant irregularities in the bidding of a small-scale irrigation project.
  6. Charged three former officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the anomalous procurement of 32 units of cellular phones amounting to P317,380.00 in 2007.
  7. Ordered the filing of Information against former Schools Division Superintendent Aurora Cubero, Division Superintendent Salvacion Yumang, and Adminitrative Officer Emma Betonio for facilitating the procurement of 32 cellphones by way of shopping and cash advance claiming that the items were exceptionally necessary and indispensable for official use.
  8. Found probable cause to indict the town mayor and treasurer of Sumisip, Basilan for non-payment or delay in the remittance of contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-ibig), and taxes on compensation despite monthly deductions from the salaries of the municipal employees.
  9. Ordered the suspension for one month and one day of State Auditor III Llane Saratan of the Commission on Audit (COA) Regional Office No. VI for habitual tardiness.
  10. Filed Information against Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) ex-General Manager Al Vitangcol III and five incorporators of Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corporation for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Government Procurement Reform Act, arising from the MRT3 interim maintenance contract where they were alleged to have conspired to irregularly award the MRT3 contract to PH Trams-CB&T joint venture.
  11. Ordered dismissal from service of top executives from the state-owned National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), Technology Resource Center (TRC), including the now defunct National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR), for their participation in the anomalous utilization of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of ex-Benguet Representative Samuel Dangwa amounting to P54 million.
  12. Ordered the filing of charges against former 3rd district Albay Representative Reno Lim for the anomalous utilization of his 2007 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) amounting to P

These cases should tell anyone holding documentary evidence of any similar wrongdoing by any public official that we can now depend on the Ombudsman to make our officials finally accountable.

So, to our worthy concerned public servants who are in the know, go for it!

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DISCRIMINATION? Senior citizen Cesar Lozano dropped this corner a note complaining about the Senior Citizens Affairs Office for refusing to grant him financial assistance simply because he is an SSS pensioner. He says he’s been homeless for 3 years, and, therefore has the right to apply and claim financial assistance that is extended to others.

The questions that perhaps the city’s SC federation should clarify are: What makes a SC qualify for a financial assistance, and what disqualifies one from getting it?  

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish our readers a more prosperous New Year, less stressful lives and more quality bonding time with your families… and more success in keeping their New Year’s resolutions!

(For your comments and reactions, please email to: punch.sunday@gmail.com)

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