War on drugs not about arrests only

By Ermin Garcia Jr


WE have received reports that a number of arrested notorious pushers in Dagupan and other towns were released by the courts due to failure of arresting police operatives to appear during trials. It seems nobody is making “disappearing” operatives accountable.

I recall the lament of then Gov. Spines, himself a former police officer, in his campaign vs illegal drugs. He called attention to the practice of releasing arrested drug pushers because of collusion between prosecutors and judges, the police operatives and drug syndicates. He said these incidents are far worse than problems posed by drug pushers in the streets. Releasing the arrested drug pushers after a few months in detention, he said, not only frustrates and demoralizes not only the professional and committed law enforcers but communities who pin their hopes for better life believing that justice is served on notorious druglords and pushers.

Guv Spines even kept a record of how many arrested and detained suspects were released by courts, and the numbers were appalling.

It was happening then, it’s surely happening today. See and hear the drug syndicates having the last laugh while the corrupt cops, prosecutors and judges happily note their ATM accounts growing by just turning blind eyes on cue.

The corruption in the drug business is far more serious than the usual corruption in government offices.

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REAL NUMBERS. Lest we forget, the ultimate goals of the war on drugs are: To seize and dispose of as much illegal drugs; to arrest as many drug dealing suspects in the streets; to seek rehabilitation of drug addicts; and to seek conviction and imprisonment of drug dealers and financiers.  

As things stand today, the war on drugs is not gaining what with scant reports on arrested suspects in buy-bust and ‘Sita‘ operations. Worse, reports of many arrested drug pushers being acquitted are dealing a serious blow to the national efforts.

And I’m afraid the situation in Pangasinan is not encouraging. I wish Guv Pogi and PNP PD Wilson Lopez will step up to the plate and push the war on drugs two notches higher.

They can do this if both Guv Pogi and PD Lopez provide the province updated constantly its own edition of @Real Numbers being supplied by the DILG-PNP-PDEA, i.e., 1) No. of operations year to date. 2) No. of drug suspects arrested. 3) Value of illegal drugs seized. 4) No. of gov’t personnel involved in drugs arrested. 5) No. of drug suspects convicted and 6) No. of drug suspects acquitted by courts.

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OVER CONGESTION OF JAILS. Speaking of rehabilitation of detained drug suspects, the BJMP and local governments are faced with the dilemma of how to decongest their facilities which are already 300% over the capacity of all detention cells.

They are aware that detainees’ health care are seriously at risk owing to congestion. Detainees with communicable diseases cannot be isolated precisely because of congestion.

How can government even think of rehabilitating drug users and dealers when their health inside the detention facilities alone are already facing serious risks?

At the rate, PDEA-PNP are arresting drug dealers in the streets, the arrested suspects will just perish not from bullets but from serious communicable diseases.

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PREMATURE CAMPAIGNING NOT ILLEGAL. If you are wondering why towns and cities are now being plastered with tarps and streamers when the official campaign period does not start until February and March next year, here’s why.

The Supreme Court already ruled that there is nothing illegal with premature campaigning. In the past, posters and activities of politicians and personalities that sprout before official campaign period were deemed an electoral offense. Not anymore.

The Supreme Court in 2009 ruled on the disqualification case of then mayor Rosalinda Penera of Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte town that effectively removed premature campaign as an election offense.

It seems that the only qualifying word that makes it an electoral offense is when the tarps, posters, radio and TV ads openly ask the pubic to vote for the candidate. Even that does not draw a clear line especially when applied in social media.

Speaking of social media, many are still unaware that anyone who posts libelous and slanderous statements on Facebook, Twitter or websites stand to suffer imprisonment more than the penalties prescribed for ordinary libel or slander charge. (Bail is double, imprisonment is double).

A source from the DOJ told me that some 100 cases have already been filed.  So hold your tongue and fingers when posting your anger or frustration. 

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WAR ON BEACHFRONTS. The completed rehabilitation phase 1 of Boracay and the ongoing campaign to strictly enforce environmental and sanitation laws and ordinances in El Nido in Palawan should already send alarm signals to the Provincial  and Community Environmental and Natural Resources in Pangasinan and to beach resort owners.

It is no secret that many establishments operating along beaches in Pangasinan are not complying with the laws intended to protect our beach water and shores.  Just like the  many establishments in Boracay and El Nido, the most common violation was the handling and treatment of wastes and encroachments in salvage zones.

If the local officials in our towns are not following the developments in those places, here’s the latest: the irresponsible local officials of Boracay are now facing charges before the Ombudsman.

Last April, the CENRO already flagged the beach sheds, restaurants, hotels and inns along the San Fabian beach, and one wonders today how far have the local government and CENRO gone in enforcing the laws.

Dagupan’s Blue Beach is perhaps already two steps ahead with its own rehabilitation plans the city government launched last year.  Lingayen beachfront is also clear and clean but  we wonder about the the compliance of shed operations along the beachfront.

The Binmaley beachfront… all the way to Bolinao beachfront? If the LGU officials think they are outside the radar of the Duterte administration, they have that all wrong.

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PROFICIENCY IN ENGLISH There is one particular advocacy of Balik-Senate wannabe Pia S. Cayetano that merits the support of all parents and students studying to earn their licenses as professionals.

She wants to improve on Filipinos’ proficiency in English language, a skill that we were once told to have that advantage over our fellow Asians. Not anymore.

Sadly, this advocacy is being twisted by Filipino purists who charge that to do so would kill our culture and heritage. Far from it. She is not against promotion of our Filipino language but simply to add on language skills to improve and enhance chances of sustaining better livelihood here and overseas.

The increasing number of examinees flunking government board exams alone tell the sad story about our chances of succeeding in life. After spending years of studying law, medicine, engineering, accountancy, etc. where proficiency in English language is presumed and therefore no longer taught as a major subject in college, students who take the exams find to their horror that they are required to understand and express themselves in English in order to pass the exams.

This is the tragedy of our education today. We don’t match our studies with required skills in language and communication.

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