Monday, August 29, 2016

Duterte and Dela Rosa Must Rid the Police of their Rogue Elements if their War on Drugs was to Succeed

“Si Melvin nakita pa namin na nakatayo, dumaan pa pero hindi namin makausap. Nakita namin dumaan naka-posas pinasok sa sasakyan. Tapos dinala ng hospital. Pumunta kami sa Kalibo pero ‘yon pala dinala sa Malay hospital. So noong bumalik kami sa Malay, patay na silang dalawa. Tinanong namin ‘yong doctor, dead on arrival na raw,” he said.

If the above account of the Odictas' lawyer is true, then we have a serious reason to be concerned. All this time, the police have always debunked claims that they have authorized the summary killing of suspected pushers, users, and drug lords on the surfeited and overused excuse of resisting arrest and shooting out with police officers endangering their lives. We have always given the police the benefit of the doubt. After all, they enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty.

President Duterte, whose sincerity you can almost tangibly feel and smell when he speaks, has always vowed to uphold due process despite his penchant for the I will kill you! line, and that suspects will be killed only if they resist arrest, and fight it out with the arresting police officers. PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa has consistently echoed Duterte’s pronouncement.

This incident, though, impugns the president’s claim of respect for law. This gives the drug users more reasons to doubt the prudence of turning themselves in to the police. If Melvin Odicta, a powerful regional drug lord and viewed as a high-value target, after being seen in handcuffs while being led into a patrol car, could inexplicably turned up dead, what more the small players in this elaborate drug trade scheme? What could these foot soldiers reasonably hope for when they surrender to the police?

I don't doubt the president, but this unbridled killings of arrestees despite the obvious improbability of resistance knowing they would be killed suggest that rogue members of the police force--yes they still exist even among those who actively take part in this war on drugs, or at least make it look like it; even the president has expressed this view--are putting one over Duterte and Dela Rosa by silencing their erstwhile cohorts to keep them from snitching on them and their bosses, or standing witness against them in court using the very program (double barrel and tokhang) that the president has designed to net them.

It is in this aspect that the narco capitalists are outsmarting and outplaying Duterte and Dela Rosa. They are intelligently exploiting this presumption of regularity in the performance of their duty. Who’s pulling the strings on these rogue policemen is anybody’s guess.

The president must neither tire out, nor take these extra-judicial killings for granted. He has to put Dela Rosa to task in investigating these dubious custodial killings. We know there are legitimate kills, but a thousand or so deaths from a template “nanlaban” must merit a deep and resolute investigation into their circumstances. The same goes to the now ubiquitous riding-in-tandem shootings of suspected drug offenders. It does not help that Dela Rosa, in the early goings, expressed his favour for these summary or extra-judicial killings treating them as a boon to their campaign, although he has since repeatedly clarified that he, like the president, hated and would not tolerate extra-judicial killings. His actions, however, continue to play catch-up with his declarations.

 If these rampant extra-judicial killings continue unchecked they may backfire on the president's anti-illegal drugs campaign. When the poor, who have been cheering the initial inroads made on this war on drugs, realize that most of the deaths come from their ranks, they may become disillusioned and turn against the president. When the president alienates the support of his main constituency base, he will lose his political capital and his command may shed off and lose the carte blanche character that it presently enjoys. He may find his order and policies, all of a sudden, susceptible to questions and challenges, and that could derail his efforts. And let’s not forget that the narco capitalists out there are all eyes and ears on any opening that could leave the president vulnerable, and would definitely seize on it.

This unprecedented war on drugs has opened a Pandora’s box that could set us back many years and leave this country a lot worse than Duterte found it if he fails to finish it. Duterte has unleashed the monster we have not seen in these narco capitalists, and they are now more than ever at a heightened alert for a shot at Duterte, and ever ready to mobilize all of their resources to eliminate him by any means.

A Duterte death or removal by any means will leave a leadership vacuum that the narco capitalists would undoubtedly swiftly exploit. It is easy to think that these narco capitalists must be kicking themselves for not going all out in planting themselves in the government when they had the chance. But they have learned their lessons, and they would not make the same mistake.

They lurk around ready to pounce at the slightest opportunity. They believe that, with the exception of Duterte, they could easily snap up a political scoundrel willing to take money, bankroll their bid to power and control them. Before Duterte came into power we had not known how close we came to becoming a narco-state. Until Duterte, we vaguely had a grasp of the enormity of the drug problem. Until Duterte came we had only speculated on how many people in positions of power were on the narco capitalists’ payroll.

Now we know more, and are appaled.  

For the nation’s sake Mr. President, stay safe and alive. We know you are a working president, and it is in your nature to go where your presence matters like attending to a funeral of a fallen policeman or soldier, but you have to take extra precaution. The entire force of the enemy is mobilized round the clock for that one mistake or chance to take you out, and take the country captive, again.

The Odicta killing incident, like the many similar incidents of killing while in police or imminent police custody, reveals that the president has enemies in the midst of his key organizations. He must unmask and bring them to justice.

The police are a good place to start poring over.

1 comment:

  1. Sir/maam, hingi lang po sana ng kunti advice, yun kapatid po kasi ng girlfriend ko nakakulong dahil sa kaso ng theft dito sa pasig wala po ibang may alam nun kundi papa at mama nya lng po ngaun lang po namin nalaman ng umuwi po sya ng province. Almost two years na po yun kapatid nya dun at gusto na daw po umuwi. Ask ko lng po if anu dapat gawin?db dapat may hearing po yun?db dapat may attorney sila ibbgay para depensahan nya sarili nya?naaawa po ako sa girlfriend ko since wala po trabaho mga magulang nya kasi nasa bukid lang po sila at yun girlfriend ko naman ay namamasukan lng na kasambahay.