What Cebu needs is an anti-drug czar

SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit S. Avila

Exactly a week ago, we wrote a column entitled “Narco Politics in the Barangay is a Reality!” The following day on July 12th, Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte spoke at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) anniversary in Camp Aguinaldo and once more reiterated that the Visayas has been “poisoned” by illegal drugs with Iloilo as the “Bedrock,” while Cebu Province was on top of illegal drugs.

As a Cebuano, I’m ashamed that Cebu Province has been a hotbed of illegal drugs syndicate even after top Drug Lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz was killed in Las Pinas City last year and after Danao City Drug Lord Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Bohol. Now you may want to know what Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III has been doing against illegal drugs? Let me just reiterate that Gov. Davide was a non-performer then and he is still a non-performer now!

The President’s statement was concurred by PDEA-Central Visayas Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz who said Duterte’s declaration is correct. “The President has access to more information than us. We concur with the President that there is a drug problem in Cebu, so we take his declaration as a guide on how we can more effectively fulfill our mandate as the lead agency in the campaign against illegal drugs.” I had a chance to interview Director Ruiz on my TV Show “Straight from the Sky” which we showed yesterday.

As we reported last week, the Barangay captain of Malabago, Badian was arrested in a buy-bust operation for peddling and possessing illegal drugs worth more than P2 million. Then the following day, Johnny Arrisgado, the president of the Associated Barangay Council (ABC) San Fernando chapter was caught in a raid for illegal possession of firearms and suspected packs of Shabu. Police report revealed that Johnny Arrisgado had ties to self-confessed San Fernando drug lord Franz Sabalones. Also on the same day, another Barangay official, Barangay Captain Raul Mesa Cole, Sr. of Barangay Putat, Tuburan was arrested in a raid that yielded packs of Shabu worth over P235,000.

So the big question is… who are the government officials “Protecting” these Drug Lords. Incidentally, former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was tagged as a “Drug Protector” but with the illicit drugs still being peddled openly, I would like to believe that what happened to former Mayor Rama was tagged by his political enemies who could be the real protectors.

Incidentally we learned from the news that data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) that of the total 9,432 homicide cases recorded from July 2016 to March 2017, 1,847 deaths were said to be drug-related, while 1,894 were not. The remaining 5,691 cases, or approximately 60 percent of the total, were still under investigation. This proves that the Human Rights Commission (HRC) used wrong statistics in trying to discredit Pres. Duterte in the international news. What is clear is the report that a total of 3,151 drug personalities have been killed in the anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 13, 2017.

Finally, Cebu’s foremost anti-drug crusader and former Dangerous Drugs Board Undersecretary Atty. Paul Oaminal wrote in my Facebook page and said, “The President must appoint an Anti Drug Czar for Cebu and the Visayas, Cebu as its headquarters; this is so as DDB has no physical or psychological presence in Cebu. The profile of the appointee would be a retired general or judge who has moral ascendancy over the LGUs and the national agencies respect. The President has to do this so there will be someone who will be accountable and responsible for the drug problem and if not successful is to be blamed for losing the drug war.” Indeed I fully concur with his observations that an Anti-Drug Czar for Cebu is a necessity at this time. Let us hope that Pres. Duterte would seriously consider this proposal.

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Last Friday, we learned the news coming from the Office of the Ombudsman when Mrs. Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of graft and usurpation of authority charges against former Pres. Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III regarding his role in the infamous Mamasapano massacre where 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were sent to their untimely deaths on Jan. 25, 2015, which ironically is the birthday of his mother, the late Pres. Corazon C. Aquino.

While we should be elated with this news, I do recall that the same Ombudsman already cleared Pres. Aquino while he was still President, which makes me wonder why the Ombudsman had a sudden change of heart? Meanwhile the Volunteers Against Crime & Corruption (VACC) slammed the Ombudsman for downgrading the charges against the former President stating that they filed a criminal, not an administrative complaint.

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Email: vsbobita@moscom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com

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