EXPECT more armed drug dealers and users to end up dead after fighting it out with the police in the coming days as the PNP headed by General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa continues its aggressive crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and abuse in the country on orders of our tough-talking President Duterte.
I’m making this bold prediction since the number of drug personalities being accounted for by the PNP since it launched its bold Project: Double Barrel and Oplan: Tokhang last July 1 is less than 10 percent of the 3 million drug addicts which is the own estimate of then Davao City Mayor Duterte when he was still not sure to join the May 9 presidential race.
Browsing from my old files, I came across a story I wrote on August 5, 2015 regarding the Davao City mayor’s declaration that the presence of some 3 million drug addicts getting their supply from at least 30,000 drug traffickers in the Philippines is a ‘clear and present danger’ which should be effectively addressed by the Duterte government.
Duterte made the revelation during a federalism forum in Barangay Borbon in Catarman, Northern Samar where he revealed that there are now 3 million drug users in the country. “If you have three million addicts, it means that you have at least 30,000 drug pushers,” he said. Considering the vast number of drug traffickers and addicts, he said that it would really have to be bloody to win the war against narcotics.
During his talk on federalism, Duterte did not reveal the source of his information on the number of drug pushers and users although his aides said he is known for keeping a close tab on developments not only in the worsening drug situation but all forms of criminality in the country. Before he officially joined the presidential race, he had lamented that President Aquino failed to mention the drug problem during his final State-of-the-Nation-Address.
“I supposed he was not given the information about the drug problem. It was only a month ago that the Manila Police District revealed that nine out of 10 youth are influenced by drugs. That is dangerous as it already involves national security,” he said then while pointing to the enormity of the drug problem as one of the reasons why he is hedging on a presidential bid.
In my article, I wrote that the tough-talking mayor does not mince words when it comes to drugs. “I told you, when you come to my city and sell drugs, I will really kill you,” he said. Duterte also lamented then that his response to the problem is instead given more importance by the administration particularly then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
As I wrote last week, hours after President Duterte reiterated his all-out war against drugs and criminality and warned that shabu financiers and pushers who will refuse to surrender will end up behind bars or dead if they so wish, PNP agents shot and killed a confirmed drug-dealing officer from the District Anti-Illegal Drugs Division of the Quezon City Police District during a gunbattle in Fairview, Q.C. My friend, QCPD director, soon-to-be Chief Superintendent Gilor Eleazar said Senior Inspector Ramon Castillo’s involvement in the ‘recycling’ of seized shabu has been duly validated by intelligence officers prompting the entrapment operation which led to his killing.
In his SONA, the President said the war on drugs won’t have any let-up ‘until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or put, either behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish.’ My own estimate shows than more than 300 armed drug dealers have been killed in gunbattles with the police since July 1, over 4,000 have been arrested and more than 134,000 confessed drug users have surrendered as a result of the ongoing PNP Project: Double Barrel and Oplan: Tokhang.
Eleazar said it pains them to see one of their colleagues dead in a shootout with his fellows. “Masakit isipin kasi me asawa at mga anak din siya pero ang mas masakit dito ay ang mga pamilya ng mga batang mabibiktima ng droga niya,” the member of PMA Class 1987 told me. Eleazar has sacked over 100 QCPD personnel as part of his program to rid the QCPD of rogues particularly anti-narcotics policemen who are supposed to be helping the police rid the streets of drugs and pushers but as it turned out, have been recycling shabu they are confiscating from drug dealers in the city and reselling them back to the streets.
Eleazar told me that prior to the deadly buy-bust operation, they have confirmed the illegal drug activities of the suspect and admitted that some of his policemen-partners are now undergoing investigation. “Sana lahat ng ating kapulisan ay tumalima, dapat tayong lahat ay maging ehemplo,” he said. The official said he is getting full support from NCRPO chief, my basketball teammate and soon-to-be Police Director Oca Albayalde in his effort to cleanse the QCPD of misfits and scalawags.
De la Rosa, a member of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 have warned that the days of rogue police officers are numbered ‘and better pack up or end up six feet down the ground if they try to put up a fight while being arrested. The official particularly warned those involved in illicit drug activities or those whom he described as ‘termites’ who mock the system to leave the service while there is still time.
Although he said that he is targeting less than one percent of the 160,000-strong police organization who are into illegal activities, de la Rosa has threatened to use all necessary force against policemen who are in cahoots with criminals particularly drug traffickers and manufacturers.
“Lahat ng approach gagawin natin mahinto lang sila,” the sharpshooting top cop told me.