I FULLY agree with President Duterte when he spoke last Friday before troops in Sulu and said his critics are pouncing on him and the Philippine National Police for the death of hundreds of armed drug traffickers in the country but failed miserably in denouncing countless innocent lives which have been lost as a result of drug-crazed criminals.
The thorny issue ‘curtailing human rights in the name of national security’ again would be in the fore when PNP chief, General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa and his men go to the Senate to face modern-day inquisitors who were silent when fathers, mothers and their children were massacred in their homes or shot or stabbed to death by criminals who confessed to be high on drugs when they committed their crimes.
Having been a PNP reporter since 1988, I have written hundreds, even thousands of stories about women and young girls who were raped and killed by addicts who attacked them inside their homes or while walking on the streets, about fathers who were robbed and killed by addicts while on their way home, about massacres perpetrated by evil personified, all in drugs.
I can’t forget the case of a family who was surprised by a gang of heavily-armed drug addicts-robbers in their home a few years ago. After hogtying them, the suspects had their eyes on the young terrified girl and tried to bring her to her bedroom. Helpless, the girl’s mother, still in her 30s cried and offered herself to the suspects. Yes, the woman did the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ and allowed herself to be raped by the suspects just to save her daughter.
After they were finished with her, one of the suspects shot the woman’s husband killing him on the spot before fleeing with their loot. I won’t give you more details to protect the identities of the victims but a few years ago, the slain man’s mother surfaced at the office of a friend-a police general-and thanked him for giving justice to her son. It turned out that after months of manhunt operation, the devil who had raped another hapless woman in a Luzon province was arrested and died while grappling for the gun of an officer.
I also won’t forget the case of a beautiful teenager who was with her sister when the jeepney they were riding in was held up by a group of knife-wielding addicts somewhere in Quezon City. After divesting the passengers of their cash and other valuables, the suspects took a fancy on the teenager and said he will be taking her in their escape. The terrified teenager jumped out of the moving jeep and landed on the pavement head first. She died while being taken to a hospital.
A policeman-friend told me that all of them worked overtime to give justice to the teenager who dreamed of one day being a doctor. He whispered to me that by luck, they tracked down two of the suspects who were also killed while grabbing the guns of their escorts. My friend told me they worked overtime to get the killers since almost all of them in their precinct had young daughters too and won’t like their precious kids to suffer the poor teenager’s fate.
There were also the countless cases of very young girls, many of them in grade schools who were raped and killed by addicts, their heads bashed with a piece of rock. I remember one particular case in Mindanao where a poor grade schooler was waylaid by a known drug dependent. The girl, known for walking a few kilometers just to go to school everyday failed to return home after her class is over prompting a wide search for her.
Her worn-out slipper, found by one of the searchers led police to the victim. I was told that her body was found near a river under a bridge, her pants down and her head bashed with a big piece of stone. A forensic examination showed she was raped. A police general-friend told me they caught the killer who confessed to the crime and said he did it after sniffing shabu and drinking cheap brandy. I asked my friend to give justice to the poor girl and her family.
A few days later, I learned that the suspect jumped out of a moving police patrol jeep and banged his head on the pavement and died instantly. The vehicle was running at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour when the suspect, his hands cuffed behind his back made his daring escape. It’s up for you to imagine what really happened.
These are among the real-life stories which make me believe that President Duterte is right in ordering a real war versus drugs. Again, I will quote President Duterte when he made his fist State-of-the-Nation-Address and said “human rights must work to uplift human dignity but human rights cannot be used as a shield or an excuse to destroy the country.’ The question is: what is our sin to these shabu manufacturers and dealers that they keep on producing and selling drugs in the streets?
The President said the war versus drugs will not stop ‘until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or are put, either behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish.’ However, the public must be told that the number of drug pushers and users accounted so far by the PNP is just more than 10 percent of the President’s figure, thus expect more armed suspects to be killed in the coming days.
I’m making this bold prediction aware of the fact that during his presidential campaign, the former Davao City mayor said there are 3 million drug addicts in the country who are getting their supply from at least 30,000 drug traffickers in The Philippines. This really is a ‘clear and present danger’ which past governments specifically the former Aquino administration failed to miserably address.
The President and Gen. de la Rosa really don’t mince words when it comes to drugs, thus their speeches are profanity-laced to show their frustration over drugs. Gen. de la Rosa said he is ready to attend the August 22-23 Senate investigation on the unexplained killings of suspected drug dealers in the country and defend his men who have shot dead over 500 armed suspects in reported gunbattles across the country since last July 1.
The country’s top cop minced no words in proclaiming that ‘the only good drug lord is a dead drug lord’ and would prefer that drug traffickers end up dead in shootouts with the police rather than attend the hero’s burial of a cop killed in a firefight with armed suspects. ““Totohanan ito, Personally, mas gusto ko silang mamatay kesa magkakaso-kaso pa kami kasi napakapowerful talaga nila. Talagang mayayaman itong mga drug lords. Kaya nilang baliktarin ang mga kaso. Para wala nang kaso, dapat mamatay na lang silang derecho,” Gen. de la Rosa said.
The PNP Chief said everybody must understand what he, President Duterte and the majority of the Filipino feels over the failure of past governments and law enforcement authorities to really address the major threat posed by illegal drug trafficking and abuse in the country. “You can just imagine the frustration of the Filipino people and my frustration,” he said.
Gen. de la Rosa is maintaining that as a truly professional organization, the PNP will always follow the law and its standard operating procedures when performing its mandate and also reiterated that he is not in favor of extrajudicial killings, summary killings, and vigilantism. However, he will be ranged against some lawmakers expected to grandstand again. Let’s watch how the PNP will address questions from Senator Leila de Lima, the former Justice Secretary who made many laugh when she gave special attention to the case of a TV host-comedian who was badly mauled due to his romantic liaisons a few years ago.