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What if Duterte was not the president today?

  • Written by Itchie Cabayan
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 375

Condolences to the family of Cristina Cawaling Esperas, mother of veteran newsmen Raoul Esperas of DWIZ and Rudy. She passed away recently due to a lingering illness at the age of 73. Her  remains lie in state at the Arlington Memorial Chapel Hall C on Araneta Avenue in Quezon City and will be cremated on October 12 (Wednesday) after an 8 a.m. Mass. Their family requests relatives and friends to pray for the eternal repose of her soul. To the Esperas family, our deepest condolences.

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Only recently, I bumped into an old acquaintance and invited her to dinner just nearby,  so we can do some catching up. What I heard from her made me realize all the more how indeed, the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country has reached menacing heights like never before.
   
My friend was problematic over her brother and the latter’s only child both being hooked heavily on drugs. Only months back, her nephew got mauled by an angry mob after he got involved in a holdup incident. Their preoccupation with drugs left both father and son jobless and my friend fending for them and their mother. She also had to produce P20,000 in grease money so her nephew could be released from jail.
   
The situation is sad since they are but a few in the family. Their dad’s been long gone and they are only two siblings with one child each. Her brother and nephew surrendered recently but since they haven’t stopped using drugs, she now fears for their lives. She hopes that instead of ending up dead, her brother and nephew be put behind bars, in the hope that incarceration can still reform them.
   
Before she could ask my say on the matter, I decided to change the topic so I wouldn’t have to lie to her because actually, I don’t share her opinion at all. Not only because of the recent revelations on how drugs abound even in the maximum security section of the National Bilibid Prison.
   
As far as I know, the drug problem had been there for the longest time. At least two decades ago, a businessman-friend of mine was framed for murder.  He was tagged as a suspect in the disappearance of his wife.  He was a rich, former commercial model and given his looks, he, easily, could give then heartthrob Gabby Concepcion a run for his money.
   
His wife was cheating on him and had him framed for her alleged disappearance, with the help of her influential lover. In the absence of a corpus delicti, my friend ended up spending time in jail while the case against him was being heard and the supposed murdered body is found.
   
One afternoon, I was beating the deadline at our press office in Manila City Hall when I was told I have a visitor. I was surprised to find out that it was my jailed friend.  He was wearing the prison uniform and his hands were cuffed.
   
Apparently having developed a certain degree of familiarity with his escorts, he was allowed to pay me a visit. While we were talking, I noticed how ugly his erstwhile perfect skin had become. Well, that was quite understandable given the deplorable condition of our jails.
   
What really caught my attention was his teeth. Before his detention, my friend had a relatively good set of teeth which he took really much care of since he was a commercial model and a bit vain. At that very moment, I noticed how nearly all his teeth have been deformed and cramped on one side of his gum.
   
I wasn’t able to help it and asked what happened to his teeth. He told me in a whispering voice that it was the effect of heavy drug usage. I admonished him and told him to stop using drugs so he could still take care of his two very young kids once he is cleared of the charges.
   
Tearfully, he told me he had no choice because those who don’t do drugs inside the jail are automatically suspected of snitching on fellow inmates who either use or push drugs while in detention. He also said that if you are branded as a snitch,  you are either killed or become a perennial punching bag and subject of various forms of torture that you would end up begging to be killed.  He made me promise I won’t write about it if I really cared about him.
   
Imagine, that friend of mine was totally ‘clean’ before he got jailed. He avoided smoking and drinking because he was also a singer. When we would hang out in his bar, he would have milk while the rest of us had alcohol. Lamentably, it was during incarceration that he learned to use drugs, albeit against his will. How can this happen when incarceration is supposed to be meant to reform the supposed law offenders?
   
If only for this, I am among those who are thankful that President Duterte came our way. He maybe committing wrong in some things, but he is bent on licking the drug problem which has become the new root of all evil.
   
With all the fatal drug operations and arrests being made, known personalities are still being netted one after another. This only goes to show that those deep into illegal drugs have no intention whatsoever to stop or reform and that no amount of threats, even to their lives, can make them stop. Not even the seriousness of the anti-drug campaign launched by Duterte.
   
Can you imagine if our president happens to be someone who does not hate drugs as much as Duterte does? We’ll be in truly, deep shit.

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Jokjok (from Cory Villa of Iligan City) Husband to nagging wife: Kandila ka ba?/Wife: Baket?/Husband: Kasi gusto kitang hipan para mamatay ka na!!!

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