MANILA — Drugs, criminality and corruption. The three primary menaces that President Rodrigo R. Duterte wants to eradicate to give Filipinos a decent life.
The tough-talking former Davao City mayor has repeatedly vowed his strong stance against these social issues.
In his speech during Monday’s send-off ceremony at Malacanang for the Philippine athletes who will represent the country in the Rio Olympics on Aug. 5-21, 2016, the President said the problem on illegal drugs, for one, flourished because the past governments had allowed it.
”I would not blame any particular administration but this problem was allowed to flourish and it has now evolved into something that’s scary for all of us,” he said
Citing Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) data, the Chief Executive said there were about three million drug addicts in the country three years ago.
He said the numbers had leaped and the problem had become widespread because “people in government itself were into it also.”
A few weeks back, the President released the names of five active and retired police officials who, he claims, are coddlers of illegal drug personalities.
They are active police generals Bernando Diaz, Joel Pagdilao, and Eduardo Tinio and retired generals Vicente Loot and Marcelo Garbo.
The President even disclosed that Garbo is a protector of level 5 drug pushers in the country, or those who are able to sell 100 kilograms or more of illegal drugs per transaction.
A chart released by the Palace to the media during a briefing showed that the drug triad in the country are composed of one Wu Tuan , alias Peter Go, who is now detained at the NBP Building 14 and is known to be the leader of Bilibid 19. He is reportedly the head of the Luzon group.
The Visayas triad is reportedly headed by a Chinese national known as Peter Lim, alias Jaguar, and who is said to be the one being protected by Garbo. Malacanang clarified that this particular “Jaguar” is a different personality from the one killed in a police operation in Las Pinas and was buried in Cebu.
Garbo is the former Police Regional Office (PRO) Director and Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRDO) of the National Police (PNP) office in Region 7 and member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1981.
Another alleged big time drug lord was identified as Herbert Colangco, alias Ampang, who is now detained at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP). He is said to be involved in kidnap-for-ransom activities and bank robberies and is connected with the Parojinog Drug Syndicate and the Kuratong Baleleng group.
Duterte said he cannot fathom the fact these officials, some of whom were graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), were financed by the state for their education.
”Then, when they are there, they become generals, they can afford to commit treason against the country. It’s a wartime crime, but among us, it’s treason,” he said.
The drive against illegal drugs has been intensified to also save people from its damaging effect .
Citing experts’ findings, the President earlier said effects of use of shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride to the brain was beyond rehabilitation.
”Remember, all of you, that I’m putting my stake at stake, my life, my honor, and even losing the presidency. Hindi ako aatras diyan ( I will not back out from this),” he stressed.
The President said no one could stop him from pursuing his goal of eradicating the drug menace.
”Not by the human rights, not by the religious, not by anybody – – except my conscience and because I have to save my country,” he said.
The government’s no let-up drive against illegal drug has resulted in the voluntary surrender of more than 70,000 drug users and pushers nationwide to date.
Duterte said the fight against illegal drugs came along with anti-corruption programs because the state needed funding on the rehabilitation of the users, among others.
He vowed for more stringent programs to collect taxes such as those from previously exempted from paying certain taxes.
In his speech during the reunion and fellowship with San Beda Law School batch ’71 and ’72 Sunday night at Malacanang, the President said the government had to address the economic situation of Filipinos.
”Drugs, criminality, and corruption — period talaga ‘yan. Corruption will stop and I will take away the privilege of mga tax exemptions na malalaki. (Drugs, criminality and corruption. Period. Corruption will stop and I will take away the privilege of having big tax exemptions),” he said.
The government’s anti-drug campaign has also resulted in the death of drug users and pushers, whom the police claim were killed after exchanging gun fires with authorities.
Duterte directed the policemen to work towards the goal of addressing the illegal drug problem but warned them against fabricating evidence.
He said the Constitution gives the President the right or power to give pardon, either conditional or absolute, or grant amnesty “with the concurrent of Congress.”
”Gamitin ko yan. Maniwala kayo (I will use that. Believe me),” he added. Joann Santiago/ PNA/ northboundasia.com