Drug links

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

Though the Cebu provincial po­lice was right in brush­ing aside al­le­ga­tions that the ar­rest of Lag­tang Barangay Chair­man Mark Fer­di­nand Bas was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated, it was pre­sump­tu­ous of Se­nior Supt. Eric Noble, Cebu provincial po­lice chief, to think that those who op­posed Bas’ ar­rest were also in­volved in il­le­gal drugs.

“For me, if one is an­gry about it, then maybe that per­son is also in­volved in drugs, don’t you think? After all, Bas is al­ready a high-value tar­get,” Noble said in Ta­ga­log.

Noble was re­act­ing to re­ports that Supt. Emer­son Dante, Tal­isay City po­lice chief, ad­mit­ted that some Tal­isay City of­fi­cials called him up to stop him from or­der­ing the ar­rest of Bas.

In­ter­est­ingly, Bas’ father, Tal­isay City Coun­cilor Ar­turo Bas, chairs Tal­isay City’s Peace and Or­der Coun­cil, and he re­port­edly wasn’t in­formed about the op­er­a­tion against his son who al­legedly has ties to self-con­fessed drug lord Franz Sa­bal­lones.

Still, Noble’s state­ment was a bit sweep­ing, con­sid­er­ing that those of­fi­cials who op­posed Bas’ ar­rest may have done so for purely po­lit­i­cal rea­sons — that is, po­lit­i­cal sup­port and the ar­rest may jeop­ar­dize said sup­port ei­ther to the ad­min­is­tra­tion or op­po­si­tion party.

On the other side of the fence, the el­der Bas sim­ply can­not ac­cuse Noble or the provincial po­lice of par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal mo­tives for ar­rest­ing his son with­out any proof what­so­ever that would dis­prove the barangay chair­man’s al­leged drug links.

Though a raid in the younger Bas’ home yielded one gun, a grenade and am­mu­ni­tion but no drugs, Camp Crame’s in­tel­li­gence re­ports stated that the barangay chair­man is al­legedly a level-two drug pusher who can sell 200 to 500 grams of drugs worth P2 mil­lion to P5 mil­lion weekly.

In­stead of tak­ing on Noble, Coun­cilor Bas should use his post to ques­tion Camp Crame di­rectly. As it is, the bur­den of proof lies squarely on his son who will have to face the mu­sic.

If any­thing, the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ten­si­fied war against il­le­gal drugs has placed lo­cal of­fi­cials on the de­fen­sive since they are now be­ing called into ac­count for what they have done or are do­ing in sup­port­ing the said war.

Coun­cilor Bas can use as ref­er­ence the sus­pen­sion of Barangay Er­mita Chair­man Feli­cisimo Rupinta and his fel­low of­fi­cials by the Om­buds­man-Visayas based on the com­plaint of the re­gional Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA-7) that they failed to sup­port their raid in a shabu tiangge (flea mar­ket) last De­cem­ber.

Barangay Chair­man Bas’ ar­rest should also serve to re­in­force Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s warn­ing to of­fi­cials tied to drugs — from the high­est ech­e­lons of na­tional gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cracy to the grass­roots level — to stop com­pletely lest they face a worse fate.

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