Blood, cor­rup­tion in the ranks

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

Based on the ac­counts of his par­ents, Se­nior Insp. Ray­mond Hortezuela of the Ne­gros Ori­en­tal Pro­vin­cial Po­lice Of­fice was a model par­ent who never ben­e­fited nor acted as a pro­tec­tor of the il­le­gal drug trade.

“If he was a drug pro­tec­tor he would have been rich now. He would not have strug­gled to raise his fam­ily,” Hortezuela's fa­ther Wil­fredo told re­porters in Ce­buano.

The el­der Hortezuela said his son and his fam­ily lived with him and his wife in Barangay Looc, Man­daue City. In fact, Hortezuela's wife Mari­cel said he bought noo­dles for his daugh­ter for her birth­day be­fore head­ing back to head­quar­ters in Ne­gros Ori­en­tal province.

Then again, the Ne­gros Ori­en­tal Pro­vin­cial Po­lice Of­fice claimed that Hortezuela asked per­mis­sion from them to go to Cebu to at­tend a court hear­ing but he didn't pro­duce doc­u­ments show­ing that he had a court ap­point­ment.

These and other seem­ingly con­tra­dic­tory in­for­ma­tion would be sifted by the Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights (CHR) re­gional of­fice as it in­ves­ti­gates Hortezuela's death in a drug bust by Cebu po­lice last Sun­day.

Ow­ing to his rank and his ser­vice record in Cebu, it was sur­pris­ing to learn from the Po­lice Re­gional Of­fice that Hortezuela al­legedly acted as pro­tec­tor of the late Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, con­sid­ered as the top drug lord in Cen­tral Visayas and among the first ca­su­al­ties in the bloody war on il­le­gal drugs.

Hortezuela's death also came amid Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte's di­rec­tive to barangay of­fi­cials to sup­port his ad­min­is­tra­tion's re­lent­less war against il­le­gal drug traf­fick­ers whose num­bers and con­nec­tions have seem­ingly not wa­vered amid the con­tin­ued rise in ca­su­al­ties.

Part of the rea­son may stem from the en­demic cor­rup­tion per­vad­ing law en­force­ment agen­cies that have been abet­ted and fos­tered by the drug lords ever since the drug trade came about in the late part of the 20th cen­tury.

De­spite the Pres­i­dent's per­sis­tent claims that he will end the drug men­ace and while there may be signs that the drug trade is go­ing down, it won't end un­til there is lit­tle to no de­mand for these dan­ger­ous sub­stances.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion had pri­or­i­tized and touted re­lent­less vi­o­lence and dec­i­ma­tion as the fi­nal so­lu­tion to the drug men­ace with­out even con­sid­er­ing if such an ap­proach is an ef­fec­tive long term mea­sure.

Aside from barangay of­fi­cials, the Pres­i­dent should hold into ac­count the law en­forcers them­selves whose ranks are not im­mune to the lure of money and wealth promised by drug lords and yet have been given the green light to hunt down drug sus­pects even with lit­tle to no ev­i­dence.

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