Tat­toos, bank waivers must not de­rail drug probe

Tempo - - News -

THE Se­nate Blue Rib­bon in­quiry on how 600 ki­los of shabu val­ued at ₱6.4 bil­lion man­aged to es­cape de­tec­tion at the Bu­reau of Cus­toms has given rise to many side is­sues and dis­putes that have ac­tu­ally seized the head­lines from the cus­toms in­quiry it­self.

There is the mat­ter of the tat­too. Sen. An­to­nio Tril­lanes IV al­leged that Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, the Pres­i­dent’s son, had a dragon tat­too with coded num­bers on his back, iden­ti­fy­ing him as a mem­ber of the “Triad,” an Asian crime syn­di­cate. Asked to bare his back to show the tat­too, the vice mayor de­clined, claim­ing his right to pri­vacy. But he said later he would show the tat­too in due time.

Then there is the mat­ter of bank waivers. Pres­i­dent Duterte, speak­ing in Ca­gayan de Oro, said Se­na­tor Tril­lanes had been crit­i­ciz­ing him and his fam­ily, ac­cus­ing him of hav­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in his bank ac­counts. The Pres­i­dent said it is Tril­lanes who has big bank ac­counts abroad. The se­na­tor re­sponded by sign­ing a waiver to al­low any bank to dis­close his al­leged ac­counts. He, in turn, dared the Pres­i­dent to sign his own waiver – which the Pres­i­dent de­clined, say­ing if the se­na­tor wants ev­i­dence, he should not get it from him, the Pres­i­dent.

And then there is for­mer Cus­toms Com­mis­sioner Ni­canor Fael­don re­fus­ing to fur­ther an­swer ques­tions in the Se­nate in­quiry. Sen­a­tors Tril­lanes and Pan­filo Lac­son had ac­cused him of ac­cept­ing “tara” from smug­glers but Fael­don charged that the sen­a­tors were con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion “in aid of per­se­cu­tion” while in­vok­ing par­lia­men­tary im­mu­nity.

We can ex­pect noth­ing fur­ther to de­velop in any of th­ese cases. No of­fi­cial de­ci­sion will be reached. The prin­ci­pal char­ac­ters in th­ese side sto­ries are all bank­ing that the gen­eral pub­lic will sup­port their re­spec­tive causes. They all hope that they will win the bat­tles for pub­lic opin­ion.

We just hope that in all th­ese ma­neu­ver­ing, in all the pub­lic state­ments and coun­ter­state­ments, the ba­sic prob­lem is not for­got­ten – which is how 600,000 grams of shabu made it through cus­toms at a time when the na­tional gov­ern­ment is wag­ing a war on drugs.

Thou­sands of drug push­ers and ad­dicts have been killed in this war, many cases in­volv­ing just a few grams of shabu. We fear that many more will suf­fer be­cause of thou­sands of grams of shabu that may have al­ready passed through Cus­toms and other points along our por­ous bor­ders. The dis­putes over tat­toos, bank waivers, and Se­nate “per­se­cu­tion” must not be al­lowed to de­rail the ef­fort to stop the en­try of shabu into the coun­try, which is at the cen­ter of our drug prob­lem.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.