The temp­ta­tion of drugs and money Trolls

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

THE lure of easy money ob­tained thru ille gal means such as the pos­ses­sion of, dis tri­b­u­tion and sale of dan­ger­ous drugs par­tic­u­larly ‘shabu’ has claimed an­other vic­tim, this time a high rank­ing of­fi­cer of the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) who is on Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s “nar­col­ist”.

What­ever any­body might say the plain and sim­ple truth is that the ap­peal of mak­ing so much money out of the sale of small pack­ets of the il­le­gal drug ‘shabu’ has led so many of our coun­try­men into the path of perdi­tion.

The re­cent death of po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent San­ti­ago Ylanan Rapiz, lo­gis­tics chief of the Zam­boanga Del Norte po­lice re­veals that even agents of the gov­ern­ment and those sup­pos­edly in­volved in the cam­paign to rid the coun­try of pro­hib­ited drugs are not them­selves im­mune to the poi­son of il­le­gal drugs.

But what is more dis­turb­ing is that de­spite the fact that po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent Rapiz has al­ready been iden­ti­fied as ei­ther a pro­tec­tor or a dis­trib­u­tor of ‘shabu’ and thus in­cluded in the nar­col­ist of the pres­i­dent he con­tin­ued to en­joy, up to the time of his be­ing killed by un­der­cover agents from the PNP Counter-In­tel­li­gence Task Force (CITF) and the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA), the perks and ben­e­fits of his of­fice as well as pos­si­bly go­ing to work reg­u­larly as a cop.

There is a clear and present dan­ger posed to the pub­lic when a sus­pected po­lice scalawag is al­lowed to con­tinue in­ter­act­ing with the or­di­nary cit­i­zens con­sid­er­ing the in­flu­ence and au­thor­ity that can be ex­erted to ei­ther co­erce, coopt, or worse ma­nip­u­late or­di­nary in­di­vid­u­als seek­ing the as­sis­tance of a gov­ern­ment of­fice.

From a prac­ti­cal and log­i­cal point of view the gov­ern­ment might have to con­sider putting un­der pre­ven­tive sus­pen­sion or re­stric­tive cus­tody those agents in au­thor­ity such as po­lice­men al­ready iden­ti­fied and in­cluded in a val­i­dated ‘nar­col­ist’ in­stead of still al­low­ing them the free­dom of move­ment and in­ter­ac­tion with the pub­lic.

For all in­tents and pur­poses the late su­per­in­ten­dent Rapiz might have used his of­fice to ad­vance his in­ter­ests in the il­le­gal op­er­a­tion of ‘shabu’.

While we fol­low the le­gal dic­tum that one is in­no­cent un­til proven oth­er­wise the grav­ity of the of­fense as well as the na­ture of the of­fice in­volved should be care­fully con­sid­ered and weighed in de­ter­min­ing whether a gov­ern­ment agent sus­pected of be­ing in­volved in il­le­gal drugs should be al­lowed to con­tinue in of­fice or pend­ing the de­ter­mi­na­tion of his li­a­bil­ity or guilt.

The pub­lic must be pro­tected at all times and the gov­ern­ment must do its ut­most to guar­an­tee that there is no whiff or scent of mis­deed or il­le­gal­ity in the daily work of the au­thor­i­ties es­pe­cially the mem­bers of the PNP who are sup­posed to have sworn to pro­tect the lives and prop­erty of the peo­ple.

AFEW years ago there was this quar­rel among some peo­ple in the me­dia stem ming from the pur­suit of eth­i­cal stan­dards. Some­body nat­u­rally ze­roed in on those cov­er­ing the Bureau of Cus­toms (BOC) beat. The BOC, af­ter all, is a mag­net for the cor­rupt prac­ti­tion­ers and the so­called “haoshiao” me­dia peo­ple or “ko-me­dya” and the so-called “Fri­day Club” of old.

Again, that was years ago and I don’t know how the BOC is be­ing cov­ered now by the Cebu me­dia. That “some­body” who crit­i­cized the cov­er­age of the BOC in Cebu did take it upon him­self to do the cov­er­ing him­self.

As an old hand in the cov­er­age of the BOC would later tell me, the critic nat­u­rally got stumped when he went to the BOC be­cause he was clue­less of the pro­ce­dure and where the pos­si­ble sources of cor­rup­tion were. He didn’t know where to start his sleuthing. He even­tu­ally let go and never went back to the BOC again.

I re­mem­ber that story when Pres­i­dent Duterte de­ployed the mil­i­tary to watch over the run­ning of the BOC. The mil­i­tary per­son­nel can be at the BOC premises all they want, but as long as they are clue­less about how the agency is be­ing run, all that they can do is in­tim­i­date the BOC per­son­nel and hope they will change ways by in­tim­i­da­tion. Aside from that, they could not do any­thing much.

Cor­rup­tion in the bu­reau­cracy, like the il­le­gal drugs trade, are com­plex prob­lems. That is pre­cisely why both have sur­vived through the years. In­tim­i­da­tion alone can’t solve these prob­lems. As they say, com­pli­cated prob­lems can only be solved us­ing in­tri­cate so­lu­tions. De­ploy­ing the mil­i­tary is too sim­plis­tic an ap­proach and may not work by its lone­some.

Ev­ery­thing has been silent so far at the BOC front. It would be in­ter­est­ing to find out what is hap­pen­ing there days af­ter the mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment.

***

The trolls are in­tact, or their pres­ence may even have been strength­ened with the 2019 midterm elec­tions just around the bend. Or at least that is what I could glean from the re­port about the killing of Charie Mae Man­cia, who was found in­side her room with mul­ti­ple stab wounds in the neck and other parts of her body Sun­day (Nov. 4) dawn. The re­port posted on Face­book im­me­di­ately at­tracted trolls.

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