The clear and present danger that illegal drugs is posing to the country, what with the discovery of hundreds of millions of pesos worth of ‘floating cocaine’ in many parts of Luzon and Mindanao and the admission by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that the drugs came from Colombia has strengthened my resolve that Filipinos need to elect a senator that would really help, not undermine President Duterte’s war on drugs.
One candidate foremost on my mind is former Philippine National Police chief, now retired General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa whom everybody knows is as tough as a rock when it comes to fully implementing the crackdown on illegal narcotics ordered by the President shortly after he assumed the presidency in 2016.
‘Bato’ actually started the ball rolling when he launched a real ‘bloody’ war on drugs by ordering his men to shoot armed drug dealers in self-defense and always saying that he prefers to see a dead drug trafficker in the street than paying tribute to a cop shot dead by an armed aggressor.
The man was on a mission when he led the crackdown saying he is not doing it for himself and his family alone but doing it for the sake of the entire Filipino people, the children in particular who are really exposed to the danger posed by drug fiends, whether they are in school, in the confines of their homes or while out there playing in the streets.
The classmate from Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 of current PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde really knows that despite the gains of the Duterte administration in the campaign against drugs, much needs to be done since the problem still remains despite our authorities having put a mild dent on it.
Although more than 5,000 armed drug personalities have been killed in gunbattles with the police since July 2016 and there have been more than 100,000 recorded arrests contributing to jail overcrowding, the drug problem remains as it continues to be a main fare of the press, the nightly television newscasts and the daily radio broadcasts and newspaper reports.
Rapes, robbery-holdups and murders being committed by individuals under the influence of drugs in Metro Manila and the rest of the country is not a rarity and the PDEA revelation that Colombian drug syndicates have been smuggling cocaine in the locality really pose a clear danger to the national security. Add to that the presence of rogues in uniform and the government who are directly or indirectly involved in illicit drug trafficking and abuse and we have a powderkeg always ready to explode.
When he was still the Chief,PNP, ‘Bato’ used to tell the press that cocaine is an expensive drug which Filipinos cannot afford. It’s the reason why local drug users have resorted to shabu or the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine,” he said. However, he is now of the belief that there is the possibility that cocaine may soon become another favorite drug of abuse in the country next to cocaine, marijuana and Ecstasy with the way they are being found in our coastlines.
Another thing that worries me is the case of the beautiful 19-year old Ashley Abad who is believed to have died of Ecstasy overdose while attending a pre-Sinulog party in Ceb City last month. Although the presence of party drugs being sold and used in concerts is not new, I am really afraid that there would be more Ashleys in the future if the government will be remiss in its job.
‘Bato’ says there is really a major need to address both problems on drug ‘supply and demand’ in the country. The former national police chief has noted that there should be an honest-to-goodness investigation on why all of a sudden, bricks of cocaine which like shabu is very dangerous, are suddenly floating in the country’s waters.
‘Bato’ says that the PNP, the PDEA, the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Customs and other law enforcement authorities in the airports and seaports must really partner in addressing the threat. However, there should also be much tougher legislations that will beef up law enforcement efforts, he said.
If he were to be asked, ‘Bato’ wants the return of the capital punishment on convicted drug traffickers and rapists and murderers who were found to be high on drugs when they committed their crimes. Take it from an expert who has mustered the full support of the Filipino citizenry during his term as PNP chief. No ‘ningas-cogon’ campaign, there’s no such word as surrender in this campaign, he said.
‘Bato’ is speaking from the heart and he is known for that. The poor man’s son from Barangay Bato, Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur’s worst imagined fear is that some day, drug lords will reign in the country and we will be seeing anew the return of rogues in uniform specifically the dreaded ‘Ninja Cops’ should the battle abruptly stops after the Duterte presidency is over. Reading the list of the Comelec-approved list of senatoriables, it seems to me that ‘Bato’ is the only expert when it comes to really fighting drugs. It’s the very same reason why we need him in the Senate.