A SOLDIER’s soldier, retired Constabulary General Bienvenido L. Felix, the 1st commanding officer of the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit which arrested and sent Chinese heroin manufacturer Lim Seng to the firing squad in 1972 passed away on Wednesday. He was 94.
Felix served as first commanding officer of the Philippine Constabulary CANU which was activated on February 16, 1972 to enforce Philippine laws on drugs specifically Republic Act 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.
RA 6425 was replaced by RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
One of CANU’s first major accomplishments then was an anti-narcotics operation which led the arrest of two American ex-GIs or soldiers and the seizure of several quantities of heroin.
That arrest led to a series of follow-up operations which resulted in the identification and arrest of Lim Seng alias ‘Gan Sou So’ and the dismantling of his heroin-making laboratories in Quezon City and Caloocan City.
Lim Seng’s public execution by firing squad on orders of the President Ferdinand Marcos wiped out the heroin problem in the country. Nearly 47 years after the Lim Seng case, the Duterte government is still waging a war on drugs which so far has led in the killing of over 6,600 armed drug personalities following shootouts with the police since July 2016.
There is also a growing clamor to return the death penalty for drugs with former Philippine National Police chief,, now Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa proposing death by firing squad for big-time drug traffickers.
Then Colonel Felix served as CANU commanding officer for eight years before the unit was renamed as the Armed Forces’ Narcotics Command on February 1, 1983.
In 2015, pioneers of the defunct CANU recounted to the Journal Group how the death of Lim Seng ushered in a new era in fighting drugs in the country.
They invited this reporter to a simple lunch as they paid tribute to Felix, the man whom they said really brought down Lim Seng that year.
“General Felix was a tough but God-fearing officer who saw to it that we will respect human rights, who demanded that no drug user will be beaten but should be rehabilitated while we go after the traffickers,” said retired Col. Meynard Beltran, a CANU original member who later became the deputy director of the now defunct PNP Narcotics Command, the forerunner of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the PNP Drug Enforcement Group which is marking its 2nd founding anniversary today.
Another CANU pioneer, retired Brig. Gen. Enrique Cuadra, told the Journal Group that shortly after he was recruited by Felix to join his unit, he was tasked to literally “pick-up” dozens of heroin addicts lurking on the streets of Tondo, Manila.
Gen. Felix’s remains now lie in state at Paz Memorial Chapel in Manila Memorial Park of Paranaque City. He will be laid to his final resting place with honors tomorrow.