Drugs and EJKs and cop stories

TRANSFERRING ANTI-DRUG OPERATIONS TO THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency won’t basically solve the problem — neither the drug problem nor extra-judicial killings or EJK. Why? Because:

First, the PDEA has been in existence as the lead agency in anti-illegal drug operations since 2002—that’s 15 years ago, people, until Digong Duterte thrust the Philippine National Police (PNP) into the lead—yet by 2016 the drug problem was as bad as ever, if not worse. This is because the strategy has been mainly a law enforcement one, instead of a comprehensive social program of rooting out the many causes of drug addiction and drug trafficking.

Second, EJKs, including the “nanlaban” (“fought it out”) variety, have been a deeply rooted problem especially since the Marcos years, spiking dramatically during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo years and currently under Digong but always at worrisome levels under all presidencies. Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, GMA, Noynoy Aquino—all of them bear responsibility in their own time. This is because the PNP (not to mention the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with its heavier firepower) has always been hobbled with a cankerous tradition of killing “suspects” for the flimsiest reason (thus the nanlaban excuse). Most of those cops involved in such cases go scot-free, and no president has ever admitted at the end that they failed to solve this problem.

Until these two problems and the government failures in solving them are deeply assessed and discussed publicly by all stakeholders, and the worst cases involving top officials are thoroughly investigated, tried in public, and promptly meted justice (not merely to languish in detention for a couple of years until released and cleared by the next regime)—until then, why should we hope that things will be different this time around? Asa ka pa. #

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