New Year jolt

By Artchil B. Fernandez

Du30 and his administration are jolted at the beginning of the New Year with a deadly blow on his flagship program delivered by Vice President Leni Robredo. She made public her report on the problem of illegal drugs in the country during her short stint as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD). The report exposed the hypocrisy and failure of the bloody and gory war against illegal drugs relentlessly waged by the present administration.

What angered Du30 and his officials is the sharp and cold conclusion of Robredo’s report. “A massive failure,” the report declared on Du30’s most cherished program. “It’s very clear that based on the official data, in spite of all the Filipinos killed and all the money spent, not more than 1 percent had been constricted from the supply of shabu and money earned from the drug trade,” Robredo assessed. “If this were an exam,” she added, “the government’s score would be 1 over 100.”

Instead of arguing with the facts, Du30 and his henchmen reacted with fury, throwing filth and dirt to Vice President Robredo. Fake news propagator Lorraine Badoy responded to the report by angrily calling Robredo “the most stupid, the most lazy, the most incompetent vice president this country has ever had.” Bato de la Rosa, the chief implementor of the brutal war on drugs exclaimed Robredo is “ignorant” while presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo dismissed the report as a “dud.” Du30 derided Robredo as a disaster and a catastrophe. The vitriol and fury from Du30 and his minions indicate that the report hit a raw nerve which irritated them.

When one starts throwing mud it means one is losing ground and has lost the argument. Aside from calling Vice President Robredo names and abusing her person, Du30 and his partners-in-crime are not able to refute the main contentions of Robredo’s report nor did they present facts to support their position. Name-calling is indeed the refuge of the dull and the ignorant.

Using data from the Drug Enforcement Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Robredo exposed the failure of the pet project of Du30. The PNP claimed that drug users consume 3,000 kilograms of shabu per week or 156,000 kilograms per year. Data reveal that in 2017 the PNP managed to seize only 1,053.91 kilograms. In 2018, a measly 785.31 kilograms of shabu were confiscated and in 2019, merely 1,344.87 kilograms. Facts do not lie and if one goes by the figures, the disparity between the shabu that is circulating in the country and what the PNP confiscated in a year is staggering. This alone shows that the campaign against illegal drugs is a total failure.

Moreover, Robredo revealed that the PNP estimated that in a year, around Php 1.3 trillion worth of shabu money circulates in the country. Of this amount, the PNP admitted it was able to seize a paltry Php 1.4 billion. “The 3,000 kilos of shabu per week is worth P25 billion. This means that P1.3 trillion is the value of shabu being circulated each year. But also according to the official data, only P1.4 billion was constrained by AMLC from 2017 up to 2018… This is less than 1 percent of the money circulating from the drug trade.”

Given the scale of failure of the campaign to eliminate illegal drugs, Vice President Robredo was forced to declare. “We were able to constrict less than 1 percent of the total supply of shabu and money earned from drugs… If this were an exam, the government’s score would be 1/100. From this data, we can see that there’s a need to change the strategy.”

Vice President Robredo then concluded. “It is really a failure because the campaign against illegal drugs has so many aspects but the street level enforcement became the only focus. Even if this is done every day if the supply constriction is not given attention… the problem is never really going to end.”

Du30 and his minions may huff and puff in anger but such childish reaction will not alter the facts or change the actual situation. The war on drugs is not just a failure but is a fake. Their only indicator of its success is the number of people killed in the war.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) confirmed that 5,526 people died in the bloody war while PNP data show over 6,600 were killed. Human rights groups estimate that the number is as high as 27,000 if killings of vigilantes and motorcycle riding-in-tandems are included.

The high number of deaths but paltry confiscation of illegal drugs and drug money highlights the fakeness of the war against illegal drugs. Du30 wrongly assumed that slaughtering people is the quickest and easiest way to end this scourge. The mass killing of people without addressing the supply side is not only a wrong approach but makes the campaign a farce.

Government figures obtained by Vice President Robredo during her short-lived co-chair of ICAD exposed that Du30 is not really serious in getting rid of the country of illegal drugs. The heavy focus on the demand side while neglecting the supply side made the public suspicious that there is a sinister agenda in the bloody campaign.

Filipinos have yet to see the apprehension of big-time drug lords and their prosecution. Some provincial drug-lords were killed but those who operate the illegal drug trade nationally are spared of the onslaught. Suspected drug lords like Peter Lim left the country and disappeared without trace. Du30 refuse to condemn China and continue to worship its leaders like a love-struck teenager despite being the main source of shabu entering the Philippines.

Vice President Robredo’s report outraged Du30 and company for it revealed the duplicity of the bloody and brutal war against illegal drugs.