Drug money will be a key factor in the midterm elections next year which President Rodrigo Duterte vowed yesterday to stop through an anti-illegal drug campaign using the full force of the government.
“Look at the elections, wait and see. Drug money will play (a big role),” Mr. Duterte said during a Cabinet meeting late Tuesday.
“I will issue a memorandum circular directing the entire government machinery to mobilize its assets and to take an active
role in government’s anti-illegal drug campaign nationwide,” he said.
The President added he wanted to create a task force on anti-illegal drugs composed of different law enforcement agencies.
“What we have are steps to move forward in eradicating the illegal drugs trade which is to activate a National Anti-illegal Drug Task Force,” Mr. Duterte said.
He added the task force will be composed of units from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BoC), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other agencies of the government.
“It can provide a necessary personal complement to carry out the directive of the President to the Bureau of Customs to block the flow of illegal drugs in this country,” Duterte said.
The President is stepping up the anti-narcotics program after some P6.8 billion worth of shabu (crystal meth) slipped past the Port of Manila at the BoC last August.
“It’s actually a national security problem because the drugs that passed through Customs weigh a ton,” Mr. Duterte said.
The President also blasted the Parojinog family of Ozamiz City whom he has linked to the narcotics trade.
“The siblings that were left and the relatives of Parojinog, they ordered the killing of even the judge,” he said.
The late Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. was among those killed in the series of drug raids in their homes on 30 July last year.
Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog and her brother, Reynaldo Parojinog Jr., were arrested and are currently detained on cases of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal possession of explosives and dangerous drugs.
The judge handling their cases was killed on October 8. The Parojinogs immediately denied involvement and called on authorities to investigate and arrest the perpetrators.
Job well done
Members of the Philippine National Police-Counterintelligence Task Force are also being hailed for the killing of an alleged “ninja cop” included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called narco-list and are expected to be rewarded by Malacañang.
PNP-CITF operatives on Monday night conducted a drug bust in Dipolog City to apprehended rogue officer Supt. Santiago Rapiz.
Rapiz, a logistics officer of the Zamboanga del Norte PNP, reportedly resisted arrest and fought with the arresting team and attempted to escape that resulted in his death.
He was among the personalities on Duterte’s watchlist for allegedly recycling confiscated narcotics and for coddling drug lord Melvin Odicta who was killed in Aklan in 2016.
“That’s right. I am going to reward that policeman, any policeman who will kill a superior because the superior is into drugs, I will give you a prize. A trip to Hong Kong or perhaps you would want to convert it into money,” the President said.
He also stressed that there is no place in government for uniformed men involved in drugs and reminded that his offer of a P3-million reward still stands for any individual who could give a tip that would lead to the arrest of erring members of the police force.
““Me, I’m determined. I’m ready to do anything at all. Anything just to stop this (problem of illegal drugs). I will go to the extremes. Anything,” Duterte expressed.
The Chief Executive repeated his claim of illegal drugs being a national problem and his administration is hard-pressed in solving it if people in public service like policemen and local executives are involved.
“The police are there and everybody else, even those… even the mayors. You watch out. And I also warned the barangay captains. I will get to you. One way or the other I’ll catch you. If I do, then I’m sorry,” the President cautioned.
The President also ordered Customs Chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero to intensify the agency counterintelligence measures, especially in preventing illegal drugs and other contraband from entering the country.
“Corruption is rampant there. And not only corruption of money, but also drugs, tons. Why? Where does that go? If I don’t close that gap there, where will that shabu go? Those that have slipped under their watch, there’s nothing we can do about it anymore. It’s being sold now,” Duterte expressed during a lecture with his Cabinet in Malacañang on Tuesday night.
The Chief Executive ordered a top-to-bottom cleansing of the BoC and instructed Guerrero to tap personnel from technical units of the different branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help in the agency’s day-to-day operations.
It is not a militarization of a civilian office, Duterte stressed, but rather for “law and order.” As of the last estimate, around 650 Customs employees will need to be replaced or reassigned.
Training of soldiers set
Soldiers who will be deployed in Customs will undergo extensive training once Guerrero submits his list of needed personnel and procedures and guidelines to be implemented.
“You have one million six drug addicts under my watch. And these guys are reduced to slavery. They are slaves to a chemical called shabu on a layman’s term. That’s the problem.
There is trouble outside the port because those who man the port are the ones letting drugs in,” the President stated.