EDITORIAL - Irresistible
(The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2016 - 9:00am

Anti-narcotics agents denied accusations of a frame-up. Reports said the combined teams from the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s Special Enforcement Service were initially confused after pouncing on a suspected shabu laboratory and finding the former chief of the PDEA’s SEF in the company of one of the wanted drug traffickers.

Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino is not the first military officer to be implicated in drug deals, but he is the most prominent because of his background in the PDEA.

Marcelino claimed he was conducting undercover work, but so far, no military or police enforcement unit has bolstered his claim. PDEA officials said they are looking into cases handled by Marcelino to detect hints of his previous involvement in drug trafficking.

The raiders said they found 75 kilos of shabu with an estimated street value of P356 million in the townhouse in Sta. Cruz, Manila where Marcelino was found sitting in a couch when the team barged in. That’s a lot of shabu and an immense amount of dirty money.

Around the world, huge profits and a sustained large demand have ensured the continued flourishing of the illegal drug trade. In the Philippines, convicted drug traffickers not only live it up but also continue running their business from the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa.

In countries with serious drug problems, the illegal trade is abetted by the fact that drug money has bought cops, jailers, prosecutors, judges and politicians. Drug money has also financed election campaigns. This has allowed drug kingpins to commit murder with impunity and brutality.

The Philippines has not yet reached this stage, but the suspected involvement of uniformed officers in the drug trade – especially one previously tasked to go after the traffickers – should set off alarm bells. Drug money is big money, and the temptation to engage in the lucrative trade can be irresistible, even for those tasked to eradicate the scourge. Greater vigilance is needed to prevent this problem from getting out of hand.

ACIRC CRUZ DRUG DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY FERDINAND MARCELINO IN THE PHILIPPINES MARCELINO MARINE LT MUNTINLUPA NEW BILIBID PRISONS SPECIAL ENFORCEMENT SERVICE
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