Go after the big fish

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Look, I’m not interested in the kid who makes P100 selling weed. That’s not the person I want you to go after,” says President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

It’s a levelheaded approach to licking the drug problem: Go after the big fish instead of the small fry.

In war, when a foot soldier is killed, one, two, three or even a hundred soldiers of the same rank can take his place.

But when a general is killed, replacing him is difficult. By the time he is replaced, the command structure has changed.

In another analogy, if you dam a river upstream, the river becomes a brook or a creek. One can even dry up the entire river downstream.

In the war on drugs, if the government arrests, captures or “terminates with extreme prejudice” the big fish, the small fry will go out of business, because their source has been “dammed.”

With due respect to the past president, his drug war failed because his subordinates only went after the street pushers.

The people that former president Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte appointed as drug czars were either grossly incompetent or complicit with the big-time drug lords.

Customs commissioners during Digong’s watch looked the other way or were blindsided when billions worth of meth passed through the Bureau of Customs.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) focused on small-time pushers instead of going after the big ones. The 6,000 people who were killed in the drug war mostly belonged to the hoi polloi.

Yes, some drug traffickers were arrested or killed – the ones in Ozamiz City and Albuera, Leyte – but eliminating them didn’t make a dent on the drug war. Their protectors in government were laughing all the way to the bank.

There were some rumors that the Duterte government was selective on who to arrest or kill, although this columnist is sure Digong didn’t know about it. Talk about how it’s lonely being at the top!

A big drug dealer was arrested by a PNP anti-drug unit. An official intervened, and the dealer was set free!

A suspected Cebu drug lord was spared from the gallows because he, according to rumors, happened to be a relative of an influential official.

An official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), who was on the PNP drug radar, was never arrested for his alleged drug trafficking in the South.

You know what? That official has wended his way into the customs bureau in this administration.

Digong, sincere in executing his war on drugs, seems to give credence to an adage, “the cuckold is the last to know.”

A cuckold is a husband whose wife plays around with other men.

*      *      *

Here’s unsolicited advice to President Bongbong: Keep your eyes and ears peeled for anything unusual that may be cooking downstairs.

The Big Chief should know what his little Indians are doing.

How does the Big Chief get to know what’s cooking downstairs when he has other things to attend to?

The Chief can have unassuming Little Indians “planted” among the ranks. These Indians shouldn’t know one another, so a whisper to him by one of them can be checked and cross-checked.

Most known leaders failed because people close to them betrayed them.

*      *      *

President Digong’s record-high satisfaction rating at the end of his term meant that people loved him and trusted his leadership.

Compared to his predecessors who were judged at the end of their respective terms – Benigno C. Aquino III, +45 percent; Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, -7; Joseph Estrada, +33; Fidel V. Ramos, +38; and Corazon Aquino, +35 – Mr. Duterte’s satisfaction rating was at an “excellent” +81 percent.

No other president in history, save perhaps for Ramon Magsaysay, could match Digong’s charisma with the masses.

Except for some people around him that took advantage of his paternal character, Digong to this columnist would have been a perfect leader.

*      *      *

Lorraine Marie Badoy, former spokesperson of a government anti-communist group, has harsh words for Manila Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, who said that communist rebels are not terrorists.

Badoy, a rabid anti-communist, said: “So if I kill this judge and I do so out of my political belief that all allies of the CPP, NPA, NDF must be killed because there is no difference in my mind between a member of (those rebel groups) and their friends, then please be lenient with me.”

The judge said the government should adopt a “lenient attitude towards rebels.”

Malagar ruled that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military arm the New People’s Army (NPA) are not terrorists, rebellion being a political offense.

The good judge glossed over acts of terrorism committed by the rebels towards civilians.

*      *      *

Strike One for Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles!

The former vlogger committed an egregious blunder when she announced that US President Biden only met with President BBM on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

She said for the benefit of the people back home – meaning us – that Biden considered his meeting with BBM so important he cancelled his meetings with other leaders.

How could Trixie have missed the talks Biden had with other world leaders on the sidelines of the UNGA? Biden met with Prime Minister Kishida of Japan, President Emmanuel Macron of France and British Prime Minister Liz Truss.

After that blunder, the credibility of Palace pronouncements critical to the nation will be put into question.

As a wag said, Angeles should be made to swear on the Bible on the veracity of her reports about the President.

There should never be a Strike Two, because the country is not playing baseball when it comes to these matters.


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