Three million Filipinos are into drugs?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

Kudos to Sir Jose “Dodong” Gullas and The Freeman editorial staff and workforce on its 97th Year in the service of the Cebuano community. While most people know that I started by journalism career as the Bureau Chief of the Philippine Star as indicated by my first Press Card (which to this day I still carry) issued and signed by the late Sir Max V. Soliven and the Star editor then Mr. Antonio V. Roces on August 25, 1986 when the Philippine Star was less than a month old (it was established on July 28, 1986), but truth to tell, I began writing my columns first in the Freeman on August 5, 1987 a year later.    

Yes, it was Mr. Juanito “Nito” Jabat, the late Editor and later the publisher of The Freeman who called me up to ask me to write for The Freeman knowing fully well that I was giving reports directly to Sir Max Soliven. So while The Freeman celebrates its 97th year, I will be celebrating albeit quietly my 29th year as a columnist in The Freeman.

Frankly speaking, I did not realize that when I joined The Freeman and the Philippine Star for that matter that it would be a life-changing experience for me. Today I’m nearly full-time as a media personality, having two TV shows to my name but all this started because Sir Max Soliven discovered my potential to be in the media and the late Nito Jabat had the confidence in my writing skills that would last a lifetime. I was invited by our editor Queenie Bronce for yesterday’s Holy Mass but thanks to the super slow Internet in Tagaytay City, I could only retrieve her email late Sunday afternoon. So to all our brothers and sisters working in The Freeman, give yourselves a pat in the back for a job well-done and being true to our objective of being fearless and honest!


That meeting between President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte and Mr. Peter Lim in the President’s office in Davao City was splashed in the front pages of our national and local news. Since I was out of town for most of the week, I could only read what was written about that meeting in the front pages of the Philippine Star and Manila Times. It was only yesterday when I read this in our local newspapers. However yesterday morning around 9:20AM, DyLA had a full tape recording of that meeting replayed it for all to hear. Of course we heard Peter Lim tell President Duterte that he was never involved in illegal drugs and gave the story of how his late father advised him not to venture into that business. Unfortunately, some people who use the social media networks believe that all that was a “moro-moro” that Pres. Duterte’s meeting and threats to kill Peter Lim was all for show.

Then these suspicious or malicious people published a recent photo of then Presidential candidate Duterte with Peter Lim during the wedding of the son of Ding Borja to show that Duterte and Peter Lim are really friends. Come now, when you are sponsors of a wedding, you cannot choose who your would-be compadres. So perhaps it should be Ding Borja who should give the nation an explanation as to why he had both men as sponsors in his son’s wedding?

In my book, this is a very serious accusation against Peter Lim whom the President asked to submit to an investigation before the National Bureau of Investigation. This is a life or death situation and should never be taken lightly. As we heard Pres. Duterte tell Peter Lim straight to his face that he would kill the latter if he found any evidence linking him to the illicit drug trade, but if no evidence comes up his name would be cleared.

Perhaps Peter Lim’s biggest dilemma is the fact that he goes around with a bevy of bodyguards. People tell me that there are only two kinds of people who strut about having bodyguards - these are politicians and alleged drug lords. Of course we know that Peter Lim was never involved in politics so the question is, can he live a life without his bodyguards? This is a question that only Peter Lim can answer. In the meantime we eagerly await what the NBI investigation would eventually reveal. Abangan!

While the war on drugs has been underway since the election of Duterte as President, already thousands upon thousands of people who one way or the other are involved in illegal drugs have surrendered to authorities. But during the conversation between Duterte and Peter Lim, we learned for the first time that three million Filipinos are hooked into drugs.

I would like to believe that the drug menace worsened during the six-years of the Aquino presidency when the Chinese Triad and their drug lords felt safe to do business in the Philippines because Aquino chose to look the other way. So to those who are still loyal to the yellow flag of the Aquino family, you should be ashamed for your blind loyalty to a man who committed the sin of omission and used his slogan called “DaangMatuwid” as his propaganda to tell us that he was straight, but that’s not the reality!


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