EDITORIAL - How could such a monstrosity happen?

The Freeman

Most ordinary Cebuanos did not know and perhaps never suspected – until the news hit them Saturday that the Cebu City jail and the Cebu provincial jail have become massive drug dens where the selling and taking of drugs went on until a massive raid lifted the veil on the illegal activities. More than P4 million in cash was recovered, not counting shabu valued at a quarter of a million pesos.

In addition, a wide assortment of items ranging from bladed weapons to electronic gadgets and appliances to branded athletic gear was seized, items that are not supposed to be found in jails. But this is the Philippines, where nothing is impossible. If it is any consolation, at least no drug laboratory was discovered, as what happened in an earlier raid in Bilibid.

But while the raid deserves sincere congratulations, there is a need to go beyond the kudos for a job well done. For there are, in fact, some questions that need to be cleared if the entire aggressive anti-illegal drugs campaign of the government has to attain credibility over and above its apparent success at this point in time of its effectivity.

One nagging question, for instance, is why it had to take the assumption of President Duterte for any anti-illegal drug campaign to meet the seeming success it has been getting. There has never been any lack of anti-drug operations in the past. Every now and then there were police operations that netted a few pushers here and some shabu there.

But nothing of the sort like what is happening now has ever happened before, hence the question – was everything that has transpired before for real? Or has everything been just part of some larger picture of which no one truly knows but can only surmise about? How can such a massive illegal drug operation in two major jails in Cebu go unnoticed for so long?

As it was, hell's kitchen had something cooking right under our very noses but no one ever smelled anything. The complicity of jail watchers and law enforcers naturally becomes suspect. That is a given. In fact, after the raid, among the first things to be done was to sack almost the entire jail security complement. But if this thing has to be viewed with raw objectivity, the anomaly has to go beyond the men in uniform.

The longer anyone looks at the seeming improbability of what happened, the more it increasingly becomes probable that such could not have happened unless with the complicity of other officials. These other officials, by the very nature of their offices, are supposed to know many things not ordinarily known to lowly citizens. People file reports, confidential or otherwise, to them. They get whispers from corners dark or in the open. So what gives? How could Cebu officialdom not have known?

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