Why can’t we put an end to war on drugs?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

In a presscon in Davao City last week, when President Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte sought for a six-month extension of his timetable on the war against illegal drugs, I am sure that the 91 percent who supported him, more than willingly gave their nod to this extension, while the small two percent who loathe Duterte (seven percent is considered undecided) chastised him saying, "There you are… a failure as you could not deliver on your promise!" Of course when we remind the jaundiced minions that their idol, former president Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III also failed in his promise to complete the MRT… promising even to be run over by a train…. I'm sure they will keep silent!

But more than the swordsmanship in words… we have to look deeper into our problems now that we are in the midst of this war against illegal drugs… and one person who is clearly apolitical is Billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson who has come on record saying that President Duterte's war on crime will not work. Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group, and he spends most of his time advocating issues and trying to rectify them in his own way. He is part of the Global Drug Commission.

"We've examined the war on drugs and I think it's worth just gently saying to your new president, that the war on drugs has not worked. Getting tough on drug addicts does not work," he told Cathy Yang in an episode of 'The Boss', which I saw on ANC. Branson cited the case of Portugal as an example, saying people with drug problems do not go to prison, because the state brings them in and gets social workers to help them. Branson added "I think that's the only way you're going to get on top of the problems with drugs, not by creating a massive war – wars never get won."

But there is still a positive effect on our war against illegal drugs in that the street value of shabu these days have skyrocketed! So in the end, the six-month extension that Duterte is asking for will only drive out more drug lords out of business, especially the ones operating shabu laboratories inside the New Bilibid Prison and selling them to the outside world. That connection, which was directly linked to Senator Leila De Lima has been effectively severed, more so that the Philippine National Police's elite Special Action Force has now taken control of the Bilibid.

At this point and this early, I dare say that Digong Duterte should not even put a timetable to end his war against illegal drugs. To many of us who like Duterte did not realize that the magnitude of this problem had already affected three million Filipinos, we cannot say that six months from today. We can put an end to this war and the Philippines will finally be drug free! Doing so would mean that the Chinese triad or those drug lords who are on the run, would merely wait out this war like a very strong typhoon and when the coast is clear – return with a vengeance. This is what is going to happen if we put a date to end this war against illegal drugs.

As we all saw on Live TV, the fact alone that the drug lords made so much money even if they are inside the Bilibid prison tells you that these drug syndicates that operate with impunity in this country. We were all appalled that so much money exchange hands within the national penitentiary, which in my book is more than enough proof that these prisoners/drug lords had the right connections high up in the Aquino regime and De Lima seems to be a major link and as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II point out, there is someone higher than De Lima who benefited from her corruption. Hopefully, the congressional hearing yesterday would reveal that someone.

In short, illegal drugs spreading throughout the country is the evil that plaques our nation, it exists because of corruption and can only stop if we also stop corruption. In the six years of the Aquino regime, Aquino's mantra was "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap." It is for this reason why the Liberal Party lost in the 2016 elections simply because there are still too many poor Filipinos around, which to many of them is proof that corruption indeed still existed and we all saw this during the last two hearings in the Senate and Congress.

Finally, allow me to quote a very important message from our Lord Jesus Christ, taken from the book of Matthew 12: 43-45, which reads, "When an unclean spirit goes out of a person it roams through arid regions searching for rest but finds none. Then it says, 'I will return to my home from which I came.' But upon returning, it finds it empty, swept clean, and put in order. Then it does and brings back with itself seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they move in and dwell there' and the last condition of that person is worse than the first. Thus it will be with this evil generation."

Ask any bishop or priest to read this biblical passage and tell us that we can put an end to this war against drugs six months from now because it dooms our nation to a state worse than when we declared this war against illegal drugs.

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