MAGANES: PNP’s crackdown on illegal drugs should continue
“When the cat is away, the mouse will play.” This seems to be what’s happening now in the country after President Rodrigo Duterte suspended the “Operation Tokhang” implemented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and gave it back to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Drug lords and pushers have taken the opportunity to go back to their usual activities – peddling “shabu” and reopening their laboratories.
It’s a sad thing that the abduction and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joon prompted Duterte to suspend “Operation Tokhang” and abolish the PNP’s Anti Illegal Drug Group (AIDG) whose personnel were allegedly behind the gruesome incident. PNP has the workforce and PDEA,we are all aware of, lacked the manpower to pursue the drug personalities in the country. While PNP is undergoing its cleansing, is it not also timely to use the “good policemen” do the “Operation Tokhang” to sustain the gains of Project Double Barrel Alpha, which has taken its toll for six months? And please, the “Operation High Value Target (HVT)” should be earnestly implemented to stop once and for all the operations of “narco-politicians” and “rogue policemen.”
As of January 30, 2017, the following are the accomplishment of the government under “Operation Tokhang” as reported by PNP: number of operations conducted-43,497; drug personalities: killed-2,551,arrested-52,962; Project Tokhang: number of houses visited-7,031,394, total number of surrenderers-1,178,224 (pushers-79,341, users-1,098,883); casualties on police operations (PNP personnel killed- 35, wounded-87, under validation: killed-13, wounded-10); and , casualties on AFP operations ( killed in action-3, wounded in action-8).
With the aforecited gains on the crackdown of illegal drugs, who will continue the program by such magnitude? The crackdown is seemingly silent this time. The “surrenderers” are now under the care of religious ministers who are conducting moral and spiritual recovery seminars. This is a good move. However, what guarantees that these surrenderers will not go back to their vices? What guarantee also that those villages and towns declared as “drug- cleared” will not be again the haven of “drug lords and drug pushers”? Illegal drugs are proliferating because there’s a lot of money involved just like illegal gambling such as “jueteng” or “jai-teng”, masiao, etc.
Speaking of illegal gambling, President Duterte has issued Executive Order No. 13 to crack down on illegal gambling particularly “jueteng” in the country. Once again, on the frontline to go after the gambling lords are the personnel of PNP. PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa declared recently an all-out war against all forms of illegal gambling and “warned that local officials, including governors, congressmen, barangay (village) chairmen shall not be spared.” Dela Rosa also warned police officers who are protecting gambling lords that they would be targeted by the PNP’s Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF) as their act is tantamount to corruption.
Under EO 13, President Duterte directed PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other law enforcement agencies to intensify the national campaign against illegal gambling in coordination with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Dela Rosa said he will concentrate first on the “illegal numbers game jueteng because the huge revenue from it goes to bookies instead to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).” This reminded me of a local official who has amassed millions or billions of pesos under jueteng operations. Will this crackdown totally stop the local officials’ insatiable greed for jueteng money?
A media colleague told me recently that under this crackdown, the jai-teng operated by the Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation based in Cagayan Valley will not be included because of the permit given by the local government units to operate. I answered him that permits given by LGUs will not supersede a national law against illegal gambling and a national policy of the government. Do LGUs benefit from the operations? How much money go to the LGUs coffer? If there’s none, it is clear that the operations are illegal since the revenues go to the pockets of the bookies and local officials.
This jai-teng is operating as “jueteng” using 1 to 37 number combinations. If indeed, it is jai-alai as they claimed, where are the off-frontons where betting shall be done? Where are also the frontons where the pelotaris play? There are none. In jai-alai, there are only 1 to 10 number combinations. The bettor will select numbers based on their favorite pelotaris who are playing in frontons. The off-frontons will sell tickets with printed number combinations. Now tell me, the paper used by jueteng collectors have five or 6 columns where bets of 1 to 37 number combinations are written. Apparently, this is not “jai alai” but jueteng in disguise. Anak ng jueteng nga naman.
But I had my biggest laugh when I read that the PNP nabbed “tong-its” players in Santiago City (Isabela) recently. Tong-its is a card game involving three players and being played as past time in rural areas. While it is a form of gambling, this is not organized and not under the care of “gambling lords”. Why not go after jueteng operators and their “kabos” and “collectors”? Is PNP that eager to show that it is working to crack down illegal gambling. During wakes of dead ones, “pusoy”, tong-its and even mahjongs are played. Are these games during wakes part of the crackdown? There seems to be a gray area on the “all out war against illegal gambling”.
Well, the government under Duterte’s administration is doing its job for the promised reforms it will undertake. I have asked some friends if they are already feeling some benefits of the reforms initiated by the government. They agreed that the reforms could already be felt. Processing of business permits are now faster along with the other services of the government. Government employees now are more accommodating than before. Even policemen are always on the go and smiling.
The Duterte administration is still eight months in power. While there maybe flaws in the President’s leadership styles, his promises are already being undertaken. Although we are in a hurry for reforms, let’s give him the time. There are still five years and four months left under him. Let’s pray for the best.
Entry filed under: News.