"He has great experience from his previous post."
Retired General Dionisio Santiago, the former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Dangerous Drugs Board director, has a good piece of advice for Vice President Leni Robredo. He said there is no need for the VP/Drug Czar to join anti-drug police operations.
Santiago warns that Robredo can either only get in the way of police operations or be felled by criminals’ bullets. She should also watch her back as the bullets might come from “friendly fire.”
But while Santiago and Senator Panfilo Lacson do not approve of the Vice President joining police drug operations because it’s unsafe, Malacanang supports Robredo going with police. Why? Hmmm.
With his wide experience from his former post, Santiago could be tapped by Robredo as adviser in her anti-drug campaign.
Asked by interviewer Pinky Webb on The Source TV program on why the Philippines has become a transshipment point for illegal drugs in Asia, Santiago said:
“With its porous coastline, it’s easy to bring in the illegal shipment and also as easy to bring out through the Manila International Airport to other foreign destinations.” Without saying so, Santiago implied that lax and corrupt customs personnel at the international airport and the country’s sea ports make drug smuggling widespread.
The Vice President also said something that everybody knows but is unspoken in official circle.”Most of the illegal drugs flowing in to the Philippines come from China,” she said, adding that shabu is manufactured in labs right here by Chinese and Filipino-Chinese operators.
Robredo, in her new role and capacity as anti-drug czar, met with US Embassy officials in Manila to work out arrangements for sharing of intelligence in the illegal drug trade in the Philippines. This is something President Duterte didn’t do because of his running feud with the United States starting when he called then President Barack Obama a “son of a wh*re.”
Vice President Robredo has been invited also by the House of Representatives who want to be briefed on her plans and strategy of her anti-illegal drug campaign. This is a no-brainer. Why divulge in public during a media-covered House hearing the nationwide strategy of the battle plans against narcotics? Unless it’s a closed-door hearing, Robredo should not go to the House invitation. One or two congressmen could leak the intelligence plans to drug lords. Then, it would be a drug war lost even before it has started.
The police in its anti-drug operations are supposed to wear body cameras to dispel allegations of extra-judicial killings of suspects. Whatever happened to the plan? Funds should not be hard to allocate for the body cams considering the 2020 national budget has a lot of “parked” (read: pork) funds in the congressmen’s share for their district projects. Buying these body cameras would be a credit to the congressmen as it would contribute to the peace and order in their districts.
Then, there is money to be derived from increased sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco. A portion of this tax collection could be allocated to buy the body cameras for police operatives in the drug war.
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Meanwhile, in nearby Hong Kong, authorities concede that the rule of law is on the brink of collapse after weeks of violent protests over the proposed extradition law. Pro-democracy demonstrators’ clashes with police have reached a tipping point where the protesters are fighting the police with handmade Molotov cocktails because some of the protesters are being doused with gasoline. A lighted match or cigarette lighter can easily set a gasoline-wet protester on fire.
The Philippine consulate in Hong Kong assured that Filipinos in the former British Crown colony are safe and that there are no reports yet of them losing their jobs because of the collapsed economy brought about by the protests.
Tourism in Hong Kong is at an all-time low and several foreign firms are thinking of relocating their base of operation to other countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and even the Philippines.