Editorial: Narcopolitics as campaign issue-A A +A
Friday, October 4, 2013
IT'S not surprising that talks of narcopolitics at the barangay level are surfacing now that the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the Oct. 28 barangay elections is nearing. In all barangays, the candidates’ slates have been completed and early campaigning has started.
One can therefore take former mayor Tomas Osmeña’s expressed concern about people with links to the illegal drug trade running for barangay posts within this context.
While the barangay polls are supposed to be non-partisan, major parties are either fielding or supporting candidates. Thus, whatever political leaders say now about the barangay elections, one can expect these to be laced with political undertones.
In the May 13 local and national elections where Osmeña lost in his bid for Cebu City mayor, one of the issues his camp raised against Mayor Michael Rama was Rama’s alleged links with drug traders.
Osmeña’s talk about narcopolitics in the barangay elections is an extension of that campaign theme. What was left unsaid is the insinuation that barangay candidates with links to drug traders are Rama people.
One wouldn’t be surprised if Rama or somebody from his camp would raise the matter of barangay bets having links with illegal gambling, specifically the illegal numbers game masiao. After all, Osmeña was once accused of having a supporter who is an alleged masiao financier.
But that will only make the issue-raising more pathetic. Both the illegal drugs trade and illegal gambling are serious concerns and yet they seem to become an issue to politicians only during electoral campaigns. After the elections, these concerns are largely forgotten.
Also pathetic are police officers talking about their knowledge of the said problems after politicians have said their piece.
Examples: Supt. Pablo Labra II of the Police Regional Office 7 claimed that a big-time drug pusher is reportedly supporting a barangay official in Cebu City. Cebu Provincial Police Chief Noel Gillamac said they are monitoring officials of two barangay who could be involved in the illegal drugs trade and tolerating illegal gambling.
Will we be seeing results after Labra and Gillamac said these or will these be forgotten after interest in the issues die down?
One gets the feeling these politicians and police officers are merely toying with public sensibility.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 05, 2013.