SINCE the creation of man and the establishments of government, its(government’s) rise and fall has always been a question of leadership and never of membership.
Assigning military men to the Bureau of Customs was experimented from the time by former president Ferdinand Marcos and even by former president Cory Aquino.
This was repeated by former presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when they assigned military men, who were completely ignorant of the Tariff and Customs Code, to head the agency on the belief that they are immune from corruption.
President Duterte did so when he came to power in 2016, appointing coup plotter Nicanor Faeldon assisted by his fellow Magdalo officers as Deputy Commissioners. During their watch, upon orders of the President, to guard our ports from the entry of shabu came tons of shabu slipping into our ports.
The then Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner Faeldon was sacked by the President (he has been transferred as deputy administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and later as director of the Bureau of Corrections).
He then appointed another alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy, his trusted police general Isidro Lapeña. The result was the same. Tons of shabu again slipped into our ports, flooding our streets with street pushers busy selling them and users so happy sniffing them.
This resulted in our police officers having their hands full in going after sachets of shabu that could have been prevented from being distributed had the presidential appointees been loyal and sincere to God and country.
It is a myth, this belief that putting military men in our ports (now Coast Guard) is the easy solution. The reason is simple: it is not the clothes or uniforms that make a man upright; rather, it is his core values.
And no academy or institution could mold such man because honesty, integrity and dedication to God and Country is inborn. It must be second nature to the man.
No matter how many generals and soldiers the President assigns in our ports if their leaders are naturally corrupt, morally weak and opportunists, our ports would always be vulnerable to the entry of shabu brought in by Chinese drug syndicates.
It is stupid to believe that members/rank and file could influence or dictate the character of the organization. It is always about the leaders and members should not be blamed for the failure of leadership.
If again months from now the report of shabu slipping through our ports would be repeated, the problem then would be obvious: the President’s lack of discernment in appointing an honest and competent leader to guard our ports from the entry of shabu from China, which is invading us not with armies and cannons but with drugs that literally and figuratively kill the hope of the fatherland, the youth. (Clarence Paul Oaminal)