THAT we have to wait for the US State Department to express its concern over drug money possibly influencing the outcome of the May elections, before talking about it is rather frustrating.
The worries were actually voiced earlier by law enforcement units like the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) but nobody picked that up.
PDEA elements have been in the forefront of some successful operations against big-time drug syndicates including raids on laboratories run by foreigners (mainly Taiwanese).
That proved time and again that the Philippines is part of the operation network of international drug trafficking syndicates.
That operation involves a big amount of money that can be used, as the US State Department, said, to “affect the outcome” of the May elections.
Consider this: The value of illegal drugs trafficked in the Philippines was placed at US $6.4 billion to US $8.4 billion annually.
Incidentally, Cebu, along with Metro Manila and Northern Mindanao, was listed among the top three areas most affected by the drug problem in the country.
Narco-politics should therefore be an important concern here.
This should be more so in an election where winning is dependent on an increasing amount of campaign funds, making politicians vulnerable to the lure of drug money.
It would be wrong therefore, to treat lightly the issue of narco-politics in Cebu and downplay the possibility that the campaign of some candidates being bankrolled by drug money.
Before the deadline last year of the filing of the certificates of candidacy for this year’s elections, a suspected drug trafficker had the gall to announce his intention to run for city councilor.
That act may have reflected the mindset of those involved in the illegal drug trade: that the survival of their operation is dependent on their hold on the structure of political power in the country.
It therefore pays for concerned law enforcement units and the voters themselves to scrutinize the backgrounds of candidates in the May election and spot links with suspected drug traffickers.
The worst thing to happen is when candidates with known ties to drug traffickers win.