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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Echaves: Juan and Pedro

ONCE again the homegrown wisdom of “You cannot small Pedro” surfaces.

That’s the bastardized version of “Dili gyud nato ma bale-wala ang hungihon sa mga yanong tawo.”

Because true enough, what has long been passed around by word of mouth only preface big stories eventually hitting media outlets.

For sometime now, the Juans and Pedros of the street believed that all those raids in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) would just scratch the surface. Shortly, the drug trading would reoccur.

More raids yielded things supposedly not allowed--shabu and other illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, firearms, flat-screen television sets, luxury items, sex toys, a Jacuzzi spread, and even plush bathrooms.

Drug trading continued with the inmates’ use of cellphones. So, why were there cellphones in the first place?

No wonder, the drug lords detained there, mostly Chinese, were having such a special treatment. A Rappler report in 2014 even identified the names of 19 high-risk inmates, among whom were Peter Co and Herbert Colangco.

Presumably, the same ones named by President Duterte this week as part of the drug triad with links to Mainland China.

When the spate of killings of local drug lords and pushers started, people said “Change is indeed coming.”

Some naysayers, however, while expressing alarm about whether or not the deaths ensued after resisting arrest and consequent shootouts, also whispered, “These are not the big ones. Mobilib na gyud mi ni Duterte when the real big ones get named.”
We asked, “Which are these?”

Their answer, “Ay katong the Lim brothers gud. They even faced congressional hearings in a committee headed by then
congressman Tony Cuenco.”

The hearings eventually cleared the Lim brothers for lack of evidence. Eyebrows raised again, though, when the two witnesses against them died; one by strangling, the other by shooting.

Whispers had been going on about two generals from Cebu and their involvement as coddlers of drug lords. When the names of retired generals Vicente Loot and Marcelo Garbo emerged, reactions were varied.

Even government officials, they who are supposed to have ears pinned to the ground, were shocked about Garbo.

Either Duterte was fed a laundry list of men griped about for various reasons other than drug trading. Or the government officials turned the other way and pretended not knowing.

So, yes, we’re so looking forward to seeing the list of mayors coddling drug lords. Duterte resisted giving a Cabinet positon to VP Leni Robredo. He didn’t want to hurt his good friend Sen. Bongbong Marcos kono. But Juan and Pedro chuckled. “Ay, magpatahod lang gud na cya. Magpakita lang gud kung kinsay boss ba.”

Shortly after Robredo’s courtesy call to Duterte, she became chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, once held by then VP Jejomar Binay.

Whispers about Duterte’s health were initially triggered by his frequent placing of the hand to the cheek. Was this simply a mannerism, a show of boredom with the speaker, or was he subtly appeasing some pains?

Just migraine attacks, his men immediately say. Juan and Pedro say, “Ay, tinuod?”

(lelani.echaves@gmail.com)
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