"Nasaan yong mga nakikita ng medya? Wala eh. Kayo lang ang nagba-brand niyan ng drug lords. Those are not the drug lords. Mga ito delivery boy, kumbaga LBC lang, o DHL..." -- President Duterte in his Sona, July 25, 2016

UPROAR over people killed in President Duterte's war against illegal drugs has not been over drug lords. The 25 casualties in the region since May 19 were just "lieutenants," even "delivery boys." Not drug lords.

Drug lords, Duterte said, those "you desperately want to strangle," are not here. The billionaires, "yong may Mercedes," are outside the country.

During the election campaign when Duterte went around promising a bloodbath ("blood will flow"), he didn't say that those who'd die would just be lieutenants and delivery boys.

Still, the killings apparently are not over. In his Sona, he told drug couriers and pushers to desist, since "yong mga pari at human rights (defenders)" cannot stop the executions, "huwag kayong umasa (sa kanila)."

Going after nine heads of the mythic hydra that Hercules slew was tough, as one head cut off was replaced by two others, but this assault against drugs is even tougher. Police and vigilantes have been hacking at tentacles, which are also easily replaced, while the heads are way out of reach.

Terms are misused in identifying the war's enemies. And Duterte blames media for the mis-branding. Media always looks for the "big fish." Well, as Duterte said, "Ma'm, nandoon sila sa labas": in international waters and out of our jurisdiction.


And he said he couldn't go to them and kill "those idiots who destroy our country." Which must be the reason he could kill "Peter Lim" (whoever he turns out to be) only if he'd step on the Manila airport tarmac and police could identify him.

They need to rethink the strategy on drugs. Killing lieutenants and delivery boys just would not do.