Editorial: Narco politics
NATIONAL and local broadsheets in the country have been reporting about political leaders linked to illegal drugs. Even among old Filipino films dating back as early as the 70s, there were stories of political leaders being the head of drug cartels.
Since the onset of Duterte's presidency, his program to clean the country of illegal drugs have resulted to surrender, capture and even death of suspected narcotic personalities.
In the Cordilleras, over 5,000 individuals have surrendered to police authorities. This includes two incumbent political leaders in Abra, a mayor and a councilor.
But despite the intensive campaign against drugs, groups affected by the clearing operation are now fighting back. Recently, a Benguet son was killed during an anti narcotic operation in Masbate.
This raised the alarm on politicians being the protectors of narco operations.
Political analysts in the Philippines have claimed that narco politics is present especially during times when elections are nearing even in barangay elections.
These government officials usually use narcotics to bribe voters.
Once, Gibo Teodoro stated “there is fear that illicit narcotics funds may affect election results in the Philippines.” It can be seen that narco politics is something our government should monitor because illegal drugs and politics is a very serious and dangerous matter and involves huge amount of money.
Not even with claims that money from illegal drugs could have been used to finance the campaign of some local politicians and that some of them are directly involved in the illicit trade, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said there are simply no reliable data to back up these allegations.
In fact, PDEA does not have hard evidence against top government officials who are said to be involved in the drug trade.
The government agency admitted that drug traffickers are better equipped than them and the archipelagic nature of the Philippines makes it more difficult for them to run after these criminals.
This now challenges the government on its goal to eradicate drugs. But this should not be fought alone by PDEA or the PNP. Interagency cooperation is needed especially the Bureau of Customs in defeating the drug menace.