By Alex P. Vidal
“A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a license to behave like an asshole.” ― Frank Zappa
RUNNERS of illegal drugs aren’t only the so-called “narco (narcotics) kids” or children doing the errands for drug syndicates.
The list is universal: “Narco mothers and fathers” or “narco parents (including grandmas and grandpas, believe it or not)”, “narcos barangay tanods (and even village chiefs and council members, and this is a common knowledge)”, “narco reporters”, “narco storekeepers”, “narco trisikad drivers”, “narco GROs (guest relations officers working in night clubs)”, “narco masseurs”, “narco waiters and waitresses”, “narco taxi, jeepney, bus drivers”, “narcos barkers (in jeep and bus stations)”, “narco bouncers”, “narco city hall workers”, and, of course, “narco cops”, etcetera.
Those who would bewail or question our star-studded cast were probably born only yesterday.
In fact, we can occupy more spaces here if we continue to list all the narcotics “workers”, which would actually fit for a major sector in the benighted country’s labor force.
And they don’t exist only in Iloilo City or Western Visayas, but nationwide—including in Davao City, where “Digong The Ripper” was and is still king.
Shameful, alarming, disgusting, embarrassing, but this is the whole awful truth and nothing but the truth. So help us God.
Illegal drug trade has been one of the “easiest” and “most lucrative” in the Philippines given the country’s appalling economic state, and the lack of direction and supervision in the national leadership that employs draconian punitive measures.
As long as unemployment remains as a lingering problem, some of those with empty stomachs will always resort to illegal activities and other cut throat alternatives to eke out a living.
Once a upon a time, the Philippines was even feared to have sagged to a “narco state” when drug lords and queens weren’t ashamed to parade their faces even on national TV masquerading as philanthropists, natural disaster and sports donors, showbiz enthusiasts, and even Bible-toting cretins; the years when they were powerful and untouchable and could elect mayors, governors, congressmen, senators and even vice presidents and presidents?
The Philippine National Police (PNP) can murder some of the most dreaded and famous drug lords and earn some pogi points from a berdugo leadership, but they can’t totally eradicate the illegal drug trade in the Philippines.
It’s no longer the “game of the generals”, it’s already the “game of the politicians and generals” combined.
WHAT would one retiring “legendary” politician feel if he wanted to make a legacy for his local constituents by helping launch a huge infrastructure project, only to find out that sharks and crocodiles have “attacked” from the deep sea and the swamps to feast on this important project?
He might suffer from cardiac arrest if he elects to keep quite and pretends he doesn’t know anything about the “shark and crocodile food festival.”
Unless is he a shark or a crocodile himself, he will angrily make a drastic move by calling for the authorities to investigate how the sharks and crocodiles were able to gain instant and direct access to the bacchanalia.
Once an investigation has been launched and set up, he might use whatever remaining authority and connection he possesses to “punish” the predators and indicate to all and sundry he wants the project finished lock, stock, and barrel whoever gets jailed, or brought back to where they belong.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)