duterte’s drug war & the “hearsay” divide

recently the president admitted na nagkamali siya when he promised to rid the country of shabu in six months, imposible daw pala, even in the next five years, it just cannot be done, he says, by a single president over just one term.

i thought it might mean a CHANGE in strategy, from killing killing killing alleged addicts and pushers without due process to finally policing customs and coastlines and preventing the smuggling of shabu and it’s component chemicals into the country.  but no.

He [said] having a long coastline to watch over and thousands of islands to guard make it difficult to prevent the entry of illegal drugs.

“We do not have the equipment, kulang man (It’s not enough). And you know the coastline,” he added.

he made us a new promise instead:

I assure you, by the time I make my—kung buhay pa ako (if I am still alive)—five years from now, drugs will be at its lowest,” he said.

too soon bato’s police were back on the streets big time, in multiple synchronous operations across bulacan, and later in manila.  killing alleged addicts and dealers without due process, puro hearsay, mostly info solicited from barangay peeps and neighbors, atbp., as if we didn’t know how easy it is to point fingers, especially if under duress of authorities with quotas to meet.  hearsay, sabi-sabi, is good enough in this environment, and once you’re on that list, it is said, you’re on the list forever, never mind if you’ve been rehabbed or you were clean to begin with at napagdiskitahan lang, which may have been the case with kian.

In an unusual move, allies of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate on Friday condemned the killing of a 17-year-old senior high school student in Caloocan City, with some pushing for a probe into the boy’s death and those of scores of suspects in the past bloody week described as the deadliest since the start of the government’s drug war in July last year.

This is one of the rare instances during which senators who belong to the majority caucus in the Senate have publicly spoken against the killings related to Duterte’s brutal and unrelenting war on drugs.

The policemen who shot to death Kian Loyd Delos Santos on Wednesday night were not only abusive but also “killers and criminals,” according to Sen. Francis Escudero.  “The CCTV footage and eyewitness account clearly show that the boy was killed.”

five more years?  we cannot have five more years of this.  it is too painful for the body politic, mr. president, sir.  and it is dangerous: what monsters are we turning our police forces into?  and we the people, do we really want to become desensitized to inhumane treatment by government?  read yen makabenta’s It’s not fun waking up in a ‘narco-state’.

When Duterte absolves the police of wrongdoing in the drug war, no matter what the abuses, I believe he is crossing a red line in constitutional government. It is dangerous to himself and to his presidency.

It is not explained away by protesting against due process of law and human rights.

The presidential rhetoric is both inflationary and demoralizing.

Believe it or not, the police profession is supposed to exercise intellectual leadership in the criminal justice system. The police must take the lead in the fight against crime and violence.

not all shabu addicts are bad people who get violent  and criminal under the influence and who deserve to be eliminated just like that.  and even addicts who do get violent and criminal do not deserve to be killed without due process and rehab options.  we are better than this.

but yeah our world would be a better place without shabu, and it’s weird that the president isn’t trying harder to turn off the supply.  the real job is to stop both the manufacture here and the smuggling-in of shabu and its components.  the customs shabu fiasco was the perfect opportunity for the president to demonstrate that all his tough talk vs. drugs and corruption is not just talk and empty threats.  instead he chose to prop up and make excuses for faeldon.

“But Faeldon, I will stand by him. He’s really honest. Kaya lang nalusutan siya because lahat diyan sa Customs, corrupt. My God,” Duterte said on Wednesday in his speech in Malacañang during the celebration of the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.

“I hope I would not offend any particular person but almost all [are corrupt]. Sila ‘yong magagandang bahay…magaganda ang kotse [They are those who have beautiful houses and beautiful cars] ,” he added.

he hopes he would not offend anyone in particular?  i am aghast.  seriously?  ayaw niyang maka-offend ng mga corrupt?  hindi siya nagagalit nang  bongga  sa mga corrupt na ito na tone-toneladas kung magpasok o magpapasok ng shabu?

it’s bad enough that hearsay is acceptable only in cases against the poor and powerless, not in cases against the rich and powerful.  what’s worse is, when they do have enough evidence and/or search warrants on the rich and powerful, the suspects end up dead.  as in, silenced forever.

in the bureau of customs naman, a different kind of silencing is going on.  in Have we truly become a full-blown narco state? kit tatad wonders what faeldon knows.

…something DU30 may not blithely ignore. Analysts close to this issue, however, believe Faeldon may be in possession of certain sensitive information, which makes it hard for DU30 to get rid of him, unless he volunteers to step down. …Amid the apparent efforts of some quarters to link DU30’s son Paolo, the vice mayor of Davao City, to the dangerous drugs shipment from Xiamen, Faeldon has not said one word clearing him of any suspicion. If Faeldon knows Paolo is not at all involved in any monkey business at the pier, shouldn’t he have come to his defense after the customs broker Mark Taguba mentioned his name, quoting wild rumors, in a congressional hearing? He did not.

…The problem is, a photo has surfaced in the social media showing Paolo in a friendly pose with Kenneth Dong, the alleged middleman in the illegal P6.4 billion drug shipment. And some people are giving undue importance to it. No one is saying the young man has any fascination for any narco king—whether it be Burma’s late opium king Khun Sa, or Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, or Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. But by linking him to Kenneth Dong and the rest of his narco chain, his enemies clearly want to show his guilt by association.

the president himself has minced no words about how much worse the corruption is than he thought, shabu-related corruption in particular.

He [said] that the war on drugs had exposed so many people involved in the business of illegal drugs, it was like pressing “worms out of a can.”

“I didn’t have an idea that there are hundreds of thousands of people already in the drug business. What makes it worse is they are cooperated now by people in government, especially those in elected positions. So, it will be government versus government,” he added.

there’s the rub.  government vs. government.  big shots vs. big shots.  tila nga napakaraming very-important-people and their networks ang tatamaan. napakaraming mawawalan ng trabaho (kawawa naman).  at magkakaalaman, mabubuking (sa wakas), kung sinosino nga ba sa mga honourable na iyan ang sinasandalan at dinadatungan ng mga drug lord.  sinosino ba sa mga honourable na iyan na nagmamalinis ang mga kalaban pala, mga kaaway pala, ng taong-bayan. clear lines would finally be drawn, and that would be oh so good for nation.

i’d have thought that a showdown was right up digong’s alley.  i thought he might be the anti-hero hero who would end narco rule and institute systemic changes, set things right, no matter what.  alas, our astig prez seems to be intimidated out of his wits.  too much baggage?

“I have to stop drugs, really stop. And it will stop,” he said in a speech during a tourism event in Davao City Friday night.  “I will kill you if you destroy my country and you start f****** with my children,” he added.

“my children”?  slip of the tongue?  or just another bad joke.

breaking the law with Uber

Harvard Business Review‘s Uber Can’t Be Fixed–It’s Time for Regulators to Shut It Down is a must read if you want to know why the LTRFB is right to suspend uber, and why it’s a little embarrassing how outraged many uber users are — it’s all about public service daw, and LTRFB is so palpak in public service and public transport, so let uber be.  besides the units and the drivers are so nice and mabango, not like the MRT and LRT stations and bagons that are so sikip and scary, and you have to make pila pa.

never mind that with uber, no one’s accountable in case of accident or other mishap.  never mind the horrible traffic, swollen by more than a hundred thousand uber units plying metromanila, and not enough roads.  and never mind that uber is about breaking the law.  ours is a culture of illegality anyway.  and we can rant and rave all we want about how corrupt government is, but then so are we who celebrate uber’s subversion of the law just  because it’s oh so convenient and comfortable, and oh so sosyal.

what if we were oh so outraged instead, along with the less moneyed classes, by the transportation department’s turtle pace in upgrading our decrepit mass transport systems?  imagine if we were as passionate about this as we are about supporting uber that’s really just another bunch of foreigners capitalizing, and counting, on a complicit elite, what a shame.

no documents, no proof

now that paolo duterte’s name has come up as, allegedly, a player of sorts in the illegal drugs market, the senate hearing on the huge shabu smuggling under faeldon’s watch seems to be going nowhere remarkable, except maybe to demonstrate how impossible it is to get names named and personalities shamed and charged, puro “hearsay” kasi, walang dokumento.  and so when the prez says about the pagkakadawit of his son: show me the evidence, give me an affidavit, and i will resign (cool na cool), eh wala na, tapos na ang boksing.

imagine if comelec chief andy bautista were as cool-na-cool re wife tish’s allegations. instead he looks, seems, gets hot under the collar, the same with his kuya martin.  i suppose because nga of all those documents that tish found and that are now under scrutiny by the authorities.  even if he were innocent, he has a lot of explaining to do, and really he has no one to blame but himself.  given the animosity pala between him and his wife, it’s hard to believe how careless he was with such important documents, atbp.  it tells me that he became too sure of himself (hubris) and of his power over his wife (money).

anyway manolo quezon raises a good point.

…it’s not as if the common-sense solution for anyone desiring to exonerate themselves isn’t clear. With so many officials, elected or not, weighing in, the obvious solution seems curiously absent so far: Bautista signing a waiver to all his bank accounts.

the yellow camp believes, hopes, prays that chief andy will be found innocent, of course.  unless he’s guilty beyond reasonable doubt.  then, next we pray that duterte finds and appoints a rare one who is relatively beyond reproach, both at home and at work, and who will get us out of the pocket of smartmatic.

on andy’s SALN

this is being shared around on facebook, first posted (as far as i can tell) on willie buyson villarama’s wall for public consumption.  the author bienvenido c. gonzalez is a SALN advocate who closely monitored the corona impeachment trial.

Benny C. Gonzalez
MBA, CPA, BSC, BA, UN Fellow

Thank you for asking for my take on the Bautista versus Bautista case. I want to limit the scope of my discussion to the SALN aspects of the issue where I think I can contribute the most. Good SALN analysis demands three paradigm shifts:

1. Good SALN analysis should at the end of the day either exonerate or convict the filer under scrutiny.

2. Good SALN analysis is focused on HOW the Networth was accumulated rather than WHAT it is at the end of every year.

3. Good SALN analysis defines and limits as legitimate and legal entries only TAXED EVIDENCED TRANSACTIONS.

De-politicking this case:

• The COMELEC Chairman is not a first time SALN filer with only his December 2016 SALN to show but has filed several others in his current capacity and from other past government appointment(s). As such, his declared Assets, Liabilities and Networth as of December 2016 should not be a given (assumed the truth) nor should it be the only figures against which the wife/whistleblower’s allegations be compared with. This is where most people especially the media will miss out on.

• Rather than being a given, his 2016 SALN should be X, what SALN analysis MUST solve for that either gives him a clean bill of health as an honest and transparent public servant or condemned him as someone who may have gotten away with ill-gotten wealth in his previous or current appointment(s).

• If red flags have already been raised at this stage, he should be asked to explain in accounting terms how the specific transactions causing these alarm bells are actually legitimate and legal movements of his Networth.

• When the explanations are questionable themselves, then appropriate charges should be filed against him for impeachment. Again, this is where most people especially the media will miss out on. Please note that this impeachment case can and will stand alone even without the USE of the whistleblower’s allegations.

• If red flags are detected during his earlier tenure(s), then it would be a strong case (in aid of legislation) for appointees to be asked to bare their past SALNs to public scrutiny before they can be eligible for reappointment in another capacity. In fact, I have a NO SALN, NO COC/APPOINTMENT advocacy.

• If he gets a clean bill of health after the analyses of ALL his past SALN filings, it will also be time to compare his December 2016 SALN with the whistleblower allegations.

• When his explanations are found unreasonable or unbelievable (because he consistently beats Gorge Soros in currency trading, for example), AMLAC should be asked to assist in the case build-up. A case for seizure and garnishment should then be filed with the Ombudsman.

Some observations:

• Knowing their husbands, NO wife should agree on any settlement with her husband based on his SALN. SALNs are based on historical costs while settlements should always be based on current fair market values.

• Forex gains, especially from offshore accounts are normally untaxed thus exposing the family involved to further BIR audits and assessments.

• The co-mingling of family funds in a filer’s SALN must be traceable to a PRIOR DISTINGUISHABLE investment fund carried as an asset with a contra-liability set up for that purpose. It is highly questionable if it had never been set up before the accusations. In fact, from an accounting stand point, this is what every SALN filer should do if s/he has a similar situation. Ab initio, the ownership of the capital and fruits are transparent and identifiable.

• The absence of these entries and accounts in his SALN would reveal at the very least the lack of good accounting and financial advice which may turn out to be very costly for him.