Most definitely yes, either out of his sheer incompetence, or outright complicity.
That’s the only conclusion one would get after the police all over the country, following incoming President Duterte’s announced priority, have arrested or killed more than 200 drug lords and dealers in just a few weeks.
All of a sudden — with hundreds of self-admitted, small-time dealers and users even surrendering to authorities, fearing they would be victims of summary executions — the nation has been awakened to the reality that our drug problem, which really afflicts mostly the poor, indeed has reached horrific proportions. So much so that many sectors of this purportedly Catholic nation are now reviving the call for the death penalty.
Such scale of the illegal-drug and crime menace couldn’t have emerged overnight. I can only conclude that President Aquino allowed it to grow during his six years in office. He had hundreds of millions of pesos in confidential funds, and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (headed by his executive secretary, Paquito Ochoa), yet did little to fight the drug lords.
Aquino just did not make fighting the proliferation of illegal drugs, and for that matter to combat crime, his priority. His priority was to fight “corruption.” I put that in quotation marks since his fight against corruption targeted only the opposition, and not grafters in his administration, those involved in such blatant cases that affected the lives of millions of Filipinos, such as the mess in MRT-3 and the botched contract to provide LTO with car plates.
I’ve reviewed all of Aquino’s six State of the Nation Addresses (SONAs), and it is shocking that in all of these, he had not even mentioned that we have a serious illegal drug problem, as if he were deliberately concealing its existence.
In Aquino’s first (2010), second (2011), and last (2015) SONAs, there was absolutely no reference at all to the fact that we have a huge illegal drug problem in the country. The word “drugs” is not even mentioned at all in these SONAs.
Aquino mentions the drug problem in his 2012, but only once, and as if he had already defeated it. He said then: “He shares the same fate as the more than ten thousand individuals arrested by the PDEA in 2011 for charges relating to illegal drugs.”
But the President’s statement really was strange, since by “he,” Aquino was referring to one Raymond Dominguez, who was arrested for carnapping charges, as well as an unnamed suspect in the Makati bus bombing in 2011. The suspect, a member of the police’s Special Action Force, was acquitted of all charges in 2015.
There is a similar dismissive tone in his single reference to drugs in his 2014 SONA: “I will leave you to your conscience — if you feel any remorse for your fellowmen who have become addicted to the illegal drugs you have helped to smuggle in, or for the farmers who are being deprived of fair profit from doing honest work.”
Not Aquino’s priority
Why would the police and other drug-enforcement agencies combat drug lords, if that is not the priority of their commander-in-chief? Since the boss doesn’t think it’s a problem, wouldn’t the police just resign themselves to coddling the drug lords who provide them with “monthly allowances?”
To illustrate it, an analogy could be: you hire a new pest control expert and he reports, after examining your house, that it is badly infested with termites and mice. He even shows you a colony of such vermin beneath your living room. Then you recall that your previous pest-control guy had been telling you that you have a pest-free residence, and that he’s doing his job, impressing even your neighbors.
There has also been no mention at all of the worsening crime situation in two of such presidential reports. Aquino made only a single, passing reference to this scourge, which Duterte, before he even formally steps into the presidency, has made into the top priorityt together with his anti-drug campaign.
In his 2012 SONA, he claimed he had overcome the country’s crime problem: “Crime volume continues to decline across the country. In 2009, over 500,000 crimes were recorded — this year, we have cut that number by more than half, to 246,958. Moreover, 2010’s recorded 2,200 cases of carnapping have likewise been reduced by half — to 966 cases this 2011.”
I nearly fell off my seat when in his 2014 SONA, he cited as an example – his sole example – of his administration’s success against “lawless elements:” “We apprehended the chairman of the CPP and secretary general of the NPA this March. Normality and order are now returning to the 31 provinces previously troubled by the NPA.”
In his 2015 SONA, he made it appear he had totally defeated the crime problem in the country: “We studied how criminals operate and strategically deployed our policemen. This is how we have caught the “big fish” gang leaders, dismantled syndicates, and lowered crime rates across the nation.” What a President, so totally out of touch with reality!
This is, of course, one of the big reasons why Duterte became so popular in the last elections, so much that Aquino and his candidate, Manuel Roxas, gave up their plans of cheating and instead, threw their cheating machineries and financial resources support behind their vice presidential candidate, Leni Robredo.
Duterte’s was even a single-issue candidacy that he would defeat illegal drug and crime lords who, Aquino either protected or coddled because of his incompetence. Duterte’s victory – getting nearly twice the votes for Aquino’s proxy, Mar Roxas – demonstrated that he was right in his priorities as what his Filipino voters wanted to see in their leader.
Excluding members of the Yellow Cult, only those ensconced in their gated exclusive village couldn’t see the worsening problem of crime and illegal drugs in our country.
Aquino, of course, isn’t the only one to blame for the Filipinos’ misery as a result of the terrible breakdown of law and order, and the spread of illegal drugs in the country. He had two alter egos, whose responsibility was supposed to make him, or force him to see reality. If he didn’t, these two simply failed to do the jobs they have vowed to carry out.
I am referring to Aquino’s interior and local government secretary, Roxas, and his justice secretary, Leila de Lima, who just didn’t perform their jobs well.
From the day he assumed that post, which put the Philippine National Police under his supervision, Roxas’ mind and efforts had been focused on how he could use his department’s resources for his presidential campaign.
De Lima, on the other hand, not wanting to risk her plans for Aquino to include her in his senatorial slate, acted as his very loyal attack dog against the opposition.
What has taken much of de Lima’s time and resources the past year? Her efforts to put former President Gloria Arroyo in jail, and to incarcerate through the PDAF or pork barrel issues the opposition, especially its leaders, senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla. Right under her nose, the Bilibid National Prison had become the headquarters of the drug lords in this country, embarrassing us before the whole world.
With so many poor Filipinos brutally killed, raped and robbed by criminals under this incompetent or complicit Aquino regime over the past six years, reading a columnist in this paper singing paeans to Aquino, “that he did wonders to the economy and to the country before the international community” — just makes me sick.