Drug talk

Two incidents, totally unrelated, but somehow linked, occurred a week apart.

On 9 October, media reported that the Philippine National Police seized 990 kilograms of shabu worth a whopping P6.7 billion in Tondo, Manila.

Aside from the hair-rising quantity of the drug, found in the place were ID cards, belongings, and “incriminating documents” of a police officer — a member of the PNP’s Drug Enforcement Group.

Said an online news outlet: “The stunning operation showed how deep illegal drug groups may have penetrated even the national police’s most specialized units — posing a challenge to the new administration of President Bongbong Marcos, which promised to continue and even improve the anti-drug campaign of his tough-talking predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte.”

The PDEG’s chief himself, Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo, admitted in a media conference that the suspect, Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr., is assigned to his own group.

In his report, Domingo said the PDEG on 8 October conducted a buy-bust operation in a building on Jose Abad Santos Street, Barangay 252 in Tondo, Manila.

In a building was a financial services company, Wealth and Personal Development Lending Inc., which police said was a cover for an illegal activity.

Found in the company’s office were stacks of shabu in plastic bags, presumably ready for distribution.

Though agents arrested a certain Ney Saligumba Atadero, who participated in the transaction, the more important details were narrated by Domingo: “During our search, we found an ID of a policeman inside a drawer, then the belongings of a policeman.”

Mayo, said Domingo, had other IDs with different names.

The second incident involved the eldest son of Justice Sec. Boying Remulla.

On 11 October, Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III was arrested by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents after receiving a parcel that yielded P1.25-million worth of kush or high-grade marijuana in Las Piñas.

PDEA filed the complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Las Piñas City on 13 October.

The following day, Remulla III, 38, was formally charged with the importation of dangerous drugs and violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The charge carries a life imprisonment sentence if Remulla IIII is proven guilty, PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon told reporters, adding that the parcel had been spotted by authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

He narrated that the drug bust, which PDEA conducted with the Bureau of Customs, was a “controlled delivery operation” — in which narcotics agents knew in advance the package contained drugs.

“[It] is an operational technique whereby a contraband is allowed to reach the intended destination under close supervision by authorities for the proper arrest,” said Carreon.

In a statement released on 13 October, Sec. Remulla said he won’t intervene or influence his son’s case. That’s Remulla saying he would not let his personal concern for a family member affect his job as Justice secretary one bit.

From these two incidents, keen observers — especially those aware of current developments as far as drugs are concerned—can deduce the following:

First, the proliferation of shabu in the Philippines continues. Street-level transactions may have stopped, but not — pun intended — in high places. Second, the importation of kush means there is a growing local market for the stuff — which, incidentally has been decriminalized, and legalized even, in many countries.

In fact, the medical benefits of marijuana have been recognized by the international medical community to be effective, for instance, to calm down an epileptic attack.

This is not to condone the use of cannabis, but if more and more countries — including Thailand, which, until 2019, was ruled by a military junta — are treating it as medicine, maybe it’s time to study its real properties.

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