Albayalde’s resignation won’t stop drugs

YESTERDAY’S sudden resignation of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde has whipped up speculations. The rabid supporters of President Duterte think he was “sacrificed” to justify the looming purge of the “ninja cops” for recycling confiscated shabu.

The other side doubts that. We all know of previous purges that resulted in the purged “kicked up” to higher offices.

There have been no indicators of the “war on drugs” succeeding, what with “sachets” of confiscated shabu eventually expanding into kilos and tons. When this happens under the watch of “ninja cops” getting their share, it becomes a vicious cycle.

But, of course, not all cops are “ninjas.” A TV newscast the other night saw some of the good ones jailing four men who had been robbing grocery stores.

One of the four confessed that before hitting their target, they would first snort shabu.

“Wala kasi kaming trabaho,” he said. “Kung hindi kami magnakaw, wala kaming ipakakain sa pamilya.”

That confession was an “eye opener”; shabu is not an end in itself for these outlaws but a means to an end. Shabu was some kind of fuel that drove them to commit a crime without fear. 

But those four were poor. If they had made millions of pesos from a heist, would they not have offered the arresting officers a part of it?

The big-time wholesalers sell shabu at P16 million to P17 million per kilo. You may consult Mr. Google for verification. 

The higher the price, the more the sellers are willing to risk their lives. Life being short, they philosophize, why not make the most of it? The drug addicts out there would pounce at first opportunity to sniff again, even if that meant making money first from other crimes like theft or robbery.

Addiction could be so strong that cravers could no longer be persuaded to be rehabilitated – not even when lectured that this white, crystalline powder could damage the brain and body organs, or cause sudden death. What counts to them is the “high” they experience. Naturally, pushers pounce on that weakness.

Tricycle drivers have been caught “sidelining,” selling shabu at P500 per tiny sachet, or P4,000 per gram if luckier.  Why not when they could not earn that much from transporting passengers.

They would rather die of gunshot wound when caught than die of hunger on starvation income.

Despite his “put_ na” and other cusswords, President Rodrigo Duterte has not scared away drug lords. Even on the assumption that he is no friend of the “lord of the rings,” his failure to end the illegal drug problem as promised – “three to six months” – implies that those who are supposed to implement the law are prone to violate it.

If the masses were not poor, then illegal drugs would be not much of a problem. And those using them would be less menacing to society.

I found this out for myself when I spent three weeks in several cities of New Zealand where cocaine pushing is illegal, but using is not. A fellow Filipino working there swore that rarely do drug users create trouble; and that the government arrests the pushers but not the users, unless the latter commits a crime.

The same is true in Canada, where marijuana – either medical or recreational – is no longer prohibited. The government imposes fines and incarceration for dealers and pushers of stronger stuff like cocaine, but not strictly. That accommodation gives no “incentive” for the police to go “ninja.”

Well, perhaps, here is where Superman should intervene. ([email protected]/PN)

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