It all turned out to be a false alarm.Or is it?
After capturing the nation’s attention and filling the general populace with outrage, the alleged abduction and rape of the 13-year old daughter of an agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Baguio City seems to be a case of a father’s worry over his daughter’s not coming home on time.
It apparently turns out that the girl went out drinking with friends, and, since she didn’t come home on time, the father, given his line of work, understandably thought that the worst had happened. However, the girl’s companions have come out and have ‘fessed up, giving closure to the case.
However, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which headlined the story last weekend, appears skeptical, and has hinted, in its story today, of a possible cover-up, considering the abrupt about-face of the government in its statements about the case. At first, the government spokespersons expressed the outrage that the public felt, and declared war on drugs; this, of course, prompted columnist Ramon Tulfo to question what the government was doing about the problem before the alleged abduction. With the announcement by PDEA chief Dionisio Santiago that the alleged abuction didn't happen, the spokespersons began backtracking and saying that the abduction news was "unverified". If this is the case, what happens to the war on drugs now?
I remember reading about the case last weekend, and I remember the revulsion and rage that I felt. I found myself agreeing with politicians calling for the re-imposition of the death penalty for these monsters who would stoop so low as to attack the dependents of agents working against them. Such beasts, I thought, have lost any right to life. Now, however, I find the rage dissipating and wonder at how the whole situation will affect the war against illegal drugs, which, despite the false alarm with the agent’s daughter, is a very real problem.
The fact that the case unleashed a wave of public indignation and outrage is an indicator of how widespread the problem is. It is unsettling to learn that the Philippines is one of the top movers of illegal drugs in the world, and one has to question what our government has been doing to stop this heinous trade.
One of the problems is that the drug syndicates are likely backed by powerful individuals, among our politicians, local officials and our military, making it difficult to impossible for any real progress to be made in rooting out the criminals. There is big money to be made in illegal drugs, and, with next year’s elections coming up, potential candidates need sizeable war chests in order to be able to run a credible campaign, and aren’t picky about where the funds come from.
I’m not sure how the problem can be solved, but it’s important that the government doesn’t let the false alarm over the agent’s daughter deter them from continuing to go after the syndicates. The only way, it seems, is to go after the ringleaders, and make sure that any charges against them stick. Of course, given the fact that a number of our officials are likely involved in the trade, it’s going to be a Herculean task.
SOURCE: Philippine Commentary