Just last Monday, Jan. 16, the Quezon City government declared that nine of its barangays had been cleared of drugs. That leaves just 133 more.
What QC officials didn’t say was how many drug pushers, users, and civilians had been killed in the drive to clear the nine barangays of illegal drugs. It’s hard to hazard a guess.
Let’s just say that QC, being the largest metropolitan city in the Philippines, has had its share of drug dependents slain in extra-judicial killings masquerading as buy-bust operations.
But wait, why no tap on the back from the current occupant of Malacanang? No speeches hailing the accomplishments of QC. Instead, a threat to declare martial law!
President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements, as correctly pointed out by a wire agency, triggered deep anxiety in a nation still haunted by the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, which ended in 1986 with the famous and bloodless “People Power” uprising.
But the members of the shadow cabinet known as the Department of Correction, Clarification and Interpretation (DCCI) were quick to dispel fears of us being led back into the abyss of dictatorship. Obviously, they disregarded what the Malacanang occupant said, that “No one will be able to stop me.”
Gen. Bato dela Rosa, for one, said the President was just disgusted with the continued proliferation of illegal drugs, conveniently forgetting that he’s the man tasked to eradicate illegal drugs in the country.
And then he said: “By all means we will support the President if he declare(s) (martial law), but I doubt he would declare it. He only said that because of frustration about the (drug) situation, out of anger, but I doubt he will do that.”
He said: “The President has categorically said no to martial law. He even made a pronouncement saying that martial law did not improve the lives of the Filipinos.”We therefore decry the latest misreporting that the president will declare martial law simply ‘if he wants to’ or that ‘no one can stop the president from declaring martial law.’ Such headlines sow panic and confusion to many. We consider this kind of reportage as the height of journalistic irresponsibility.”
And then we have Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II who said: “It’s just an angry expression from the President and the public, especially the media, should not be surprised and rather be already accustomed to this mindset of the President.”
That’s the DCCI for you. Unlike the DCCI guys, Senator Franklin Drilon took the bull by its horn, saying what was being said was pure bluster, no bark. A toothless dog trying to scare off a rival about to take over his territory.
So where will this lead us? It’s hard to say for now, but at the rate things are going, the DCCI better arm itself to the teeth and come up with corrections, clarifications and interpretations that will not paint the media as doddering fools. Because on the other side of the fence is a certified dolt who may just push the button at the slightest nudge.
About the Author
Jimmy A. Cantor is the deputy managing editor and concurrent sports editor of Malaya-Business Insight. A former three-term president of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA), he now contributes to MNLToday.ph. He started as a sportswriter, which has taken him to the four corners of the globe. He also dabbles in darts, billiards, chess, scrabble, and other board games. He likes to belt out a few tunes, and believes he can dance the night away!
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