By resurrecting General Palparan and attempting to absolve him of his crimes, Malacañang is banking on the public’s short memory and its strong repugnance for and condemnation of the drug menace in order to clear the GMA regime as well for its coddling and encouragement of this erstwhile criminal-in-uniform. Unwittingly, the GMA regime reopens the case against Palparan and itself. It may end up with the whole scheme backfiring on its face.
BY CAROL PAGADUAN-ARAULLO
Streetwise / Business World
Posted by Bulatlat
There is really something more sinister than meets the eye in Malacañang’s determined push to place a notorious human rights violator, retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Gen. Jovito Palparan, in the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB). Significantly, this move came to light when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took direct charge of the government’s anti-narcotics drive in light of the word war between the Justice Department and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) over the former’s dismissal of charges against suspected drug pushers arrested by PDEA.
Too bad for the government, the quarrel has all the makings of a tabloid crime story wherein no less than state prosecutors (even Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez is implicated) get some rich kids off the hook after being bribed by interested parties. In the process the PDEA agents are made to appear incompetent and violators of due process.
GMA’s appointing herself as drug czarina can simply be brushed aside as a clumsy attempt to earn “pogi points” while troubleshooting the Department of Justice (DoJ) vs. PDEA conflict. The objective is to sweep the controversy under the rug and pretend that the Arroyo administration is undeterred in stamping out the drug menace. It is also a signal to the warring parties to cool down and for the publicity-hungry Congressmen to back off so that Malacanang can control the damage.
Mrs. Arroyo is projected as a no-nonsense executive stepping in to fix things after her subalterns make a mess of things. But in reality, naming herself “drug czar” does not vest her with any additional powers or resources to fight the drug menace.
One gets the picture. The Arroyo administration is not really serious about the anti-drug campaign otherwise it would have to confront the fact that a justice system steeped in corruption is of no use in the so-called war against illegal drugs. The big-time drug pushers, those coddled by venal government officials, the criminal syndicates who make buying off the police, prosecutors, judges and jail wardens part of the business, are all untouchable. It is only the small-time, street pushers who the authorities run after and are then paraded to the media as trophies in the anti-narcotics campaign.
Why else has the focus shifted to random drug testing in the campuses? There is no way this measure can flush out, much less stop drug lords and pushers, any more than the mandatory drug test for driver’s license applicants has yanked out the drug users from behind the steering wheel. If this is all the government has to offer, it obviously is merely trying to deflect attention from the dirty linen exposed to public view by the “Alabang boys” scandal.