By ordering the military to take over the Bureau of Customs, President Rodrigo Duterte is taking complete and direct control of drug smuggling in the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines said in a statement.
“Frustrated over how recent operations to smuggle in more than two tons of methamphetamine hydrocholoride (shabu) was publicly exposed, Duterte now wants to use martial law powers to take complete control of the BoC and throw out everyone outside his cabal, and use the military culture of secrecy to serve his criminal mafia ends,” the CPP said in a statement sent to the media.
“By directly taking over of the customs through the AFP, Duterte has firmly consolidated his overlordship of the shabu smuggling and trafficking operations in the country. He is now the lord of all drug lords and the godfather of the Philippine narco-government,” the group further said.
Duterte’s order came after the controversial appointment of former BoC chief Isidro Lapeña to Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) despite the latter’s failure to stop the smuggling of more than 1.6 tons of methamphetamine hydrocholoride (shabu) worth P11 billion from China last June.
The CPP also questioned the appointment of Nicanor Faeldon, also former BoC head, to various government agencies despite being indicted as a conspirator over the smuggling of more than than 600 kilos of shabu worth P6.4 billion from China in May 2017. The smuggling involved Duterte son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo and son-in-law Mans Carpio who were in close contact with Faeldon before the smuggling. Charges were later dropped.
“Indeed, by continuing to support Lapeña and Faeldon with government appointments, Duterte is making himself appear to be rewarding the two for having allowed the large shipments of shabu from China, keeping them close, ensuring their loyalty and silence,” the CPP said.
The CPP said the illusion of Duterte’s “war against drugs” has been shattered. “Under Duterte’s rule, shabu smuggling and local trafficking thrives,” the CPP said.
In just over a year, at least two tons of shabu have been smuggled in the country. This has reportedly pushed down the price of shabu from a high of P8,000 per gram in 2016 to P1,500 per gram at present.
The CPP further said that Duterte is “flexing his muscle for his plan to declare nationwide martial law early next year to secure the mid-term elections and further strengthen his reign of crime and corruption.”