President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s bold act of naming five active and retired generals of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as “protectors” of illegal drug syndicates and trade in the country was a clear signal that he is dead serious in his Administration’s thrust of addressing the illegal drugs problem in our country.
We have not seen nor experienced in decades an anti-illegal drugs campaign as serious as what the Duterte Administration has shown in merely less than two weeks.
While the naming of the alleged “narco-generals” is clearly a strategic move of the Duterte Administration, we expect the “war” to progress.
What we expect now is a fast and above-board action from the National Police Commission and other concerned government agencies in investigating the case of the five generals named as protectors of illegal drugs.
Let us not forget that in our system of justice, these generals should be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty. The fast resolution of the case of these five generals is in the best interest of the concerned generals themselves and their families, the Philippine National Police, the Duterte Administration and the Filipino people.
As we are still in a country of laws, there should be due process in dealing with the case of these generals even if we believe that the President has bases for his pronouncement.
Having the case of these five generals dragged on for years, just like most court cases in our country will certainly have significant negative effects on the Duterte Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
As we believe that President Duterte is serious about “fixing” our government, we hope that he can also do something to hasten the investigation without sacrificing the rights of all concerned.
It will also be a good move for the government to ensure complete transparency in the said investigation so that the people can see that the government is serving the people with genuine justice. Transparent investigations will also send a strong and loud message to those involved in illegal drugs that the opportunities for them to continue with their illegal activities are no longer present because the government will not allow anybody to “protect” them.
Without fast and transparent investigations and prosecution of those involved in illegal drugs, we can win some battles but not the war. (Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)