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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte in his tour of AFP Camps has revealed an estimated 600,000 Filipinos are drug addicts and are victims of this pernicious trade. Other experts place the toll higher. There is, to be theoretical about the substance abuse, a horizontal and vertical menace that influences the widest swathe of our common people, from the lowliest in the mountains with shabu, to the richest, to suspected political mammals in national office e.g. former Cabinet members and alleged legislators?

At those levels of megalomania, it has to be a combine of marijuana turned into cigarette habit, cocaine as a “harmless” apertiff for the richy-rich since they claim it is natural. And the in-between, “ecstasy pills” for the lesser cretins.

The Duterte battle against drugs is a six-month self-imposed timeline to rid Philippine society of all purveyors of the illegal trade, including, exposing addicts so they can turn themselves in. More often, families are actually helpless dealing with relatives hooked or pushing drugs. Maternal instincts get in the way of “voluntary surrender” in most cases.

Duterte’s list validates the great spectrum of governance as infested with the habit of, or compromised by the corruption of the drug trade. I hope the President in his next speeches will inform the people how many billions of pesos are involved in the lucrative business of what I suspect is an encouraged “opium war” of China over the Philippines.

Noticeable, is the inter-marriage of “jueteng/swertres” with drugs in order for politicians to have a greater war chest come every election time to literally buy public office in a bidding war for votes. This is aside from co-opting police officials, other investigating agencies e.g. PDEA? Crooked Comelec operators? What we have is not a democracy, but a “narco-cracy” at these great sums of money exchanging hands.

It is opportune to declare drugs as a “National Security Threat”. Strengthen the public reporting and reward system vs. drug syndicates and manufacturers. Make haste the re-imposition of the “death penalty”. And mandatory drug test for all politicians. (Erik Espina)