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Damn if you do, damn if you don’t

By: Robert B. Roque, Jr.

The public perception is whether or not a drug personality surrenders to the police, either way, he’s dead.

Take the case of Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao who, along with eight others, including five armed bodyguards, were killed in a firefight in Makilala, North Cotabato on October 28, 2016. Dimaukom was supposedly linked to illegal drugs.

Another instance involved Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. He surrendered but agents from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group enforcing a warrant raided his detention cell and killed him on November 5 last year after he allegedly fought back with a smuggled gun. Drugs were also reportedly found in his cell.

Third to fall was Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. when a police team raided his house last Sunday. The mayor and his “private army” allegedly traded shots with the police, resulting in 15 deaths, including the mayor himself, his wife Susan, sister Mona and brother Misamis Occidental Board Member Octavio. Guns, ammunition, and drugs were reportedly seized.

Reports indicated that the mayor’s daughter, Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova, her brother Reynaldo Jr. and several others survived and are now detained in Camp Crame.

This sends shivers down the spines of local executives who are on President Duterte’s drug list. If the police come knocking on your door, you have two choices: Fight back or surrender. If you fight back, you die; if you surrender, you might just get a visit from Superintendent Marvin Marcos in your jail cell.

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Let me be clear, Firing Line does not condone the use and proliferation of illegal drugs. However, in the absence of the death penalty, drug personalities should be arrested, tried, found guilty and rot in jail. That is the law.

Murder is not.

The question of whether or not the penal system works for or against these drug lords is another issue altogether.

With the death penalty restored, by all means, they should be executed, as it would have been the law.

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While the official police report indicates a shootout, there are late reports seeping in of a witness, a staff of the late Board Member Octavio, who played dead after police allegedly lobbed a grenade at them and shot his boss and the mayor.

The Department of Justice, through the National Bureau of Investigation, and both the Upper and Lower Houses of Congress should investigate this new controversy and find ways on how this never becomes the new normal for the PNP.
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