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Long shadow

By Jullie Y. Daza

SHABU casts a long shadow.

A shabu factory, hopefully the last one standing, was discovered in Batangas by PDEA agents immediately the day after the presidential entourage celebrated a successful visit to Beijing. Like a postscript to end all postscripts, the raid could not have happened without a touch of irony and an element of serendipity, unless it was timed as a colossal p.r. stunt: The tip was provided by China.

Doubly ironic: Shabu in huge quantities is smuggled into the country from China – case in point, that P6.4 billion shipment – but the Chinese in China are being given a run for their money by the Chinese chemists who are sent to Luzon to manufacture the white powder here.

While the lords and ladies earn millions by the hour, the petty pushers who are their foot soldiers and aspiring to be just as rich are caught with their pants down, literally, whenever they are busted by police. Their longish short pants are part of a uniform that has become iconic: dirty beach slippers, brightly colored T-shirts, grungy cargo pants with lots of pockets. Why are they so miserable looking when their income is counted in multiple digits by arresting officers?

“They do it out of desperation” is the usual explanation, which does not explain much. Desperation? Or the effects of a manmade substance that cooks the brain and will not let go as it induces hallucinations and fiendish desires?

The long shadow cast by shabu goes all the way overseas. When an OFW is sentenced to die for a drug-related crime, the Philippine government cannot do enough and fast enough to save the mule. Under our own laws, drug running is a heinous crime. Heinous, maybe, but not a capital offense, as is the case in many countries.

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