THE big boast of President Benigno B.S. Aquino 3rd (and his sidekick Cesar Purisima) was that the Philippines was rising inexorably from third world to first world status during their watch.
The reality, if we are to believe President Rodrigo Duterte’s shocking disclosures last Thursday night, is that all this time we have actually been descending from third world to underworld (criminal) status.
(See below explanatory notes on the terms “first world, “third world” and “narco-state”).
Besides implicating five active and retired generals of the Philippine Nation al Police (PNP) in the illegal drug trade, the President has named one retired general as the chief associate of the notorious Triad from Mainland China.
Narco-politics under Aquino
In a televised address last Thursday night, the President said narco-politics existed under the administration of Aquino, with several “members” of the executive branch in cahoots with police generals running a drugs syndicate within the government and in partnership with the Triad, the main drugs cartel in the Asian region, and another Chinese drug cartel.
He said former PNP Deputy Director-General Marcelo Garbo, Jr. was protecting the top three drug lords in the country.
Duterte convened the Cabinet security cluster meeting in which PNP officials presented intelligence reports that went deep into the operations of major Chinese drug cartels in the country.
Duterte identified a certain Wu Tan, alias “Peter Co,” who is a member of the Triad, as being on top of the narcotics syndicate in Luzon and the National Capital Region; a certain Peter Lim, alias “Jaguar,” as the head of the syndicate in the Visayas and a certain Herbert Colangco as running the drug trade in Mindanao.
In his familiar style, the President said he is recommending that the three Chinese drug lords should commit suicide as he vowed not to allow these idiots to ruin the country; evidently because he will order their execution.
Co and Colangco are currently detained in Bilibid while Lim is abroad.
Malacañang aides intimated that members of the Aquino administration were either negligent or associates in the narcotics trade.
From pearl to bastion of crime
When Mr. Duterte first highlighted the drug and crime menace as the centerpiece of his campaign for the presidency, I misjudged him as overstating the crime problem for propaganda points. I opined that he was blind to the far bigger problems of the nation.
As he has given flesh and substance to his alarm and call to arms, I believe we can no longer doubt how gravely the nation is threatened by the illegal drug trade, and how
imperative are the measures he is taking.
When no less than top generals of our national police are involved in the drug trade, and key officials in the past administration were complicit, the situation could not be worse for the nation and the danger to our people more extreme.
This country, once hailed in history as the Pearl of the Orient, has degenerated into a barbaric bastion of crime and corruption.
What is a narco-state?
The three-world theory is an outdated model of the geopolitical world dating back to the cold war.
After World War II, the world split into two large geopolitical blocs and spheres of influence with contrary views on government and society, and one side grouping. The groups were:
1.First world – the bloc of democratic-industrial countries within the American sphere of
influence, the “First World.”
2. Second world – the Eastern bloc of the communist-socialist states.
3 Third world – the remaining three-quarters of the world’s population, states not aligned with either bloc.
The classification got outdated when the second world was shattered by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc of countries.
The suggestion that underworld should take a seat beside first, second and third world is hilarious. But it is not a joke when you consider the size of the countries dominated by the drug cartels and narco-capitalism and the narco-economy.
“Narco-state” is a neologism (newly coined word or phrase) that is used to describe a state’s policies and practices in relation to the international illegal drug trade. The prefix “narco-,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, means “associated with the trade in illegal drugs.” The Guardian calls Guinea-Bissau the first narco-state.
A narco-state is one where law agencies do little to stop the trade in illegal drugs and the situation is widely taken advantage of.
Darling of organized crime
When Aquino boasted that the Philippines has become “the darling of Asia,” he would have been more truthful had he said that it has become the darling of international criminals. We are an easy mark for criminal syndicates because of ineffective policing and weak institutions and highly corruptible officials.
Organized crime is too organized and sophisticated for our antiquated policing methods to cope with. The powers of criminal organizations derive from their status as formal social institutions. In weak states that cannot perform basic functions such as education, security or governance (usually due to fractious violence or to extreme poverty), organized crime enjoys a license to operate.
In the United States, the Organized Crime Control Act (1970) defines organized crime as “the unlawful activities of a highly organized, disciplined association.” In the United Kingdom, police estimate that organized crime involves up to 38,000 people operating in 6,000 various groups. Due to the escalating violence of Mexico’s drug war, a report issued by the US Department of Justice characterizes the Mexican drug cartels as the “greatest organized crime threat to the United States.”
Citation of these international examples should alert us to the scale of the threat that we are facing. And the compelling need to take action and measures that will be equal to the threat.
Fortunately, we have in Duterte a leader and commander in chief who comprehends the problem and is fully cognizant of what must be done.
It’s not a question of whether we can do this or do that. We must stop the threat!
Sen. Leila de Lima is one of the loudest critics of the President’s tough measures to combat the drug menace. But this is the former justice secretary and the overall supervisor of our national penitentiary, under whose nose illegal drugs proliferated and New Bilibid became a center for drug operations. Did the drug cartels contribute to her campaign?