We are a narco-state

Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia

Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia

WHEN your chief of the national police breaks down publicly uttering, “who can I trust?”, the enormity of the situation stares at you hard. When the president of the country cries foul and cusses left and right and wonders why we are in this state, we stare into space and ask, what has become of my country? When politicians fight, and propagate schemes to suit a desired outcome despite the state of things, we wonder, is being a narco-state just a happenstance for you? That it is not real? Are you high or on the take? Please pray tell us. For trust is earned and we can abandon you, if need be.

When a spurious individual the likes of a Matobato is presented to the public and two senators act as handlers without vetting and all, what has become of the Senate? And when Matobato spoke half-truths and proffered an incredulous testimony, we collectively suffered because it is our hard-earned taxes that they splurge like there’s no tomorrow. And what do you get out of a Matobato, unraveled in the Senate, now the complainant before the Ombudsman against PRRD? Is there no more self-restraint among senators? Is being responsible outside their capability? Is using the Senate as a platform for political assassination and personal aggrandizement the daily fare for the once mighty Senate that was responsible, circumspect, accountable and where ideas proliferate for honest to goodness debate? What has Congress become?

So let us call a spade a spade. We are a narco-state, no quibbling there. Those in denial may probably want to embrace the “EJK” argument. I won’t because no state sanctions what is deemed extra-judicial. But I do recognize that there are killings from police operations and that is murder (if there is intent) or homicide. Both crimes are in our Revised Penal Code. If there is a country waging a fight against illegal drugs and has an immaculate slate in terms of number of persons killed, please let us know. That model can be studied and probably implemented in our country, if only to stress the obvious that there is none.

Yes, we do cry for the dead but the living matters most, right? No one has a monopoly of despair. Yes, a public cry makes you one with the rest but a private shedding of tears to unknown persons matter most because it is not for the gallery to see. It is personal and private, as deaths are.

Oppositors to the conduct of PRRD in his fight against illegal drugs fail to understand certain things: 1) possession of illegal drugs is a crime in our country under Republic Act 9165. It is a health issue in the United States. Clearly, there are differences. So, to those who readily shout, “EJK”, would you rather we decriminalize and legalize the use of illegal drugs? Would this solve the killings? 2) No country will be crazy enough to declare itself a narco-state because it would cause the economy to crash, look at the US. 3) This is not just a war of and by Duterte. It is a war where all the three branches need to move and complement each other. There are the five pillars of the criminal justice system of the country: law enforcement, prosecution, courts, corrections and community. The silence of the judiciary on this matter is deafening. Instead of pursuing reform, creating a 24/7 court so it could dispense justice for those wrongly accused, acting on transfer of venues efficiently, among others, the judiciary merely watches and waits.

A narco-state or narco-capitalism or narco-economy is a “political and economic term applied to states where policies are seen to collude and cooperate with the illegal drug trade.” Mexico is a narco-state. Afghanistan has the makings of a narco-state. Tajikistan in the 2000s qualified as a narco-state. Guinea-Bissau in Africa is a transshipment point of cocaine out of Latin America into Europe, and so much more. And so, we ask, are we a narco-state?

Certainly no right-thinking politician would want to run for president knowing the drug menace is one serious issue you would need to confront. Who among Binay, Santiago, Poe, Duterte knew the gravity of the situation? Again, unlike the US, since we do not have primaries, not all candidates get a national security briefing. In the US, once you enter the general election phase, candidates get security details and receive daily briefings. In our case, it is more of a leap of faith. In the famous reply of Roxas then, “bahala si Batman.” Such is the state of our politics that candidates make a go of it (and it is really a huge sacrifice because they hit you left and right with all issues, manufactured or not, without really knowing what am I enlisting for). We have to ask: what happened in the last six years of Aquino? Why is the drug menace so ingrained? At what point did it seize our institutions? Who allowed it to thrive? Who benefited from it? To have several drug laboratories and state-of-the-art facilities, some of which are near military camps, are not mere coincidences. Who allowed it to flourish? And that is why I left Roxas’ name in the list. He was DILG.

We need to establish answers to these questions in order for all to understand the kind of narco-politics we have. Imagine removing a duly elected president because money from the drug lords are now intermingling with money to oust Duterte? Would the Loidas of the world know that they are aiding and abetting drug lords in the process? And the Loidas talk about a campaign promise made by Duterte as if that is the only thing important to look into. Ever reviewed what Noy promised and failed to deliver in six years? Try it and then you will see how the six months of Duterte compares with Noy’s six years. Fair.

That Duterte was not able to nip the drug menace so he has to go, is a US citizen finding umbrage with her place of birth. A single, foreign-based Fil-Am has the temerity to say to the 16 million voters (it was reportedly 20 million but had to be surgically removed electronically) who voted for Duterte that she is better than them and that she can singlehandedly call out the duly elected president in favor of the vice president, asserting further that the vice president “can do the job.” So, using such logic, if Ms Robredo takes over as president from Mr. Duterte, we will not be in a rut? Can we hold you to that? And if given six months as president and Ms Robredo fails to eradicate illegal drugs, who will be your next champion? The Loidas would probably want Frank? Why don’t you come home? Help Sorsogon, fight the menace and throw tantrums here instead of in your cozy Fifth Avenue abode? A Fil-Am insults 55 million Filipino voters, amazing! She probably thinks the 110 million are all idiots! And certain duly elected representatives and senators can’t talk sense to their padron?

To the Loidas of the world, remember Euripides. Let me refresh your mind and black heart: “When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” You may be moneyed, powerful and all but we are Filipinos and despite the heartaches, we chose our Philippines. We will defend it.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Here in Australia, as a Public Officer whether Prime Minister or Admin Officer, if you use tax money incorrectly and embarrass the government you must step down or get fired. Either way you must leave. The previous Premier of NSW (the highest Govt job of any state), stepped down over a bottle of wine for example. In Philippines, I don’t get why the likes of De Lima still gets to be senator. Trillanes as well with previous coup attempt. Kris Aquino gets to privately use a Presidential helicopter and this is not seen as corruption?? Something is seriously wrong with Philippines… but it’s comforting to see someone like Duterte, who walk the talk – fearless from the above named corrupt wolves who seem to think they are good abiding citizens. The international media may portray Duterte as the bad man but the international community are no fools – Duterte is freeing Philippines with visible determination and palpable improvements, from freedom of information to reformed agriculture. Perhaps if the good people of the Philippines would stop acting like poor souls and instead be part of the solution. Under Duterte Administration, I hope to see more “Made in the Philippines” overseas through his independent foreign policy. God bless the Philippines!!

  2. Dear Ma’am, you said a lot without saying anything. Take this sentence “Imagine removing a duly elected President because money from the drug lords are now inter-mingling with money to oust Duterte”.. Pray tell how you came to that conclusion? Did you have a direct link with the drug lords or their subordinates? Incidentally just for the record how many drug lords have been killed? None as far as has been reported. Hence how can you say that Duterte has been conducting an effective war against drugs?

    On another issue you ask the question “Are we a narco-state?” but then fail to answer it with cogent reasons backed up by facts and figures.

    And finally who gave you the right to label another person as having a black heart? (Your last paragraph refers.)

    • No corruption because Filipinos have inordinately thick skin. Heck, I don’t know if we should still call it skin as it is thicker than cowhide.

      Look at De Lima. Look at the Marcoses. Look at all the narco mayors and governors.

      And yet in an ironic twist that challenges the best of ironies, the Filipinos brag of being a very religious people.

    • That always makes me laugh at how religious the Filipinos think they are, They as a society are the most corrupt democracy in the entire world. Thinking of running for political office but i have to ask god first or God told me to run for office and help the people, Of course soon as they get done spending millions to get elected they start scamming to make it back.

      The problem in the Philippines is not really the thieves it’s a lack of law enforcement.

      Take for example the pork barrel fund scandal.

      40 past and present senators on the COA list but only 3 opposition senators charged.
      The Ombudsman and the DOJ are useless stooges of whoever is the current president.
      Take 5 years to investigate, another 7 years waiting for the trial to start then 5 or more years for the trial to run before the correct bribes are paid and the charges dropped for lack of evidence.

      Who really cares after 15 plus years ?

      Another example 20+ PNP charged with premeditated murder by the NBI and none of them arrested and held without bail like most murderers are. The cherry on the top the president says he won’t allow them to go to prison.

      The Philippines is hopelessly corrupt, the people like it that way.

  3. Indeed and regrettably, the Philippines has grown into being largely a morally bankrupt State. Duterte’s rise merely amplified just how far and wide the depths of moral depravity has permeated all levels of Filipino soceity.
    Avarice, Corruption, Insurmountable Poverty, Unequal opportunities, Oligarchy and Nepotism has brought the Philippines to the brink of being a Narco State.

  4. “Try it and then you will see how the six months of Duterte compares with Noy’s six years. Fair.”

    It’s a complete opposite; PNOY a do nothing Pres, while DIGONG for 6 months, had done everything the yellowish had not done for their 30 yrs of existence…

  5. That model can be studied and probably implemented in our country.

    There are plenty of models of efficiency around the globe but when the Philippines gets hold of any concept they corrupt it then implement it.

    Take the MRT maintenance contract, Roxas cancelled the contract that was held by a reputable Japanese company (Sumitomo Corp) who kept 6 months worth of spare parts in inventory and his replacement (Abaya) awarded the contract to PH Trams-CB&T a company only two months old, and had a subscribed capitalization of only P2.5 million, or equivalent to only a 120th part of the P300 million cost of the MRT-3 maintenance contract it was given.

    There you have the 2 idiots responsible for the MRT mess and yet neither one charged or investigated.

    Who did the Philippines copy for that model of corruption ?

  6. I appreciate so much your contribution Ms. Ma. Lourdes of Manila Times. You’re one of a kind. You’re a compatriot as africans lovely speak. For me…we are a narco state now as evidences showed and of course this started from the previous administration of neglect, greed and corruption. I am exhorting all peace loving citizens of Pinas and as we are one of the five pillars of justice …let’s support PRRD’s program against drugs, corruption and poverty. This is our country. .. whatever it takes let’s defend it! Success is from us.

  7. Thanks! I live outside the Philippines. I need articles like this of Ms. Tiquia to give me a fair reading of what is really happening in the Philippines. Somehow, I find many news articles in the Philippines or in the US quite lopsided.

  8. Pablo A. Dublin on

    My, my, can she make her point of argument! Using lucid, well-structured, point of arguments again and again. IMO, hands down, Ms. Ma Lourdes Tiquia, is one of the few journalist who can express both sides of issues with minimum hyperbole. Thank you.

  9. Great Words!! I feel the same way.. and absolutely believes and trust PRRD.
    God bless us all and guide us to persevere in our fight against those who are selfish in their motives in the political setting we have now. Those selfish and evil motives will never succeed over the huge desire of the patriotic citizens of our country. God bless the PHILIPPINES!!..

  10. To Loida the incorrigible, self-proclaimed savior of the narco Philippines, yes pls. come home to Sorsogon. The last time i was there, a year ago, it was a sleepy town and a few days before we arrived, someone was murdered.
    I walked around the main thoroughfare at night and i did not feel safe. There were many idle people around the plaza, waiting for something to happen. Yes, you might as well check the government facilities such as the local hospital: pathetic state. And you want to oust Digong? Stay in New York and count your dollar bills and shove it up your brown colored, well lotioned and victoria secret hugging ass.

  11. The Great Defiant on

    they went crazy over Marcos burial but deafeningly silent on the drug menace which is clear and present danger.
    DE5 and trillanes were busy on EJK and death squad and yet is also silent on drugs.
    LP is silent on drugs…
    abnOY, Mar, Drilon Kiko were silent on drugs…
    is silent means protector?…

  12. 1> Yup, when they choose to give allegiance to another country , if they help with no strings attached, good, but they have no right to meddle in the Philippines.

    2> I wonder why when heinous crimes are reported now they fail ( on purpose ) to state whether the perpetrator was under the influence of drugs.

  13. I feel you..this is also why I support this government and will definitely be out on the streets once the going gets tough. I will defend him because he is defending us and our children.

  14. Bravo Ma. Lourdes ! Yes, let’s defend our dear Philippines, with our lives if needed, against the likes of Loida ! Why doesn’t Empress Loida do a Poe (fake her true citizenship and residency) and run for Philippine President ? Ang galing galing pala niya ! Nasaan ba siya all these years ? Come on, rescue us please ! Deal ?

    • From investment view, there are rich people banking on the theory that there is opportunity to profit in instigating unrest. All Filipinos must monitor all forces that are not giving change a chance and wanting only the status quo that give the usual comfort to the 1% rich. The proliferation and unabated use of dangerous drugs that kill the brains of the multitude that cause more killing, criminality and corruption are fitly seen as integrated by the present PRRD platform of governance. Dangerous Drugs + Criminality + Corruption must NOT be tolerated by the 16 – 20 Million Filipino voters that voted for PRRD.

  15. Shinawatra of Thailand waged a war on drugs that also killed thousands, but did the bleeding heart western liberals cry a bucketful of tears? No, because Shinawatra is their boy, while Duterte is not their boy but ours. So all this handwringing over Duterte’s war on drugs is nothing but politics for these western meddlers as usual and not really about principles. Let us borrow these famous words from an American jingoist and throw it back at Loida and her kind: “My country right or wrong, beach !”