In the aftermath of the Davao City bombing which killed more than a dozen and injured many others, President Rodrigo Duterte has declared that the country was in a state of lawless violence.
Some people ask: Is this proclamation necessary?
I believe so. The perpetrators, the Abu Sayyaf Group, did this in retaliation for the all-out offensive of President Duterte against them. They have been flouting the law by their kidnap-for-ransom activities. Sometimes, they behead their captives when they are not able to raise the amount.
The danger to national security is that the ASG is already affiliated with the dreaded IS. It is also known that the Abus have been responsible for other terrorist attacks in the Visayas and even in Metro Manila. My gulay, for sure, the Abus will become desperate, now that the President has ordered the military to wipe them out once and for all!
Read the 1987 Constitution and see for yourself the justification of a “state of lawless violence or lawlessness.” Section 18 of Article VII of the Constitution states that “the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and when it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”
Read further, and you’ll know that such proclamation of a state of lawlessness is far from the imposition of Martial Law. A state of Martial Law can only be imposed in cases of invasion or rebellion.
Read on, and you will also realize that Martial Law in the Cory Constitution is toothless. This is because the 1987 Charter was reactionary in character, to avoid any recurrence of the Martial Law regime.
Why do I believe that President Duterte’s declaration of a nationwide state of lawlessness is necessary?
The Abu Sayyaf Group is a terrorist organization now affiliated with IS of the Middle East. If the government does not do anything about this now, this could be a real national security problem.
Something must be done. The law allows the President to call on the AFP to secure the nation. Better this, than be sorry afterward.
Comes now the more difficult phase of President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs: The rehabilitation of drug dependents. Killing drug lords, protectors, financiers and pushers is the easy part.
The Duterte administration must now realize that putting up drug rehabilitation centers and facilities nationwide, with no less than 3.7-million drug addicts, could cost billions of pesos. This is why the private sector should contribute to the effort.
I know this too well. When I was vice president of DARE Foundation which was put up by former priest Bob Garon, we had to solicit contributions from the private sector. The Dangerous Drugs Board could not subsidize us.
Cost is one thing; manning rehab centers is another.
A center must have doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and other specialists. Drug dependents are sick, not only mentally but physiologically and psychologically.
Way back in the 1970s when I got involved in drug rehab, there was only marijuana and cocaine to contend with. Now there’s shabu, ecstasy and other forms of so-called party drugs that affect the brain and heart.
There are numerous reasons for addiction, both for the affluent and the poor drug dependents. Middle-class users may have family problems, may be influenced by peers or may be driven by curiosity. In my day, they had to pay DARE P20,000 to P30,000 a month for board and lodging.
The poorer ones say they become addicts to escape hunger. Soon, they also become pushers to finance their habit.
What I am saying is that rehabilitation is easier said than done. Would you believe that our batting average at DARE was 75 percent? The other 25 percent who “graduated” go back to being addicts even as they appear rehabilitated. Some die from overdose.
I’ve often said that so long as there is demand for illegal drugs, the menace will not end. This is the reason why the Chinese triad, the West African drug syndicates and the Mexican Sinaloa cartel have made the Philippines a transshipment point for their global operations.
They could go underground as they are doing now, but they can always resurface at some future date.
Has the United States eradicated illegal drugs despite its Drug Enforcement Agency? No. The Mexican and Colombian drug cartels are always there to supply the demand.
There must be no deadline in the war against illegal drugs. It is never going to end. It can only be minimized.
Efforts of Marcos haters to stop the burial of the remains of the late strongman President Ferdinand E. Marcos is actually because of the name of the memorial for war veterans—“Libingan ng mga Bayani” or “Cemetery of Heroes.” Marcos haters say the former president is no hero.
The idea was to have a prototype in the Philippines of Arlington Cemetery in the US. Here, veterans, or presidents for that matter, would be interred. A Pantheon for heroes was planned but it never come to pass because of costs. Thus, a burial place was constructed.
With the Supreme Court now trying to decide on the matter, another controversy has arisen after Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked leading questions about Marcos being “dishonorably discharged,” as President and Commander-in-Chief, by the 1986 People Power Revolution.
Justice Carpio, in his line of questioning, obviously wanted to impart the idea that Marcos was dishonorably discharged because the People Power Revolution was the voice of the people.
In deference to Tony Carpio, who certainly as a Supreme Court justice knows the law better than I do, I believe any act to depose or oust a president is extra-constitutional. The Constitution is specific that a president can only be impeached.
What is referred to in the AFP rules and regulations are soldiers who have been “dishonorably discharged” by a military tribunal for violations under the Articles of War. Marcos, as a soldier, was never dishonorably discharged. He did not commit any violations of the articles of war.