>Hole of Justice
by Peter G. Jimenea
US observers claim that narco-politics will affect the elections in this country. That is not news but history. Even Pres. Richard Nixon received millions of dollars from the Chinese Triads as campaign fund when he ran for president.
What former Detective James Badey of Arlington (Virginia) Gang Task Force is saying about the Triads: “ The Chinese have the potential of making the Mafia in America look like a fraternity of wimps.” That’s it, lot of Chinese Triads are suspects to have already migrated here.
Politics of drugs in the Philippines can be traced back to Martial Law years when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, ordered the execution of Lim Seng, a Chinese national convicted of drug trafficking. His five other companions, however, were exonerated on intervention of some influential persons in the government.
What follows in the succeeding administrations were the implication of some national figures in the illegal drug business. Even then PNP Director General Panfilo Lacson had also been in quarrel with fellow generals due to drug money.
During the stint of Pres. Joseph Estrada, PNP Gen. Dictador Alqueza was also relieved as Narcotics Command chief of the country only a week after he assumed the post because of his involvement in illegal drugs.
The killing of P/Supt. John Campos while on his way home was also linked to illegal drugs. The sad part is that even an RTC Judge, three months after the arrest of six Taiwanese nationals with tons of “shabu” at Sariaya, Quezon, cannot still decide whether to grant them bail or not.
Prior to the birth of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), there are police officers who are fighting one another as if fighting criminals on the street because of drug money. If drug money can buy judges, prosecutors, lawyers, government employees, military and police officials, there is no reason that it cannot invade the dirty world of Philippine politics!
In Iloilo City, rumors of narco-politics playing a big role in this May 10, 2010 elections is a cause for alarm. Why? It involves few lawyers running for city councilors previously defending clients with drugs cases in court.
But it is believed to be purely lawyer-client relationship. Lawyers only exercise their profession to assist clients for a fee but not to encourage them to sell illegal drugs. Take the case of Atty. Edel Julio Romero who is also a popular candidate for city councilor.
The lawyer became known to drug-pushers for winning a lot of drug cases in court. But those cases were mostly won not on merits but on technicalities of the charges filed by the apprehending police officers in exchange for you know – what. That was always the case before PDEA came into the picture.
On what misfortune, Atty. Romero’s success in profession was viewed by the public in a different angle. That he has only emboldened the drug-pushers who had been acquitted of charges to go on selling more of the prohibited drugs.
Worse, when hired as legal counsel of Melvin Taxi and Miriam Transport owned by the successful public transport businessman Melvin “Boyet” Odicta, Sr. and wife Miriam, Atty. Romero was again linked as protector of the former in his rumored link to illegal drug trade.
But if true, Odicta should have been arrested long time ago. Even the PDEA claimed they have no evidence to prove the allegations against him. Perhaps Odicta’s only fault now is in making a lot of money as transport operator, misperceived by critics as profit from illegal drug business.
The funny thing about the issue against Atty. Romero is the latest local radio survey result. The guy got only 7% in a survey conducted at the barangay of Odicta, when all the other neophyte lawyer-candidates for councilors have made at least 12%. It only proves that the issue against Atty. Romero and Odicta was wrong.
If narco-politics is now in Iloilo, drug lords will support a congressman or perhaps a governor or a mayor with executive powers rather than a councilor who is merely confined in legislative works. The real drug lords know – there is no return of investments (ROI) in such venture!