Sanity

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    VICE President Leniy Robedo could not have said it any better: that the senseless killings of drug users and suspected pushers from poor communities have diminished the effectivity of various efforts of numerous agencies involved in the drug campaign. After all, it was President Duterte himself who expressed his high regard for the youth of our land whom he has vowed to save from the abyss of addiction. Robredo is now confronting him that the EJKs have accomplished virtually nothing at all. The President could not control his exasperation over what Robredo called as staggering figures of an additional 7 million to 8 million more drug dependents.

    With Robredo on board, sanity will hopefully return to the drug operations and bring about a genuine due process that will test the PNP’s skills and competence in both intelligence and case build-up. These two essential aspects of police work have long been overcome by idle, delinquent and brutish drug operations. Instead of guns blazing, the police will be more restrained as they subject themselves to the more rigid and thankless but proper and lawful discharge of their duties, doggedly following drug trails and putting pieces of evidence together with expertise and discipline. They will be exposing themselves to more dangers which “comes with the territory” to ensure what the Constitution commands “that no one will be deprived of his possession, property and his life without the due process of law “

    To PNP PIO chief Brig. Gen. Bernie Banac, it will take more than his public relations skills to confront what is emerging to be a face-off between the police and Vice-President Robredo on EJKs. Only a few are taken by Banac’s usual narrative that it was not a policy of the PNP to carry out the evidently state-sponsored killings.

    If the PNP leadership is, by any chance, serious in its assurance of full cooperation with Robredo, Banac should seek to make available the records of thousands of drug operations to her. The Commission on Human Rights has repeatedly been denied access to those documents and none of the 21 agencies under the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD has acceded to make them public.

    Banac’s loyalty to the PNP, whether it’s right or wrong, has been marked by withholding and ignoring the truth of the deeper loyalty public servants like him owe our flag and country. Has he found compassion and tolerance meaningless for the people he has sworn to protect by urging them to bring their complaints of the police planting evidence before the courts where they certainly don’t stand a chance?

    Today, Banac, a Bible-believer and minister, comes face-to-face with his Christian faith that deeply values truthfulness, honesty and uprightness, and above all, an abundant life over sickness, anguish and death

    ***

    He was the father I never knew – warm, outgoing, caring and forgiving. Pedro “Pete” Villanueva passed away recently at age 86 in Toronto, Canada. His condition had deteriorated after he suffered from strokes almost every year for the past four years. He was very comfortable at a home for the elderly that can easily compare with a first-class hospice, unlike here in the Philippines where dreary and dilapidated government-run facilities serve as homes to mostly abandoned and ailing seniors.

    He was father to my dear wife, Deanna and sisters Aileen, Brenda, Carla, Chinky and son, Lester. He couldn’t say nearly a thing during his remaining days. But his life filled with abundant joy and love for his family, relatives and friends already spoke with a thousand words. My days with him at Marikina where he raised a wonderful family before they migrated to Canada were unforgettable. Since he died two weeks ago I could not fight the painful thought that he is now a memory. (Mr. Villanueva was an officer of the then Solid Bank; his ashes will be brought here after four or five months.)