ROUGH CUTS|Truth to tell on anti-illegal drugs drive

A BUSINESSMAN-FARMER in Purok Pomelo in Barangay Talandang was shot dead inside his house dawn of last Tuesday. The killing was brutal any which way one looksat the way it was done. The victim is Manuel “Manny” Maningo, a retired executive of a multi-national drugs company.

Immediate speculations have it that he was liquidated by the New People’s Army (NPA). Being in the news gathering business for about three decades already in Davao we have been witness to the style of the rebels in getting their enemies or those being the subject of intrigues resulting to their erroneous “sentencing” by the rebels.

We know that it has never been the style of the rebels to hide their identity when killing people they perceived as enemies of the movement. They do not have even any iota of fear that their faces will be exposed. So, the perpetrators of the slaying of farmer-businessman Maningo who came to his house on board motorcycles and wearing bonette to undertake the killing could not have been the NPA.

But of course we are not the police. So we are expecting that any time soon the law enforcers who are conducting the investigation into the killing would come out with the reaal identity of the killers and the group that they belong.

Yes, are they really the ideologues wanting to eliminate people who they think are humps that hamper their plan to change government for what they espouse as the better, or are they common criminals who are willing to undertake crimes even for the smallest of price?

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Some weeks back the regional office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency or PDEA disclosed that a large percentage of the 182 barangays in Davao City are still under the so-called “drug influenced” category.

At the outset we agree fully with that PDEA findings until we learned that there are certain barangay captains, relying on unverified reports of their trusted functionaries mostly their relatives or political supporters that this and that person in their respective barangays are into illegal drugs.

One example is a barangay we know whose village leaders were the ones tasked to monitor who are the drug pushers and users in their area. A few days after the conduct of the monitoring a son of a friend of ours suddenly received a letter advising him to report to the Tugbok police station for a meeting.

However, the first sentence of the letter stated that they are mandated to attend the drug surrenderees meeting. This sent the concerned person and his mother cowering in fear. Imagine, he now becomes a drug surrenderee when he has not even touch a single sachet of shabu or small marijuana pack!

We have personal knowledge of this person because he works in the farm of the family of Fr. Bong Gonzaga where he reports to the field as early as 7:00 in the morning, goes home at 11:00 towards noon, pick up her kindergarten son and take lunch. By 1 o’clock he is back to the field to do his assigned responsibility. Then, this guy is off at 4 p.m., goes home, changes clothes and proceed to a school in Talomo Riverside to pick up his niece and goes back home. The rest of the evening he spent bonding with his family.

So, he complained to the Tugbok police of his inclusion in the list of drug surrenderees. The police instead referred him back to the officials of his barangay as the list was submitted by them. What he got was a mere commitment that his name will be stricken off the list. But the other week he again received a letter demanding that all drug surrenderees attend an urgent meeting called by the police in Mintal.

This person, his mother, and his wife found themselves unable to sleep and lost appetite to eat because of fear that something could happen to him. What with reports of drug suspects summarily executed by unidentified individuals believed non-members of the police.

It was somewhat late when he realized he needs help from knowledgable individuals in order to have his name cleansed from the list. The person he sought help was able to have him issued a certification that there was a mistake when his name was included in the list without proper validation.

Well, someone from among the barangay officials reportedly told him that the barangay executives were chasing a “performance record” in helping the President in his campaign against illegal drugs. WHATTTT?

And according to this person, he is hoping that no other such similar letter will come from the police again.

Posted in Opinion