Monday, July 18, 2016

Alta Masa to be revived against drugs

Let’s be clear.

Anti-criminality against drug lords and others, checked.

Mobilization of government resources to curb the spread of drug addiction, checked.

Allocation of government resources for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, checked.

Government support for an Alsa Masa against drugs? Whattt??

I thought the Duterte administration is against the spread of vigilantism? President Duterte and PNP chief Director General Bato dela Rosa have been quoted several times discouraging such formation of citizen’s groups. Former presidential spokesperson and a lawyer himself, Sal Panelo even reiterated this several times—that the President does not condone armed civilians prowling in the streets looking for drug addicts and drug pushers.

Now, here comes the appointed drug czar, Isidro Napenas, the man now heading the Presidential Drugs Enforcement Agency or PDEA expressing his approval to the formation of an “Alsa Masa” type of organization among civilians.

The name “Alsa Masa” became notorious during the Marcos dictatorial regime as the name of a Davao vigilante group supported by the AFP. They were used against Communist rebels operating in Davao and the rest of Mindanao.

Alsa Masa groups were heavily criticized for large-scale killings and human rights violations. Thousands of people were summarily executed most in a gruesome manner, while hundreds of families displaced and rights violated.

Is’nt it enough that we have a 140,000 strong police force coupled by another 150,000 military personnel? During the elections, Duterte boasted that he can mobilize government resources and these resources are enough to stem the tide of drug infiltration in communities and barangays throughout the country.

Why are we reviving the ghosts of the previous Marcos dictatorial regime?

Napenas was quick to clarify his approval of the formation of anti-drugs “Alsa Masa” groups”---unlike the previous one, this new Alsa Masa would just be an intelligence network of civilians. They would not be armed.

Crap. Bull. This is bull crap.

If we give this power to civilians, and we make them intelligence agents, then we also give them the power to arm themselves. Don’t tell me that these people would just agree to fight these drug lords off unarmed? They would surely ask for arms.

We have so many intelligence units out there—not just in the PNP but in the AFP and even the Office of the President has one—and don’t tell me these are not enough to pinpoint whose responsible for the sale and distribution of illicit drugs in the country?

I thought the palace already had their list, verified list of drug offenders and drug lords? Then, why do we need to revive a failed experiment like the Alsa Masa?

Are we ready for the expected local and international backlash the moment these groups begin abusing their powers?

This suggestion is actually more than just for anti-drugs campaign. I think this administration wants nothing more than fortify its hold in the grass roots level, since the Party of the President is just a paper tiger.

Likewise, this administration is preparing to strengthen and consolidate the coercive forces available for it at the grassroots level so that it is strong enough to pulverize its political enemies in the future.

Remember---the moment this lust for blood begins, abuses are expected to follow the path of the perpetuators. At this early, there are reports already surfacing of several cases of killings against suspected drug addicts and drug pushers which are unverified—meaning they were killed summarily and not based on the police rules of engagement.

With an Alsa masa out there and blatantly displaying their power, we will be creating a monster likened to the dreaded Filipino collaborators during WW2, who just fingered people, particularly those they had enmity with or their political enemies.