Fire all ineffective cops to curb illegal drugs
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-11-15
The tragic killing of UST (University of Santo Tomas) cum laude graduate Cyrish Magalang had outraged both young and old. Young people of her age naturally felt angry over how vulnerable they’ve become in our society. Those of parental age felt the loss of so many years of love and dedication that her parents have given Cyrish to enable her to graduate cum laude.

Cyrish was homeward bound last November 1 when she boarded the tricycle that was operated by brothers Rolin and Roel Galita, 27 and 24 years old, respectively. Instead of bringing Cyrish home, the Galita brothers allegedly brought her to a shack where they first robbed her and then tried to rape her. The brutality of the killing shocked many folks. She had an unusually high number of stab wounds and her head was smashed with a hollow block. Witnesses have testified that Cyrish did board the tricycle of the Galita brothers. What clinched the case was the admission by the brothers of their guilt.

Even if the culprits are now in police custody and will soon face the bar of justice, we shouldn’t feel relieved. We all have good reasons to demand from our police forces better protection and that such incidents won’t ever happen again. We all have good reasons to demand that heads should roll — like the heads of policemen assigned to the area where Cyrish was killed. Were they sleeping on the job like some Pasay City cops that were caught on camera?

Notable in the Cyrish Magalang killing is that the Galita brothers had expressed remorse and admitted that they were only able to do the gruesome act because they were under the influence of illegal drugs. Yes, it’s very possible that the effects of illegal drugs drove the Galita brothers to brutally kill Cyrish. If we want to prevent any further victims of brutal killings like Cyrish — the solution is to wage an all-out war against illegal drugs and the people protecting the drug trade.

The war on drugs fails because corrupt cops turn a blind eye and allow it. The wallets of these cops get fatter when more illegal drugs are peddled in our communities. The bribery chain reportedly goes all the way to the top of the police organization. Considering the volume of money that’s generated by illegal drugs, it’s very possible that drug lords have bought not just cops but politicians, prosecutors and judges as well. 

Per the US State Department 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the illegal drug trade in the Philippines is anywhere from $6 billion to $8 billion and is fast growing. That’s P255 billion or more and with that kind of money drug lords could easily allocate 10 percent, or P25.5 billion, for acquiring the best cops, politicians and judges that their money could buy. No administration had really made a serious dent in curbing the distribution of illegal drugs. To do that they have to catch dirty cops at the top and dirty cops on the ground. These are the protectors that allow the distribution to operate unhampered.

It’s bad enough that the dirty cops on the ground are allowing the illegal drug trade but they also make money from those whom they have caught — usually ground level small time distributors. Instead of booking these small time sellers, the cops milk them. This accounts for the dismally low ratio between drug arrests and resultant court convictions.

If that’s not bad enough, there are cops who would plant drugs and then threaten to arrest an innocent person with the aim of milking the poor victim. This reflects a culture that must be eradicated. Nothing less than outright dismissal from the service must be done if this culture is to be erased.

If we cannot curb the illegal drug trade because of dirty cops on the highest echelons of the police organization and on the ground — then the administration should make them all accountable for crime output. This means that for every three incidents of crime committed by people under the influence of illegal drugs — the local or area commander is sacked. This means that for failing to reduce illegal drugs by 20 percent every year, the top echelons of the PNP (Philippine National Police) will be revamped.

The cops are in the frontline of the war against illegal drugs. If on the top and ground, the cops are accepting bribes from drug lords, we are helpless in preventing incidents like that of Cyrish Magalang. In many drug busts, it was even reported that cops were operating the distribution.

Keep firing the ineffective cops until we finally end up with a PNP that’s committed and dedicated to ending the illegal drug trade.

All we get these days are token arrests but these hardly reduce the amount of illegal drugs that are distributed nationwide. These illegal drugs bring out the Mr. Hyde in users. Fire the dirty cops who protect the drug trade! When they feel that their jobs are threatened, then they might finally start to act like real cops and protect our communities.

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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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