Tag Archives: Paul Ledesma

PDEA should put to shame drug lords, not village chiefs

“Let me see if I’ve got this Santa business straight. You say he wears a beard, has no discernible source of income and flies to cities all over the world under cover of darkness? You sure this guy isn’t laundering illegal drug money?” TOM ARMSTRONG


By Alex P. Vidal

We have a situation where it’s impossible to win against drug syndicates today. But it’s still possible to beat them tomorrow. But not soon.
Although some of them have already been identified — their addresses and types of businesses put up as fronts for their illegal trade — the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is still adamant to name who these drug lords are.
But PDEA-6 regional director Paul Ledesma thinks “shaming” the punong barangay or village chiefs who refuse to cooperate with PDEA and seriously activate their Barangay anti-drug abuse councils (BADACs) will minimize if not paralyze the operations of drug syndicates.
We don’t think this strategy will snowball. No village chief will be intimidated by a threat of a public censure from PDEA, or any state agency that deals with narcotics problem in the country for that matter.


Most village chiefs don’t give a hoot if their names are mentioned in the air lanes or published in the newspapers as “punishment” for failure to convene their BADACs. They can always offer as convenient excuse that their hands are full and they also need to attend to other matters, not just about illegal drugs.
For them, this kind of negligence is an intra-barangay issue, not a major offense; a simple lapse that can always be remedied and corrected.
Putting village chiefs to “shame” does not make them outright villains in the eyes of their constituents. They won’t tremble in their shirts and grab their walkie-talkies to indiscriminately report to police the presence of drug traffickers just for compliance.
Village chiefs are PDEA’s partners in crime, not kindergarten pupils who need to be given the dressing down for mischievous acts. Two heads — PDEA plus village chiefs — are always better than one. In the battle against illegal drugs, they also risk their lives and the safety of their families.


BADAC isn’t an assurance that drug traffickers will be rounded up and wiped out in quick succession. Many dealers of shabu and other illegal substance are also barangay officials and, perhaps, members of BADAC. Drug syndicates have mushroomed in barangays and have maintained a Robin Hood-pauper type relationship with some residents who sometimes act as moles and runners.
What the PDEA should do is focus its canon on the drug lords themselves. In a punitive measure, PDEA should grab the bulls by the horns and deal with the drug lords directly, not threaten with shame campaign the village chiefs.
If PDEA thinks “shaming” the drug lords can help, they must have the guts to name them in public. A tit for a tat since drug lords have already shamed and scandalized PDEA. By having successfully penetrated many slum areas and subdivisions; and by bribing barangay officials, cops and even the media, these drug lords think they now have the upper hand in the psychological warfare vis-a-vis the PDEA.


We laud the PDEA, City Hall, and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for holding the Barangay Drug Clearing Operation Orientation Seminar last February 5 in Iloilo City attended by 174 village chiefs (only six were absent).
Some village leaders involved in drug trafficking who were present may have tipped off their partners in illegal drug trade about the PDEA’s strategy.
“Clearing operation”, as a theme of the orientation, was good in objectives and battlecry. Once the barangay is cleared of the presence of drug traffickers, there is nothing to be sold anymore. If there are no sellers, there will be no buyers and users.
A drug-free barangay is a dream of everyone who wants peace, harmony and tranquility in his community.

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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Drug syndicates putting PDEA to shame

“Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.” ROBIN WILLIAMS

By Alex P. Vidal

It appears that the drug syndicates are the ones putting the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to shame, not the other way around.
PDEA can’t nail down a drug lord. Small fries yes, but not big fishes. Not in this generation where trafficking of prohibited substance has become high level with the aid of technology and gargantuan bribe money.
Tentacles of drug syndicates have reached alarming heights and lengths that they can afford to elect senators and even presidents. It happened in Central America, it can happen in Asia. God forbid.
With or without the much-touted “shame campaign” (or PDEA regional director Paul Ledesma’s threat to reveal the names of village chiefs who give their barangay anti-drug abuse councils or BADACs cold shoulder treatment), drug syndicates have become bold and unstoppable.


The drug lords here believe they have captured the metropolis and it’s only a matter of time before they will transform public edifices into dance floors and venues of their bacchanalia. Not even the Philippine National Police (PNP) can send shivers down the spines of these drug lords. If they can’t lick them, join them.
They have sent a strong signal when they were able to not only successfully penetrate the barangays, they also were able to ensure the win of their own village chiefs and councilmen in the most recent barangay elections.
Drug syndicates have become powerful Goliaths that it is almost impossible for PDEA or any state agency for that matter to slay those behemoths with one sling.


PDEA may have successfully lured majority of the village chiefs to attend the Barangay Drug Clearing Operation Orientation Seminar last February 5 in Iloilo City (only six of the village chiefs in 180 barangays were absent), but shabu and other illegal drugs continue to proliferate in barangays Tanza-Esperanza, Rizal Pala-Pala, Monica, Bakhaw, North Baluarte, Calumpang, Calaparan, San Jose, Desamparados, among other drugs “hot spots” in Iloilo City.
We are only talking here of Iloilo City. We all know that drug syndicates are also very much active in the province and in other cities and provinces in Western Visayas, including Boracay.
Some of those who attended the PDEA seminar backed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and City Hall, were themselves directly involved if not in cahoots with drug lords in the trafficking of illegal drugs. And Director Ledesma knows who they are.


Ledesma, with all his sincerity and dedication, is a square peg in a round hole. He may be the bravest and most honest anti-drug czar in the region, but his agency is ill-equipped and under-manned to match the machinery and tactics of drug syndicates. Even children and women sell drugs and it’s not easy to separate the chaffs from the grains in this battlefield.
We fear that instead of producing “hopes of the fatherland” like what Jose Rizal had said, we are producing a generation of drug addicts, walking dead or “zombies”, home wreckers, criminals and potential terrorists.
A drug addict fears no law. Once high on drugs, he is not afraid to commit a crime. He will destroy properties. He will rape women and children. He will terrorize. He will kill. And he doesn’t feel any remorse.

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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


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