(UPDATE – 11:10 a.m., November 23, 2017) — “Gaguhan na talaga!” (They’re really taking us for fools now!)
Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday posted on Facebook this not-so-mild reaction to the Department of Justice’s dismissal of drug smuggling charges against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and 11 other BOC officials.
“Ang lakas naman ng mga ito … Kapag kakampi pinapalusot. Kapag katunggali iniipit (Such influence … Cronies get let off, but opponents get squeezed),” Pangilinan remarked, seething at the junking of the charges against Faeldon et al in connection with a P6.4-billion shabu shipment seized in Valenzuela City last May 26. The senator said the development was emblematic of the Duterte Administration’s uneven and unjust waging of its anti-drug program.
“Akala ko ba galit sila sa droga? Kapag maliliit at mahihirap at ilang gramo lang ng shabu, pinapatay. Kapag tone-toneladang shabu ang pinupuslit ng malalapit sa mga nakaupo, pinapalusot (They hate drugs? The small fry with grams of meth are rubbed out, but when it’s tons of shabu by those close to the powers that be, they go scot-free),” Pangilinan added.
“Peke ang drug war ng adminsitrasyon na ito (This administration’s drug war is a sham),” Pangilinan remarked.
The senator called on the public to join him in expressing outrage on social media, recalling the flood of anger when legislators attempted to slash the operating budget of the Commission on Human Rights to just P1,000 next year.
He urged netizens to let DOJ feel the public’s revulsion at the way the department is supposedly trashing justice and truth.
Another staunch administration critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV Trillanes, said the DOJ decision smacked of double standards.
“Kapag mga mahihirap, patay agad. Pero kapag alagad ni Duterte, abswelto sa kaso (The poor are summarily killed. But lackeys of Duterte are cleared),” he said.
Trillanes said the decision on Faeldon echoed that on Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief in Eastern Visayas, and his men who were involved in the killing of Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. inside his jail cell.
Despite subsequent investigations concluded that Espinosa and another inmate did not, as Marcos and his men claimed, fight back but were executed, Duterte said he believed the policemen’s account and vowed to pardon them if they were convicted.
While the National Bureau of Investigation recommended murder charges against Marcos and his men, the DOJ downgraded this to homicide, allowing the police officers to post bail and return to active duty.
“Ang tanong ngayon, sino na ang responsable sa pagpasok ng P6.4-billion shabu, ‘yung security guard ng Customs? Mr. Duterte, pinagloloko mo ‘yung mga tao (The question now is, who was responsible for the entry of P.64 billion in shabu. Mr. Duterte, you are making fools of the people),” Trillanes said.