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NR # 3130B
The Philippines should not evolve into a narco-democracy: Golez
Government should further strengthen its enforcement and legal infrastructures to combat the worsening drug problem in the country, a veteran lawmaker said. “We don’t want the Philippines to be transformed from being the beacon of democracy in Asia to, God forbid, a narco-democracy with about 1.7 million Filipino users,” outgoing Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez declared. The last-term lawmaker expressed confidence that the 16th Congress, particularly the members of the Committee on Dangerous Drugs, would take the cudgels and pursue the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Dangerous Drugs (OSPDD) that would only concentrate on drug cases. “We should halt the growth and influence of narco-politics to prevent the tragedy of destroying government institutions,” he pointed out, adding that “the world is witness to the situation in Columbia where a brave “Special Prosecutor, Alfonso Valdivieso, has systematically exposed the criminal-political conspiracy that sheltered 80% of the world’s cocaine trade and earned his nation infamy as a narcodemocracy.” Golez said the OSPDD should be attached to the Office of the President, making it the government’s principal agency which shall be the chief prosecution arm for dangerous drugs cases and the dangerous drugs trade. The proposed OSPDD is contained in HB 309 which, as per records of the House legislative mill, is on its advance status in the committee level having been referred for consideration by all stakeholders. Golez said his bill seeks to directly counter the drug menace that has wreaked havoc to young minds, institutions of government, and the pillars of the criminal justice system. “The OSPDD should handle the prosecution of all drug lords and big-time traffickers in the likes of suspected drug lord Alfredo Tiongco, as well as top government and police and military officials linked to drug corruption,” Golez explained. Golez expressed concern over countless drug-related cases merely ending in the dustbin. “We should put an end to bungled handling of illegal drugs cases such as the Laurence Wang case more than ten years ago and other recent cases which seem to go nowhere because the defendants are high and mighty or they create a seemingly impenetrable wall of authority arising from their political and economic clout,” Golez said. The OSPDD should, according to the graduating House Member, be armed with all the support in law and in funds to implement the intents of the proposed statute. “An initial budget of P200-million should be provided, a pittance as compared to the humongous war chest drug lords have….a level 1 drug operators is said to earn P200-million a month or P2.4 billion a year,” he surmised. (30) dpt