Pubdate: Wed, 24 Aug 2016
Source: Philippine Star (Philippines)
Column: Commonsense
Copyright: PhilSTAR Daily Inc. 2016
Author: Marichu A. Villanueva


But "meth," or methamphetamine hydrochloride, short for shabu, is 
something else, the President pointed out.

Shabu addicts were initially described as the "living dead" by 
President Rodrigo Duterte when he made an impassioned speech last 
week in defense of his administration's deadly  literally  campaign 
against illegal drugs.

A few days later, President Duterte called these shabu dependents as 
the "walking dead" in our midst. Perhaps, the President was able to 
watch last week the first episode of the popular "Walking Dead" TV 
series now being locally carried at TV5 every Thursday night. 
"Walking Dead" is a fictional apocalyptic weekly series in US setting 
where zombies, or the undead, prey and feed upon human beings.

Based on official statistics of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement 
Agency (PDEA), President Duterte cited there are over three million 
Filipinos who are into drug addiction, or dependents on cocaine, 
heroin, marijuana, shabu and other narcotic substances.

On the other hand, the number of illegal drugs suspects killed in the 
on-going anti-drug campaign of President Duterte rose to 1,916 dead 
as of yesterday. Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General 
Ronald dela Rosa reported this to the Senators at the resumption of 
the public hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights.

The latest total increased by 137 new deaths less than 24 hours after 
the first public hearing of the Senate last Monday that started its 
inquiry into alleged rampant cases of extra-judicial killings by the 
law enforcement authorities.

Of the latest 1,916 total of casualties, 1,160 were classified as 
deaths under investigation (DUI), or those who were killed outside 
any official police operations. These included killings allegedly 
perpetrated by vigilantes, the PNP chief maintained. Dela Rosa said 
the balance of 756 deaths was the result of legitimate police 
anti-illegal drugs operations.

The Senate public hearings were initiated amid concerns raised by 
human rights advocates here and abroad on the spate of alleged 
summary executions of illegal drugs suspects. The President's 
tough-talking speeches were blamed as inciting these alleged summary 
killings that started weeks before he assumed office at Malacanang 
Palace last June 30.

Irked by these criticisms, President Duterte took pains to explain 
anew how substance abuse, especially those who are hooked on shabu, 
are medically considered already as having damaged brains. Speaking 
before the 117th anniversary of the police service, the President 
lamented how the public might be deceived by those taking up the 
cause of slain drug users while glossing over the real dangers they pose.

"And what is really very unsettling is that a year or more of shabu 
use would shrink the brain of a person, and therefore he is no longer 
viable for rehabilitation," the President explained.

"Let us now say that there are about 400 drug addicts no longer 
eligible for rehabilitation for they are really crazy and out of 
their senses and no longer have the cognitive value of that person or 
their talents. So what do we do with 300 dead living Filipinos?" the 
President rhetorically asked.

Unlike the poppy derivative  heroine and cocaine  these narcotics are 
all grown from an organic plant, the President explained.

But "meth," short for methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, is 
something else, the President pointed out.

"It is a deadly mix of chemicals, and even the water used in mixing 
the shabu itself uses the battery, the acid water of a battery we use 
to fill up a battery, to run our motor vehicle," the President pointed out.

This is why, he said, many of these shabu users are paranoid to 
explain why they could be dangerous and resist arrest by fighting 
back at lawmen. This is how the President justifies his "kill" order 
against suspects if there is clear and present danger to lawmen themselves.

"You must remember that those who are already in shabu for almost one 
year, they are dead. They are the living walking dead. They are of no 
use to society anymore," the President stressed.

Thus, President Duterte strongly took exceptions to "a lot of ranting 
about human rights" in his campaign against illegal drugs without 
fully understanding the gravity and extent of this social menace that 
threatens the fabric of the Filipino nation. "A lot of bleeding 
hearts, including senators of this Republic, are complaining about 
the death rate in the fight against drugs," President Duterte rued.

"In my generation, especially now, we are seeing our country 
devastated by drugs, and it has not only affected millions, but a lot 
of them are no longer viable as human beings in this planet," the 
President warned.

It was the same extemporaneous speech last Aug. 17 when President 
Duterte virulently attacked an unnamed "immoral woman" who he rued 
are among those bewailing the rise of alleged extra-judicial 
killings. In the impromptu press conference that followed, President 
Duterte no longer held his peace and named Sen. Leila de Lima.

The President let out a mouthful of accusations against De Lima, 
including what he termed as "sordid" personal life for keeping a 
"driver-lover" while she was the Department of Justice (DOJ) 
Secretary. He accused her "driverlover" as collector of money from 
the illegal drugs trade right inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) at 
Muntinlupa City. The NBP is supervised by the Bureau of Corrections 
which is a DOJ attached agency.

In a press conference she called in Quezon City last Saturday, De 
Lima emotionally took offense to the presidential tirades on her 
personal life. She vehemently denied any alleged drug links while she 
was DOJ chief.

A visibly irate President Duterte strongly took exceptions over De 
Lima's denials and rebuttals. The President called for his own press 
conference at his Malacanang extension office in Davao City. The 
government-run PTV-4 extended its airtime way past its normal 
operations as the President appeared in such ungodly hours around one 
o' clock before dawn Sunday.

At his press conference, the President pointed out anew the three 
million drug addicts in the country were recorded by PDEA more than 
two years ago. By extrapolation, the Chief Executive placed 
conservative incremental increase of about 700,000 more drug addicts 
added to the PDEA record, or it stood now at 3,700,000 drug addicts 
all over the Philippines.

As to how many zombies there are, we could only dread at the thought 
of the danger they pose to our public safety.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom