With bated breath, Filipinos are waiting for the next moves of Vice President Leni Robredo to prove that she can take charge of the anti-narcotics campaign along the Western health approach that treats drug dependents as being afflicted with a disease.
Such a perspective is ideal for the powerful drug syndicates since what follows next is a more accommodative view on narcotics, to the extent of the legalization of the use of some substances.
Robredo as drugs czarina started with a sound bite: “Are you ready for me?” reminiscent of the empty rhetoric of former President Noynoy Aquino.
Liberal Party bigwig Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice is already offering excuses for a possible fumble as he admitted in a television interview that Robredo does not have the expertise in handling the anti-narcotics enforcement.
Robredo, nevertheless, recently gave an assessment that the war on drugs was a failure and that “it should not continue.”
The campaign’s effectivity for the more than three years under Rody is reflected in its 82 percent public approval based on recent surveys.
Under the yellow regime of Noynoy, the country was heading towards a narco state as government institutions were turned into conduits for the drugs trade that was the basis for the allegations that resulted to the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima, the Justice secretary then.
Narcotics syndicates had taken advantage of the approach of treating drug addiction as a health problem, which is the advocacy of Robredo and the Western nations and institutions that she is expected to tap.
The United Nations and the Western world have been pushing for the country to “adopt a public health approach, and harm reduction initiatives that comply with human rights standards.”
“People who have fallen into the trap of drug reliance need help to rebuild their lives; drug policies should not be more of a threat to their lives than the drugs they are abusing,” according to the Western principle on treating the crisis that is a solution that Robredo subscribes to.
The Vice President is also expected to provide institutions such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court an opening to start an investigation into the war on drugs.
The demonization of the flagship pursuit of the President that Robredo is actively part of centers on the allegation of 27,000 extrajudicial killings and the existence of a vigilante squad that is abetted by Rody.
The clinical approach to the drugs problem that Robredo will pursue will entail huge costs, since it would require the setting up of rehabilitation centers and the provision of expensive treatment, which Rody in his discussions about the drugs problem said the country can’t afford at the moment.
The narcotics epidemic, meanwhile, spreads like wildfire, and the syndicates are ready to exploit the weakness in the government resolve against the crisis.
Recent studies primarily from the UN showed that the drugs problem had grown exponentially worldwide, and that the programs implemented among countries using the liberal approach to address it failed in contrast to the greatly improved situation in the country under Rody’s war on drugs.
An incontrovertible proof on the gains of the Philippines’ program against drug trafficking is the recent survey showing eight out of 10 Filipinos support the campaign.
Other countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka had also adopted the war on drugs as a model.
US President Donald Trump had also sought pointers from Rody on stopping the huge narcotics problem in the United States.
Rody, when he took power, anticipated the effect of the drugs problem on Philippine society and addressed it in the most effective way he deemed possible.
Now, it is Robredo’s turn to prove her mettle as the drugs czarina and with it the chances of the yellow mob for a political comeback.
The equation is clear — If she fails, the yellow Liberal’s extinction is cemented; success would mean a golden chance for 2022.