What if Duterte did not go into war against illegal drugs?

Duterte Campaign

What if President Rodrigo Duterte did not go into war against illegal drugs in the Philippines? What if he did not actually try to fulfill his promise during elections – that he would suppress illegal drugs, criminality and corruption in the country in 6 months? What if he had just, like the previous government administrations, relaxed or kept silent on the matter of illegal drug trade in our nation?

Let’s open our mind and explore the possible consequences if Duterte did not actually walk his talk and go into war against the drug pushers, drug lords and their protectors.

1. Duterte would have an easier life as a president.
President Duterte wouldn’t need to clash with the dangerous drug lords and their powerful coddlers. Our 71-year old head of state wouldn’t have to be exhausted with his job. He could have enjoyed better sleeps at night and wouldn’t need to put his and his family’s lives in danger. He could’ve enjoyed a billion-worth of gifts from drug lords for not meddling in their business.

2. There would be no alarming number of alleged extrajudicial killings.
1,011 suspected criminals would not be killed by the PNP during their operations. There would have been no mysterious 1,391 deaths that would be under investigation as of this date. One top news company would never come up with their infamous “kill list”.

3. Innocent lives would not become casualties of war.
There would have been no collateral damage caused by the government’s intensive war against illegal drugs. Innocent children like Althea and Danica would have been alive today.

4. 686,800 drug users and pushers would not have surrendered to the PNP.
Based on PNP’s latest update, 638,362 illegal drug users and 48,534 pushers have already surrendered to the authorities. If Duterte has not implemented an intensive campaign against illegal drugs, these users and pushers would not have feared and be pressured to surrender to the Philippine National Police. They would not be motivated to change their lives for good.

5. 12,500 cops allegedly involved in drugs wouldn’t be exposed by the PNP.
According to the PNP, around 12,500 cops have been found to be linked to illegal drugs after they were subjected to background investigation and drug tests. If the PNP did not start their campaign, these cops would have continued their illegal and unethical activities.

6. Duterte would not announce a list of alleged narco-politicians.
The suspected narco-politicians in Duterte’s list would have been living a quite life today. They could have preserved their reputations rather than be put to shame.

7. The convicted drug lords would still be enjoying a high living today in jail.
The high-profile or VIP inmates at New Bilibid Prison would still be enjoying with their Jacuzzi and sauna facilities today. They could have freely continued their business operations inside and out of the prison.

8. The CHR would not be too busy.
The Commission on Human Rights would not have a difficult job investigating a disturbing number of alleged extra judicial killings.

9. Senator Leila De Lima would not be mad.
Well, she’s mad at what’s happening right now. I don’t know exactly why. Can you tell us?

10. The illegal drug trade would continue to prosper in the Philippines.
The drug lords would never be worried about losing their business. The drug lord coddlers or narco-politicians would have continued enjoying their share from the drug lords.

11. Corrupt politicians would keep receiving drug money.
They could have received more money from the drug lords to fund their political campaign for the next elections and have continued robbing our tax money.

12. Drug users in the Philippines could have reached 3 million today.
According to the Dangerous Drug Board of the Philippines, there was an estimated 1.3 million illegal drug users in the Philippines as of 2012. With the quick growing power of the drug personalities in the country, that number could have doubled today.

13. 100% of barangays in Metro Manila would’ve been affected by drugs today.
Based on the report by the PDEA, 92% of Metro Manila barangays and almost 21% of barangays nationwide are drug affected. Had Duterte ignored the drug trade in our country, all of Metro Manila’s barangays would have been affected by drugs and about one third or even half of barangays across the country would now have drug cases.

14. Families and relationships would continue to be ruined.
More parents, spouses, siblings and children would have been affected by illegal drugs, causing more families to be broken and dreams for a brighter future to be shattered.

15. Drug-related crimes would continue growing.
According to the PNP, “index crime is down 31% in July 2016 from July 2015”. Had the government failed to implement their campaign against drugs, drug addicts and pushers would have continued to be fearless. Robbery, theft, rape, homicide, murders and other drug-related crimes would have increased in number, while the ability of our policemen to solve crimes would have dropped. Filipinos would never be safe inside and outside their homes.

16. Duterte would have used another strategy to suppress drugs in Philippines.
Rather than have an aggressive campaign, he could have implemented a mild and gentle anti-drug campaign. President Duterte, PNP chief Director General Ronald Bato dela Rosa and the rest of the team could have opted to travel across the Philippines, lecturing, educating and giving inspirational talks to Filipinos so they would not be tempted to use dangerous drugs. Will it really work? What do you think?

17. He would have focused on other campaigns.
Instead of concentrating on waging war against illegal drugs, he would have chosen to focus on the development of our economic policies so we could have a higher GDP growth. Moreover, he could have also concentrated on building stronger ties with our foreign partners, including the United Nations and the United States of America. We could have presented a better image internationally just like what the previous administrations had done…

… while the Filipino people at the bottom are suffering from drug-related crimes and poverty.

So are you in favor with Duterte’s intensive war against illegal drugs in the Philippines or not?


About the Author: Victorino Q. Abrugar is a 35 year old Yolanda survivor from Tacloban City. Vic is a retired Certified Public Accountant, a blogger, a public speaker and an entrepreneur. He’s a co-founder of a start-up digital marketing corporation which operates a few community-driven new media sites, including Reporter.PH.

Views expressed in our “opinion” section are those of the author’s and does not necessarily reflect the views of Reporter.PH. If you like to share your own opinion or opinionated article and publish it at Reporter.PH, you can do so by visiting and reading the guidelines/instructions in this page.

  • Chuck Leung

    allow me to bring out some frailties, factual and speculative, in this piece. to go about it point by point would take too much space, so i shall be selective.
    1, digong does not have restful nights. according to him, he roams the streets of davao at night, holds press cons at 3 am, he also attends to official matters during the day, so really one wonders when he gets to truly rest. this is not meant to be trivial. sleep and rest deprivation affects behavior and emotional stability. mental health can and is becoming a major concern.
    2. one does not grieve for criminals, but one does grieve for suspects who, according to digong’s oath of office, have a right and presumption of innocence. he spoke of instituting capital punishment. with the super-majority in both houses of congress, this could have been enacted and signed by him into law without a hitch. with the same super-majority, a law could also have been crafted to apply to drugs, narcotics etc solely, and further to mandate the quantum of evidence needed to convict. this could accelerate processes leading to capital punishment, thus avoiding the opprobrium of ejks. a firing squad held out in the open is infinitely more reassuring than a night time barge into shanties.
    3. your paras 4 & 5 may be answered thus: where there are no drugs to be bought or sold, there can be no buyers or users. this requires the strict interdiction of drugs.
    4. public announcements concerning narco politicians, police and lords serves only the purpose of warning those named. if there is evidence, they should be hauled to court and their made to answer in a legal process, not by press releases.
    5. convicted drug lords living high off the hog while imprisoned is anomalous. as a deterrent, the law could add the confiscation of money, assets, properties that will deny them the illegal privileges they once enjoyed. changing the jail guards is also correct. this simply points out that there are options in dealing with drug offenders short of ejk.
    6. paras 10-17 are, of course, speculative. what if gen rocky traipsed all over the country giving lectures? then he would not be doing his job as top cop, for top cops don’t make lecturing a mainstay of their job…theirs is mainly to seek out and interdict crime and criminals. to wean the populace from drugs, other agencies could easily fill the gap: dswd/doh on the dangers of drug addiction, dti on the provision of jobs and entrepreneurial activities for the jobless and underemployed, etc…
    7. finally, pls avoid misinterpreting this response as a piece for or against any individual. i am against drugs, and i restate my position: where there is none to sell, there shall be none to buy, and none to use [unless prescribed by legit doctors]. the drug campaign– i avoid using the term war– certainly needs to intensify…vs the drugs, the major and medium suppliers and dealers. once the sources dry up to a trickle, the medium and long term effects will be more clearly seen.

    • Carl Stone

      “where there is none to sell, there shall be none to buy” – they’ve been producing drugs in undergrounds and class a subdivisions…..

      • Gad Ilyn

        narco politicians killed her . . to clean the direct link, just like my brother who cleaned in the BJMP where his superiors are involved in drug trading, but it was he who was cleaned up.

  • asuncion

    I am stll waiting for corruption to be address by the President as I believe this is worst than drugs.

    • Gad Ilyn

      drugs is equal to corruption. Drugs can loose lives. There is no second life. Drug trading is another form of corruption because of bribery.

    • Jon T Hermosisima

      Come on Asuncion, Corruption has been addressed by PRRD since Day 1. Look more closely at developments and not just rely on PH phoney media. Firstly, the appointments of non-corrupt heads of govt. agencies. Then, the exposes and cases to be filed against grafters. There is even plan of closure of BIR privatizing the bureau if they don’t shape up or replacing all personnel with new ones (new jobs generated). The BOC, DPWPH, BuCor, LTO, LFTRB, BI, NAIA… Or announcement if corruption persists in public offices, they may have to be re-assigned to Jolo. Funny as it may sound, this admin is serious about solving corruption and it is doing just that as it is in fact, the cause of and worsens many drug-related problems. Haven’t you tried calling corruption or dis-service complaints at #8888? How about #911 for emergiencies? Aren’t these some effective means to lower or arrest corruption? And this is merely the beginning. More importantly, the Change of our negative unconscious behaviors which may be corrupted, too, have to be transformed into positive, creative, productive, forward-looking habits and actions.

  • jg5821

    Good end does not justify evil means.

    • plumang pilak

      justice without strength is useless,,, and you can’t even pin point where is your so called evil mean comes…

  • Drew Fleming

    No problem with him tackling the drug problem, but it’s the method he is employing, killing low end users and pushers will not make the problem go away, it’s been tried before and has failed. The big boys will just go quiet, they have the money. The price of drugs will increase, and the problem will be driven underground. More innocent people will die. The surrenderees is a joke, the clue is in the word “addicts”, some can change but in the main unless treatment is in place, not Zumba lessons once a week, then they will relapse and with the cost of drugs increased so will crime. Yes, tackle the drug problem but should have had a workable plan in place because without it the “war on drugs” will fail and the Philippines will become a hellhole.

    • plumang pilak

      marami narin namang mga high profile personalities ang namamatay ah,,,

    • Jon T Hermosisima

      There is a workable plan if you keep deep in the program. Rehab & support/maintenance projects, buildings, staff, volunteer experts esp. healthcare professionals & guidance and counseling people are on hand to assist. We are just on phase 1 of the whole convoluted drug menace minimization if not total eradication. Third Narco List about to be released by PRRD or released by now comprising of many executives.. 2nd List had many politicians, businessmen, celebrities, etc.. just have to be more patient and aware.. the poor will be always be the first to be affected in whatever problems any country will face whether about food, education, transport, security, health, drugs or climate change.. Pessimism and cynicism are among major causes of this country’s not being able to advance as it ought to considering its immnense resources: human or natural.