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Most dangerous addiction

Posted by lenolea on January 18, 2009

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently named herself as the czar in the illegal drugs campaign.

She immediately ordered authorities to conduct random drug testing in public and private schools in the country. Then, a member of the House Oversight Committee on Dangerous Drugs said the random drug test should also include teachers and professors.

Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa also ordered his men to conduct random drug tests on clients of bars and similar establishments in Metro Manila.

Malacañang said it would also conduct drug testing in government offices.

In an instant, everybody became a suspect of illegal drug addiction. Why go after the victims of substance abuse instead of going after the drug lords?

Former University of the Philippines’ College of Law Dean Pacifico Agabin said Mrs. Arroyo’s order has no legal basis at all. Agabin said “search” can only be done if there is probable cause against an accused and it cannot be translated into drug testing.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Leila de Lima, voiced out opposition to the random drug tests in schools. She said doing so would compromise the basic human rights of the child against self-incrimination; the right of the child to be protected in his person, effects and correspondence; and the right of the child against unlawful searches and seizures.

We would want to believe that Mrs. Arroyo has the political will to resolve seriously the illegal drugs problem in the country. Facts reveal otherwise.

From January 2000 to October 2008, records of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed that 575 cases against almost 1,000 drug suspects were dismissed by judges and state prosecutors for failure of policemen to appear as witnesses.

As early as September 2002, the Gulf News reported that Mrs. Arroyo said she wanted the 226 drug lords and their drug pushers banished in a year. More than six years after, not one of the so-called drug lords have been apprehended.

What we have seen over the years, however, is the most dangerous kind of addiction – that of insatiable greed for power even at the expense of the majority. This is most dangerous because it affects the lives of every citizen.

Such addiction has deprived millions of Filipinos of social services as the bulk of taxpayers’ money goes to corruption, military spending and debt servicing.

Such addiction has deprived us of good governance, too. It has been threatening even the so-called democratic institutions in the country.

The recent brouhaha over moves to impeach Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno is a case in point. Judicial independence is being undermined by the powers-that-be for their selfish interest of holding on to power beyond 2010 through Charter change.

Deception and repressive measures are also symptomatic of such addiction.

If this nation must undergo rehabilitation from all the ills plaguing it, those who are most addicted to power must first be removed.

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