Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Illegal Drugs-NOT Another "Patalim" To Hang on


Once again, the Filipinos have shared mixed emotion about the recently concluded real life drama of our fellow Pinoys in China. The three Pinoys who were executed last 30 March 2011 by Chinese government for smuggling several kilos of illegal drugs into the country. It was the saddest day again for the Filipinos years after Flor Contemplacion was executed for murder by the Singaporean government back in early 90's.

Brief History:
Sally Ordinario-Villanueva was convicted and executed in Xiamen for smuggling 4,110 grams of heroin in December 24, 2008, it was Christmas eve. Ramon Credo was executed after getting final conviction for smuggling 4,113 grams of heroin in December 28, 2008 in the same city. This is four days after Sally was arrested, which in my point of view should have given Credo a real stern warning that his mission is way too risky, and yet he carried on. Elizabeth Batain, on the other hand, was convicted and executed in Shenzhen for smuggling 6,800 grams of heroin in May 24, 2008. Her arrest was several months earlier than the Sally and Ramon.

In the effort of the Philippine government to save their lives after the Supreme People's Court of China affirmed their death sentences on February 11, 2011, Vice President Jejomar Binay personally went to China upon order of President Benigno Aquino III on February 18, 2011. It was kinda successful diplomatic effort to stay the execution and everyone was satisfied. But we all know that chances to get a commutation of sentence was really slimmer than the slimmest. At 9:40AM Manila Time according to GMANews online, there were officially declared dead.

There were hundreds, if not thousands, of mixed reactions around the world. Other expressed condolences, others were furious with our government, and some others they deserved what they've got. In my own point of view, although I don't know exactly all the circumstances, but I will stand firm, I agree with those who are saying that three drug mules really deserved their sentences.

Whether there is someone to be blamed that is immaterial now, there is nothing more we can do about them, they are gone. But, there are more things we can do in preventing the same event from happen again. Specially to those who are claiming and using the overrated "kapit sa patalim" (analogy for being coerced by circumstances to grab the knife by its blade in order to survive).

Pinoys are really fond of betting, we like to always put everything at stake. We tend to compromise everything if we thought there is a big chance of getting more. We love to gamble and to earn easy money. I don't have problem about that, it is just right to always strive for our goals and to get it in shorter period of time. If we can be a millionaire in just one sitting and there is a big chance of getting it, (the hell!) why not, right?

I myself, for instance, is here in the war zone of Afghanistan taking my chances, and had been in Iraq during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom, just to do the shortcut. Probably, most of Overseas Filipino Workers are just like us who want to make a short cut to comfort, to get out of poverty as soon as possible in all possible means.

In the case of Sally, et al, they thought they were just gambling between getting caught, and getting away. Maybe without knowing that what actually they had bet on was their own lives, the future of their love ones, the reputations of the family, and the undying emotional pains they had caused the people who love them so much. This is in exchange of few hundred thousand pesos that can be spent barely in days. There is absolutely nothing wrong in dreaming, having big ambitions, aiming a better life, what makes this right or wrong lays upon the means we used to achieve it. I don't believe that they were not aware of what they were up to when they carry that "hot item," since there was a big amount of money involve for very simple task.

Now there is a big difference of grabbing the blade, and getting suicidal, "kapit sa patalim" is not the same with "pagpapakamatay". What the three drug mules did is definitely a suicide mission without an option of pulling back.

I don't want to sound so insensitive in touching this topic, it may not be the right time since the families of the executed OFWs are still grieving for their lost. However, I still feel this is so timely to somehow discuss it. Our society is in the height of its emotions, and in the extremes of heated up exchange of hard thoughts and opinions is between pros and cons. How I wish this event would turn to be a real eye-opener NOT for the government but for us people. We are the ones actually in the front line, government are just logistical and reinforcement in function if we will compare it with war operations. Let's stop blaming the government. It is us who will be dealing with our actions, good or bad, not the government. Government gets public opinions, but it is us who suffer physically, mentally and emotionally. Actually it is the public opinion that really kills us, it always goes against the tide and disbands us as nation.

The point is, laxity is not on the government, but one the unwilling victims for not guarding his own safety. There are more people who are poor that never resort to illegal activities, so poverty in not an issue. If someone has an argument on my point, you may answer these questions: Are you poor? If yes, are you doing the same thing because you are poor, and why not?

Nowadays, people who get caught or who get hooked up with drugs business always claim "kapit sa patalim" as means to escape from criminal liability and avoid public condemnation, which, i may say, is really wrong and backward in concept and in execution. Kapit sa patalim gives you the options between getting through and failing wherein in both cases "wound" will be inflicted onto your hand. While on the other hand, pagpapakamatay is a sure and no way out thing, do it right or wrong, no matter how you are going to kick the chair you are standing on, the rope around your neck will prevent you from touching the floor, thus breaking your neck in the process. Playing with illegal drugs in country that imposes death penalty for committing the crime against illegal drugs is pagpapakamatay. It gives you no option but miracle to save you. It is similar to be in a hungry lions' den with bleeding wounds. You may be saved, but personality is dead before the eyes of public opinion. Remember police or any law enforcement agencies went through rigid trainings and well-versed on different worse case scenarios while there is no academy for drug mules.

Before we bet, before we dare ourselves to do or to get into the most daring gamble of our lives, think about the end-result, and who will suffer the most, is it us or our love ones. After your death, it is all over for you but those who remain will be in agony for the rest of their lives and yet you leave them poor. The same is true in the case of corruption in the military that hits the nation recently. Suicide does not prove anything but cowardice.

Illegal drugs is not "patalim", it is a rope around the neck. It is enjoying, but don't bring it across the border.

Lastly, in my wildest thought, actually harsh, since I want people to stop getting involved in drug smuggling to other countries, I am thinking of having our airports, seaports, and all other ports of exits to have a big visible posters, depicting a reminder of this very sad event, the image of emotions, the fear in the eyes, and the agony after the execution, because what just happened was a reality of suffering the consequences. And at the bottom, in bold text, "BINITAY NA SILA, SUSUNOD KA BA?" This may be harsh but I am sure it will work. I am just taking a positive thing out of the negative event that had happened. At the end of the day, it is still your choice.

To Sally, Ramon and Elizabeth may you all rest in peace.

Necessary suggestion from my brother. (he post comment on this blog)

Aside from the poster I am suggesting which has the unusual warning "BINITAY NA SILA, SUSUNOD KA BA", he suggested that a certificate should be issued by concerned government agencies checking the baggage and the passengers (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agencies, PNP-Aviation Security Group, Manila International Airports Authority, etc.) to every passenger clearing from illegal items and probably stating that the passenger was duly checked and that no drug has been found or detected. By this, framing up can be prevented and there will be government accountability also. We should assumed drugs syndicates have wide network that may be working with the baggage loaders in airport terminals.


Bhing said...

well written article!

thumbs Up!


Anonymous said...

Tama ka doon Neg,akalain mo alam naman nila na bawal, kamatayan ang kaparusahan ,tuloy pa rin,,,sure ako ,ang taong ganun,,suicide ang hanap.pagpapakamatay nay un,,di na KAPIT SA PATALIM yun.
Yung pagpost ng BINITAY NA,SUSUNOD KA PA?,,ok din yun..pero sana baguhin din yung system,,sa airport, na after ng check in ng bagahe,may marrcv na ,na free from illegal drugs cargo,ang isang tao.

bizjoker-of-the-philippines said...

Thanks Bhing...
Bibihira ako maka-dalaw sa blog ko, sobra busy.


OO nga, Mas magandang idea yung may certificate galing sa PDEA at airport authority na walang nakitang droga sa bagahe during inspection at pag pasok sa check-in, para may accountability ang gov't. Kasi mahirap i-depensa ang frame-up..usually ginagalingan nila ang pag-frame up ng tao eh.

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