Monday, July 20, 2009

Restore the Death Penalty on Drug Traffickers

Last night I was informed that the daughter of an anti-narcotics agent was kidnapped. The details were sketchy, but the incident was said to be confirmed. Immediately, I connected the kidnapping to the work of the agent, who does not fit the usual profile of a kidnap for ransom victim. The agent is an ordinary government employee who does not have the riches of a businessman nor the resources of an executive. 

Today the newspapers’ headline is that of the abduction of the agent’s daughter. But not only was the girl abducted, she was drugged and raped. The agent’s active role in the campaign against the illegal drugs trade has made a dent in the industry, and apparently, it has earned the ire of those engaged in the business. 

This crime is so heinous, so sinister and diabolical that it takes a particularly evil mind to conceive and do it. It is obviously a pre-meditated act, meant to hit back at the person who has been effective in foiling the proliferation of the illegal drug trade. It was meant to hurt the agent, in that instead of merely killing the victim, they let the child live through a harrowing experience and did things to her that only a sick mind will consciously think of doing.

Expectedly, the government says that this means war. Perhaps a belated response, considering that the drug menace has been hounding society for so long and that there was even a narcotics agent who was murdered along with the rest of his family months back. Nevertheless, it should really be war, with the people and the government on one side and the drug syndicates on the other.

So if it is war, what is the government prepared to do to fight the battles? In Colombia, it is literally a war, with drug syndicates even staging assassinations not only of police and anti-narcotics operatives but also of judges using high profile methods such as car bombings and elaborate daylight ambushes on busy streets. With this attack on the family of a narcotics agent, it would appear that our local syndicates may be brazen enough to imitate their counterparts in Colombia.

This is the reason why from the very beginning since I became a legislator I had always been for the imposition of the death penalty on drug traffickers. Even when the death penalty was repealed, I had stated my desire to retain the capital punishment on those who are convicted of drug trafficking. 

To begin with, unlike other heinous crimes like murder, rape and other crimes which are usually rooted in emotions of the perpetrator, drug trafficking is primarily rooted in the motive of profit. Profit which is at the expense of other people’s lives that are ruined, maimed or killed. They know that their wares ruin lives, lead people to commit crime and destroy the moral fabric of society.

The repeal of the death penalty is meant to give convicted criminals a chance to repent and be rehabilitated. As a congressman in the District of Muntinlupa City where the national penitentiary is located, I have seen convicted criminals lead changed lives after incarceration. Murderers, rapists, robbers and other types of criminals have repented and even lead lives more pious than others who have been law abiding.

But there have been convicted drug traffickers who have not spurned their criminal ways even behind bars. Having the financial resources, they are able to hire personal assistants, bodyguards and bribe prison personnel in order to live comfortable lives inside the prison and even continue their trade from within. In effect, they are secure while they proceed with business as usual.

All they need is a cellphone to communicate with their colleagues and crew outside the prison and life goes on for them. They still rake in the profits while society bears the burden of the after-effects.

If the government says that the abduction and rape of the daughter of a narcotics agent is the start of the war, then I suggest the government first look at what they will throw against the drug syndicates. The government can mobilize all the law enforcement agents, and ensure that the prosecution is swift, decisive and uncorrupted. But if we send the drug convicts to a life of security, comfort and with the ability to go on with business, then the war will still be won by the syndicates.

Amend the law. Reimpose the death penalty to drug traffickers and implement it seriously.

1 comment:

Abagale said...

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