It is only now that Filipinos are beginning to see how deep and well-entrenched the illegal drug trade is in this country.
The people are hoping that this campaign to rid the streets, the nooks and corners of the land of prohibited drugs will be a sustained effort until the last gram of poison will be eliminated.
The big problem of the illegal drug trade in the country is that it has infected the highest levels in key agencies of the government.
Word has gone out that the brother of a former cabinet secretary is a drug lord, who sources say has already slipped out of the country.
No wonder the war against drugs was a losing proposition under the former administration.
The protectors were well protected by men who walked the corridors of power.
Thank God their candidate lost.
Otherwise, the Philippines would have been fast-tracked on its way to becoming a narco-state.
We would have become a drug-crazed nation.
One of the garbosoÂ police generals named by PresidentÂ Duterte was closely allied to Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas.
He was so brazen to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mar Roxas during the election campaign.
He would have easily become national security adviser, or worse, DILG Secretary.
ItÂ was not meant to be.
The worst thing is that the former President Aquino, who during his reign remarkably had a penchant of blaming his predecessor of all the nationâ€™s ills, did nothing to stop this drug menace.
It is now being exposed that President Aquino knew who these top drug protectors were.
Donâ€™t tell me he was unaware about the dealings of Â his own cabinet secretaryâ€™s brother?
For all of six years, Aquino either shirked, or simply lost his balls to expose and to stop this menace.
It took Duterte less than one minute to divulge the initial list of drug protectors to the entire nation.
The effect of this expose is that theÂ drug lords of Bilibid suddenly have lost their shields.
Who will protect them now?
There is now a self-purge among the ranks of these drug syndicates because the leaders Â are afraid their runners will squeal and point at them.
The drug lords think it is better to eliminate their runners now.
Drugs is a messy war.
This has been the experience in Columbia and Mexico, during the reigns of the once-untouchables like the deadly Pablo Escobar and the diminutive and elusive El Chapo.
Even here in Bohol, our friends familiar with what is happening on the groundÂ are shaking their heads in disbelief.
â€œWe havenâ€™t Â seen anything like this before,â€ I was told, in reference to how easy drugs can be Â accessed by just anybody, is if it were cotton candy.
In earlier times, illegal drugs were sold â€œpatagoâ€.
Today it is openly sold.
Tubigon port has become a gateway, I was told.
The campaign against illegal drugs must be sustained.
It should also be a people-effort.
We cannot totally rely on our law enforcers because they have limits.
We should count on our local leaders specially in the barangays toÂ help out in ridding our streets of drugs.
That is if they are not yet hooked on the illegal substance or worse, have become drug-crazed themselves. (By Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)