Tales of horror in Davao drug scene
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
There is a more horrible fate for arrested drug pushers being thrown into the Davao Gulf to drown and being feasted on by fishes.
Early on in Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s mayorship when he placed illegal drugs, drug users and pushers on top of his hate list, there was this story about a top-level drug lord (a marijuana planter) being shoved out of a helicopter to land on a mountain of marijuana trees in Kimlawis, Kiblawan in Davao del Sur.
The rumor of the marijuana planter flying out of a chopper from 500 feet without a parachute had Duterte being figured out as the ‘pusher.’
The Davao Gulf drowning (hands and feet tied to a sack of rocks or bricks) is a persistent story that circulates around the drug-dealing circle to shock and awe and instill fear. In this, the man suspected as the “godfather” of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) looms as a foreboding image.
Human rights groups claim over a thousand suspected criminals, many of them alleged drug pushers, many of them minors, have perished in the hands of the DDS, either shot or knifed to death in front of witnesses.
In all these bloody crimes, Duterte also almost always, in the public mind, emerge as the hand behind.
But the helicopter flight, the Davao Gulf drowning and the summary executions and the alleged hand of the mayor in these crimes have remain tall tales, except for the fact that many people are looking for missing relatives or wailing over their dead.
The human rights groups may point a finger, but they only have the numbers but no evidence.
The probe on the EJKs, the DDS and Duterte are expected to be dead stories because the dead could never tell and witnesses are afraid to stand up.
But the Dabawenyos accused as being “tolerant” of human right abuses in their city, will clearly remember many things that they will tie down to Duterte’s dreadful hatred for illegal drugs, drug users and pushers.
About 10 years ago, police and military led by Duterte stormed a shabu factory in Dumoy, wherein ten unregistered Chinese nationals were killed.
Early this year, seven suspected drug pushers were killed in a shoot-out with police during a raid on the shabu village of Ilang in Bunawan District.
In between the Dumoy manslaughter and the Ilang mass murder, there have been hundreds of others killed in raids, in shoot-outs and EJKs carried out by anti-narc agents or the suspected DDS.
There will never be a final figure in the number of casualties in the anti-drug campaign with illegal drugs refusing to run away from Davao City.
The number of suspects ending up at the bottom of Davao Gulf for fish to feast on could never be established because fishes cannot count.
The EKJs will continue because Dabawenyos embrace the logic that fighting crime with crime is an ingredient for peaceful living. Can you blame the tolerance?
Life is here, Davao City’s slogan says.
If you are an upright citizen, you are safe in Davao, Duterte once said.
Simplified, it means criminals who reform or leave the city, will live — vertically. Otherwise, they end up dead — horizontally.