Fighting crime is not easy.
Take the case of Eliot Ness who brought Al Capone down to his knees. He started a strike force of 50 when he first started his campaign to rid Chicago of organised crime. This number went down to 11. Ness who died a poor man was never celebrated for his crime-fighting feat. Not only that it is not easy, fighting crime is a thankless job.
In present day Philippines, crime fighting is easily frustrated by the personalities who are involved or suspected to be behind the country’s organised crime. May it be illegal drugs, gambling, or smuggling – crime lords have embedded themselves deep, making it so hard for crime fighters to flush them out.
With this backdrop, incoming President Rodrigo Duterte may probably eat his words. There is no way he can eradicate criminality in 6 months.
Let me tell you why. Below are the list of crime lords that will give the new President a splitting headache:
1.) The Kingpin of the North. This guy has long been associated with the illegal numbers game, Jueteng for several decades. In fact his connection with the illegal gambling world is legendary that he proudly alleged to have regularly paid of a top government official a whopping ten million (US$200,000) every month. Yet no amount of government effort can eliminate the popular illegal numbers game in his territories. Now in the twilight of years, he continues to be an “above the law” icon. Some also say he is allegedly neck-deep in other rackets like smuggling and illegal mining operations.
President Duterte is no match against Mr. Kingpin if we are to consider the latter’s track record. He is a jurassic creature who has outlived 6 political regimes – the Marcos dictatorship, two Aquino presidencies, the Ramos, ERAP and GMA administrations. He has a wide network of allies, protectors and supporters that can outmatch even the urban legend DDS (Davao Death Squad) and the whole horde of Dutertards.
There is no way that Duterte can stump out this guy even if he has to stay 2 presidential terms (unless Mr. Kingpin kicks the bucket due to old age.)
2.) Mr. Gambling Lord of Central Luzon.
Unless President Duterte legalises jueteng, he is no match against Mr. Gambling Lord of the Central Luzon. This guy who lords over illegal gambling in several provinces, has an army of well-paid politicians, judges, law enforcers and even members of the clergy to protect him. Like Mr. Kingpin, he has outlasted several administrations through a mixture of good public relations (PR) and well-oiled connections. Most of his supporters regard him as a “modern Robin Hood” who gives away gambling money to the less privileged. No wonder he has lasted long in his lucrative “cottage industry.”
To be effective against Mr. Gambling Lord, President Duterte has to dedicate a chunk of his precious time to personally root out the popular number games starting from the grassroots level. In doing this, the six year term of the President is not enough.
3.) The Drug Lords of Muntinlupa.
Drug lords of Muntinlupa are once subject of national outrage when a Department of Justice probe revealed well-appointed private quarters inside the national prison. Not only they continue to have lavish lifestyle, they are still business as usual. This made the national penitentiary has become the top source of illegal drugs.
The country’s illegal drugs syndicates seem to have perfected the distribution system that only the small fries are caught. The big fishes continue to swim against the current. This is made possible by well-placed protectors in the enforcement agencies.
President Duterte should be reminded that modern police forces like the USA’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and their billion dollar budget cannot stop drugs from entering its territory.
4.) The Fixers at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigrations, etc.
Fighting Corruption in government is like fighting the mythical multiple headed Hydra. Cut one head and another quickly replaces it.
President Duterte will surely suffer a big time headache if he targets the destabilising problem of corruption at the national scale. Not only that he lacks honest people to join government and replace corrupt government officials, there is just too many rotten apples in the basket.
Unless Duterte is given unlimited time and power to crush it, corruption is here to stay.