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Editorial

‘I will personally obliterate him’

/ 05:08 AM December 19, 2018

On Dec. 14, Naga City policemen raided a suspected drug den in Naga City and arrested four people, including the eldest son and namesake of Bureau of Corrections Director Nicanor Faeldon.

Found during the early morning raid were packets of shabu and drug paraphernalia; the initial charge filed the next day against the 31-year-old Nicanor Jr. was “visiting a drug den.”

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Later, the charges were elevated to “maintenance of a drug den,” after police determined that he was not just “visiting” but actually living in the house, owned by his girlfriend’s family, that had been tagged a drug den.

If found guilty of maintaining a den where drugs are used or sold in any form, Faeldon Jr. faces life imprisonment and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million.

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Faeldon and his coaccused are at the Naga City Jail awaiting formal court proceedings.

Expectedly, he has proclaimed his innocence and said it was his girlfriend’s father who was the subject of the raid.

Even if he is in jail, the younger Faeldon can still consider himself lucky. He is, first of all, alive. He was also tested for drugs; he came out clean, while his three other coaccused tested positive.

The results raised a lot of eyebrows, but Naga City Police Director Felix Servita Jr. said the drug tests undertaken the day after the raid were “legit” and that “no element tried to influence the results.”

Still, that Faeldon and his companions were tested for drugs — a process not afforded other drug suspects, many of whom simply end up dead after a police raid — may itself be seen as an illustration of influence, the unseen hand of privilege sparing him the brutal consequences routinely visited on the poor and powerless.

According to the Philippine National Police, drug-related deaths from July 1, 2016, to September 2017 have reached 6,225; 3,850 “died in police operations,” while 2,290 are listed as “deaths under investigation.”

Human rights groups, however, cite a much higher estimate: as many as 13,000 deaths so far, most of them poor and male.

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Perhaps this is why the PNP was quick to allay suspicions that Faeldon Jr. was being treated differently.

“No special treatment whatsoever,” said PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde, who also praised Faeldon Sr. for declaring he was staying away from the case and letting justice take its due course.

That wasn’t all that Faeldon said. It would have been understandable, of course, for any father to rush to the defense of a son in distress, or, at the very least, ask that judgment be suspended while details of the case remained in flux.

But Faeldon, who himself is under a cloud of suspicion over the disappearance of P6.4 billion worth of shabu during his stint at the Bureau of Customs, appears to have succumbed to the first instincts of a politician rather than a father.

And so came the stentorian words of melodrama straight out of a hack action flick: Not only would he “kill that idiot” if his son was indeed involved in illegal drugs, “I will personally obliterate him from the face of the earth,” said Faeldon.

He also took pains to describe his son as someone who did not really grow up with him, as Faeldon Jr. was supposedly born out of wedlock.

Was this Faeldon the father speaking, or Faeldon the faithful handmaid of the President who brooks no mercy toward drug suspects of any stripe?

Was the need to appear as tough as his boss (President Duterte also once said: “If I have children who are into drugs, kill them so people will not have anything to say”) — to be more popish than the Pope, as it were — a legitimate reaction of a stern father, or the need of a beleaguered insider to remain in the crucial good graces of his chief?

Did Faeldon fear that the barest hint of paternal solicitude toward a son now tainted with the greatest sin in the Duterte bible would mean his own exile from the realm, where the mantra is “Kill, kill, kill,” directed at everyone from lowly drug suspects to bishops of the Church?

Faeldon didn’t have to promise filicide, the killing of one’s offspring, to prove his worth as a public official. A hands-off stance is all that the rule of law requires, to let the chips fall where they should, and thus perhaps allow the public to regain a measure of faith in the justice system.

But that the father in him must go to such lengths to be seen as a devout disciple of his boss — what, indeed, has the ruling regency made of its people?

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TAGS: Inquirer editorial, Naga drug den, Nicanor Faeldon, Nicanor Faeldon Jr., war on drugs
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