Pushers known to barangay execs
Even if he was dense as chair of the Subic Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Martin Diño seems to have more sense than military intelligence (an oxymoron, if you ask me) when it comes to intelligence gathering.
Dino was dismissed as SBMA chair because he was incompetent.
Dino, who has returned to government service following his appointment as undersecretary for barangay affairs of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, says he will recruit all five million barangay officials in the war on drugs and criminality.
Dino knows their capability in intelligence gathering because he was once a barangay chair in Quezon City.
Nothing ever happens within a barangay without the knowledge of its kapitan and kagawad (councilors).
They know which residents are law-abiding and who are the troublemakers.
Military intelligence failed to detect the budding rebellion in Marawi City because it didn’t make use of barangay officials or residents.
The unusual movement of arms, the presence of unfamiliar faces and the digging up of trenches should have been telltale signs that some quarters were preparing for war.
Barangay officials or those at city hall would have known that trouble was brewing but kept silent because some of those involved were fellow Muslims.
Aside from military intelligence, if there’s somebody else to blame for the destruction of Marawi City, it’s the local officials and imams.
I remember my friend, the late Police director Marcelo Ele Jr. whose highest achievement was planning and leading the raid on the shabu tiangge (crystal meth flea market) in Pasig City years ago.
That was the first ever raid by the police that captured more than 200 pushers and users, some of them housewives with their children in tow, in one fell swoop.
My brother Erwin and I were present during that raid because Erwin had tipped off the police about the erstwhile untouchable flea market where shabu was sold openly on a one-hectare enclosed property which was within spitting distance of the Pasig City Hall.
There was a long line of stalls like the ones found in a fish market and a row of huts where addicts had pot sessions or pushers had sex with women in exchange for a “score.”
The women and their children who were rounded up by Jun Ele and his men had dropped by the tiangge on their way to the nearby market.
The owner of the tiangge, Amin Boratong, is now serving time at the national penitentiary because of that raid.
While the pushers and addicts were being held at bay in one corner, an imam approached Ele who was busy supervising the operation.
The imam had the nerve to ask Ele if he could allow some of the suspects, his fellow Muslims, to say their prayers because it was already noon.
But Ele courteously turned him down and told him: “Why didn’t you advise your faithful against selling drugs when you knew they were doing something illegal?”
“I didn’t know what they were doing,” the imam replied.
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