Certain details of one who has been convicted of a crime after going through a court trial may be generally accessible to the public except for some very isolated cases, mostly due to security considerations.
However, dying of a contagion as dreaded as the coronavirus could subject the victim’s immediate family to undue discrimination, not to mention the stigma that they may suffer from the public.
The Data Privacy Act may actually be applicable in the case of Jaybee Sebastian and other high value PDLs who reportedly succumbed to COVID-19 – although in an inquiry in aid of legislation, we as legislators can ask relevant questions, especially in an executive session.
Unless there is very compelling reason to suspect any foul play – and as of now, there is none – personally, I’d rather focus on more pressing matters than be distracted by the death/s of drug convict/s who had shown no remorse at all by continuing their drug operations even in the confines of the high-security facility of the New Bilibid Prison, right under the noses of prison officials, corrupting those who have no moral fortitude to resist even drug money.
Director General-designate Wilkins Villanueva is such one good and professional officer who is fit for the job, having a long career in drug enforcement.
The President couldn’t have appointed a more qualified head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, having served our country for nearly 20 years with the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and with the PDEA.
With the challenge of going after drug personalities amid the new normal posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he indeed has his work cut out for him.
I look forward to working with him, being the Senate Finance Subcommittee Chair and Sponsor of the PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) budgets, among others.
I have always believed that the real test of character of public officials like P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido is power or money. Give them the opportunity to lay their hands on either one or both, and they will reveal who they really are.
I remember then PO1 Espenido during our PAOCTF days as someone who consistently performed his duty with integrity and dedication. At least that was how I knew him in the many instances that he faced those challenges. But that time, he was just a non-commissioned officer at the bottom of the salary grade of police personnel. Rising from the ranks, he held several positions of higher authority until his relief recently.
This morning, I sent him a text message with a simple question: “What happened?” He has not replied, unlike before when he would even text me with early morning Bible quotes.
It is a pity because no less than President Duterte took notice of his performance by publicly acknowledging his contribution to the government’s war on illegal drugs, easily making him the poster boy of the campaign.
Espenido’s case, if true, could be one big reason why the war against illegal drugs is failing.
Being his former superior, I hope he can acquit himself and convincingly disprove this very serious allegation against him. Otherwise, he is just one of the many others I personally knew to have succumbed to the pressure.
In an interview with media in Lingayen, Pangasinan, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– VP Robredo’s claim that the war vs drugs is a ‘massive failure’
– Filipinos affected by tension in the Middle East
– pork in the 2020 budget
– PNP physical fitness policy
In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: – House leaders’ claims that Senate to blame for early hosting woes for SEA Games – pork in the 2020 budget
– reported proposal to vote for President and VP in tandem
– advice to VP Robredo after her removal as ICAD co-chair
Sen. Lacson sponsored the proposed PhP553.661-million budget of the Dangerous Drugs Board. The proposed 2020 budget of the DDB is lower than the 2019 budget due to, among other factors, the non-recurring funding for the nationwide survey on the extent of drug abuse in the Philippines.
Lacson also sponsored the PhP2.480-billion budget of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, higher than the current year’s budget.
Kudos to Vice President Robredo. I take my hat off to her for accepting the daunting challenge. Nobody in this world cannot be incapable of accomplishing a task as long as he or she puts his or her mind and conscience into the job.
Experience counts but sincerity and mental honesty, not to mention the willingness to learn, should count more. We should all give her the support she needs to contribute her share in battling this pestering problem of illegal drugs that destroys lives, families and the youth to whom we will bequeath the future of our beloved country.
In my case, I am ready and willing to humbly share whatever modest law enforcement experience I gained in my previous life.