- Pangasinan has intensified its campaign against illegal drugs since the start of President Duterte's administration with over 700 users and peddlers surrendering to police authorities
- Police Superintendent Benjamin Ariola detained his own brother who is accused of using illegal drugs
- The family decided to turn in Ariola’s brother to the police station
No one is above the law.
The Chief of Police of Magaldan, Pangasinan, Police Superintendent Benjamin Ariola, strictly enforced the law when his own brother was turned over to the police.
According to Ariola, it was the family's decision to turn in his 39-year old brother to the police station.
"Ikulong mo sarili mo,' sabi ko. Pinosasan namin... 'Trabaho lang walang personalan.' Ang agreement between family members, no cases filed basta kwan na lang namin na magkapatid at saka mother ko," Ariola said.
(‘Put yourself in jail,’ I said. We handcuffed him… This is just work, nothing personal. Our agreement between us family members is that no cases [will be] filed [against my brother] as long as we talk between us and our mother.)
Ariola recalled that he was aware of his brother’s illegal drug use since 2015. He tried to make him quit by employing him to be his errand boy. However, his efforts failed. Ariola said that his brother continued with his vice even when he became the chief of police of Mangaldan in 2016.
The family hopes that Ariola’s brother could be subjected to the Philippine National Police's anti-illegal drugs campaign or undergo rehabilitation programs created by the local government of Mangaldan.
Some Pangasinan towns and cities have been identified as transshipment points for illegal drugs. In 2014, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reported that 96 of the province’s 1,364 villages were “drug affected.”
Recently, PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña told reporters that several Pangasinan mayors are involved in the illegal drug trade. Lapeña said that he already has a list of the names of these local officials and is already being validated.
“Wala kaming sasantuhin kahit sino pa sila at hindi namin sila tatantanan (We won’t spare anyone; there will be no let-up in the fight against drugs),” Lapeña warned.