A_Potent_Brew revised_version

Report
A Potent Brew? Illegal Drugs,
Politics, and Armed Conflict in two
provinces in the ARMM
By
Rufa Cagoco-Guiam
Davao City 19 March 2012
Outline of Presentation
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Introduction
The Research Questions
Literature Review
Hypotheses
Methodology
Evidence
Conclusions
Introduction
• The Philippines as a significant source of shabu
(metamphetamine hydrochloride) since 2007 –
both for domestic and export consumption (East
and SEAsia, Oceania) (World Dev’t Report, 2011)
• 5 regions in Mindanao –with most number of
drug dens (PDI July 28, 2011 report)
– ARMM – 10 drug dens neutralized – in Maguindanao
and Lanao del Sur
– Region 9 – 2 drug dens
– Regions 10, 11 and 12 (one each)
Research Questions
• Why has the illegal trade in shabu in the two
provinces in the ARMM not led to massive
breakdown of violence?
• How does the incentive structure in engaging
in the shabu trade play into the weak
governance structures in the region?
• What are the links between local politicians
and the illegal drug trade?
• What is the relationship between the shabu
trade and violent conflict?
Literature Review
• Crime – rebellion nexus: studies on the deadly
interface between illegal drug trade (cocaine and
opium) and armed conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq,
Colombia, etc. (Cornell, 2007)
• Illegal drugs are “honey pots” providing
incentives for profit-seeking groups to “engage in
violent actions, as in a rebellion. (Collier, 2000
• Engaging in illegal markets is not directly linked to
the outbreak of violence : “excessive violence
can be bad for business” ; when state-sponsored
predation rackets form, illicit markets can be
peaceful…”(Snyder, Duran-Martinez 2009) et. al
Hypotheses
• The incentive structure for engaging in the drug trade
is attractive, starting with substantial commissions for
“rovers” and “strollers” (interviews with pushers and
users)
• Drug money is the currency of acquiring political
leverage, and in turn, one’s political position protects
the local government official’s interests in the drug
trade. (PDEA-ARMM director interviews)
• Engaging in the illegal drug trade does not necessarily
lead to massive violence. Engaging in legal exercises
like the elections can even be more violent. (see data
from Chua, et.al. Democracy at Gunpoint)
Methodology
• Desk review of related literature
• Analysis of news reports on drug related crimes from The Mindanao
Cross (2000 to 2010) and through the Notre Dame Broadcasting
Corporation’s radio stations in Central Mindanao (Jan 2011 to
February 2012)
• One on one conversations
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Drug pushers (2)
- community organizers (2)
Drug users (2)
- academics (2)
Media persons (2)
- former parish priest of Parang
Top ARMM official (former exec secretary)
PDEA ARMM regional director
LCE (Parang municipal mayor)
CSO/NGO officers (4)
Bank manager (1- Cotabato City)
Evidence
• Engaging in drug trafficking as a family or clan’s mechanism for social
protection (CSO informant and corroborated by MSU prof and community
organizers)
• “Narco-politics” in Lanao del Sur’s “Lucky Seven” club (PDEA ARMM
director interviews)
• Maguindanao-based drug lords keep the entire process of the trade within
family members, although trusted “retailers” can be made part of the
business(ARMM officials and Parang municipal officials, former Parang
parish priest)
• Usually, drug lords have legal businesses to mask their illegal business, and
can get away from detection because there are no direct evidence of their
engagement in the drug trade (interviews with bankers)
• Relationship with rebel groups: tenuous; circumstantial, and silence of
ulama groups on the problem of illegal drugs trafficking in the ARMM
(newspaper and radio reports that MILF leaders quickly deny this link,
even cite they had executed alleged drug pushers in the past)
Lanao del Sur: The Lucky 7 Club + 1
(Sketched by PdEA ARMM director)
Centre of financial
transactions
LCE 2
gunrunning
LCE 3
Drug trafficking
LCE 1:
Text
Kidnapping
“The Godfather”
LCE 7:
all illegal
activities
LCE 6:
carnapping
LCE5:
robbery ,
hold up
LCE 4: illegal items at
customs
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
number of incidence
arrested/charged
cases filed
killed
dismiss
Ja
n11
M
ar 11
M
ay
-1
1
Ju
l- 1
1
Se
p11
No
v11
Ja
n12
Number of Incident
Drug Related Crimes
Monthly Incident
From NDBC news reports from Jan 2011 to Feb 2012
PDEA Central Mindanao (Reg XII) revealed the names of the
5 Druglords who rule the illegal drugs trade in Central
Mindanao, including ARMM (mainland)
1. Kagui Lao of Cotabato City
2. Montawal Group of Cotabato Province
3. Maghanoy alias Tobsie of Cotabato Province
4. Marcos and Fatima Baliwan of Sultan Kudarat Province
5. Black Moro of Sultan Kudarat Province
Accordingly, most of these illegal drugs are either shipped
from Manila through the southern backdoor. These are
exported to Indonesia using the fishing vessels operating
in Saranggani. The illegal drugs are placed inside spare tires,
junk foods, or canned goods. Children as young as 9 years
old are also used as couriers.
From The Mindanao Cross, January 26, 2008
Incidents
Province
Wounded
3Basilan
17
3
7Sulu
36
2
6
23
58
3
7Lanao Sur
4Maguindanao
Total
Killed
21
117
Election-related violence, from 2009 to 2010,
Democracy at Gunpoint, 2011
31
Rover –
20-50
pesos per
sachet
Repacker –
Retailer
100 or double
that of rover
“Drug families” or groups/
“conglomerates in
Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur
(multi-million “corporation”
Depositing 5-10 million pesos in
banks in Cotabato City daily
Wholesaler –
One kg= 3 m; but
can be processed to
3 kg, with 6 m
From interviews with drug pushers,
profit (miniusers, PDEA director, ARMM top official,
laboratories
bank manager, MSU prof
On the role of state-sponsored
predation rackets
• The Five Pillars of the Justice System:
– Law enforcement: ordinary police officers who
provide protection to rovers and retailers
– Prosecution: Fiscals ask for bribes from apprehended
rovers and retailers and delay filing of charges or
dismissal of charges
– Community: people are scared to report to PDEA or
to law enforcement
– Courts: order dismissal of some cases
– Correction: PDEA detention cells are like pigpens or
chicken coops
Collated from interviews and conversations with
informants
Conclusions
• Illegal drug trade consists of an elaborate, complicated network of
transactions that remain shadowy despite its huge financial “portfolio” (10
m a day is conservative)
• Operating this huge ‘drug conglomerate’ is made smooth and easy with
modern communications equipment in a political context that has weak
regulatory mechanisms, with state-sponsored protection rackets in place
• Drug money is the currency for acquiring political power and political
power becomes the clout of protection for the drug trade to thrive
• While violence is a possibility in the illegal drug trade and politics, it is not
always the consequence. Even without the illegal drug trade thrown into
the equation, political power plays have become already violent in the
ARMM.
• Legal mechanisms and legal trade can mask the shadow economies of
illegal trade, especially in the trade of shabu.
• Armed conflict is a background and a condition that contributes to the
“enabling” environment for the illegal drug trade to continue unabated
• Weak government regulatory mechanisms, combined with state
protection rackets and the messy conditions spawned by the active armed
conflict in the region provide the enabling environment for the illegal drug
trade to thrive in the ARMM.
Policy implications
• Creation of special drug courts; reforming the five pillars of
the Justice System, from law enforcement, prosecution, courts
and correction systems
• Review Anti-Money laundering Act; RA on dangerous drugs
• Review incentive structure of government regulatory
mechanisms
• Intensified community-based information, education and
communication strategies to address the “demand” side of
illegal drugs, esp. shabu
• Illegal drug trafficking as part of the agenda for the GPH-MILF
peace talks, especially in putting in place comprehensive
reforms in the ARMM
• Security sector reforms, including the option for community
policing strategies

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