On Duterte’s military takeover of the Bureau of Customs

Duterte’s military takeover of the Bureau of Customs signal his assumption of complete and direct control of the drug smuggling operations in the Philippines. Frustrated over how recent operations to smuggle in more than two tons of methamphetamine hydrocholoride (shabu) was publicly exposed, Duterte now wants to use martial law powers to take complete control of the BoC and throw out everyone outside his cabal, and use the military culture of secrecy to serve his criminal mafia ends.

By directly taking over of the customs through the AFP, Duterte has firmly consolidated his overlordship of the shabu smuggling and trafficking operations in the country. He is now the lord of all drug lords and the godfather of the Philippine narco-government.

Mulling over the military take over of the Bureau of Customs, Duterte has taken pains to depict the AFP as an incorruptible organization hoping to publicize it as an effort to clean up the agency. He however cannot conceal the fact that the AFP is one of the most corrupt agencies interlinked with criminal syndicates, including drug trafficking. Military field officials are notorious for their involvement in the drug trade in Marawi and across Mindanao. Units of the AFP are involved in widespread abuses of human rights and other nefarious operations.

Duterte is flouting the Philippine constitution by using the AFP to mount a military takeover of the BoC. He is exercising absolute power. He is flexing his muscle for his plan to declare nationwide martial law early next year to secure the mid-term elections and further strengthen his reign of crime and corruption.