BLIND SPOT: Lying on a Hotbed


What’s a hotbed? According to Google, it is “an environment promoting the growth of something, especially something unwelcome.” When used in a sentence, it would go, “the country was a hotbed of revolt and dissension”. Its synonyms are breeding ground, den, nest, stronghold, flashpoint, cradle and seedbed. So my city is a hotbed, an environment that promotes methamphetamine hydrochloride? So, our city is a breeding ground, den, nest, stronghold, flashpoint, cradle and seedbed for crystal meth? I remember in the late 90s, some 20 years ago, a radio station exploded a bombshell when they divulged the contents of a diary of a certain adolescent school girl, a student in a prominent school, which told extensive details of drug trade and use among adolescents in Naga. It was intense because the diary entries were fully detailed down to specific places and complete names of persons involved. This was etched in my memory because it implicated some acquaintances whom were not surprisingly were users, pushers or both. Yes, some parties could dismiss the exposition as a hoax; but I believed it, still believe it because it was realistically believable. The personal journal detailed specific events of drug acquisition and use; thereby revealing the intricate web of illicit drug culture in our very locale. I could tell that charges were pressed because I have heard that those acquaintances whom I mentioned, were derailed from their regular lives because they had to mind cases filed against them. I have neither heard much of them; nor about what came out of the cases. I would not be surprised if the whistleblower had gone to the remotest place she could go to. It is surprising no one talks about this anymore. It is as if it has been cast into oblivion, buried under the bulwarks of the present. There’s a certain place here, the very name of which had become synonymous to illicit drugs. Word on the street is it has been raided a great number of times. Authorities have even gone to the extent of giving it a makeover of a religiously sounding and longer name; in the hopes of erasing the stigma of its reputation. But still, word has it that nothing much has changed. It still the same leopard with its old spots; still referred to by the locals by its traditional monicker, despite the government officially calling it as “Panthera pardus”. Of course, in all cases, the illegal substance in question is methamphetamine hydrochloride. “On January 6 and 13, 2012, three clandestine shabu laboratories were dismantled in Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City.” some P420 million worth of shabu was confiscated during a joint PDEA-PNP Christmas Day raid in 2013 at a game fowl ranch in Lipa City, Batangas. There has been a “discovery of a floating shabu laboratory off the coast of Zambales on July 12, 2016.” “two tons of cocaine bricks were reportedly thrown overboard into the waters of Eastern Samar by a Chinese vessel in 2009,” 180 kilos of shabu worth P900 million were unearthed in Barangay Culao, Claveria, Cagayan on July 3, 2016. “Members of drug trafficking organizations have also abandoned chemicals used in the shabu production along the stretches of Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to avoid detection.” (pdea.gov.ph) No offense to the local governments and the people of the places mentioned above; but Naga City Camarines Sur was not even mentioned; nor have we had the experience of a massive meth laboratory within the city. Yes. Indignation is understandable. Come on, with all due respect, Mr. President what hotbed are we talking about here? However, aside from putting appropriate response of condemnation on record for the sake of posterity, what good would it do for anyone to talk back to a chatterbox or the rhetorics of a one high on liquor? The intentions are very apparent. Previous to the remarks in question, the nation’s Vice President has been labeled as incompetent. Apologies were expressed; yet not long after, the same honorable head of state took a jab at Madam Leni; referring to her as incapable at a smuggled car demolition event, (although, we’re not sure to which he’s referring to, the grinding of cars or the political will against smuggling); and this reference to Naga is just his latest attack. Interestingly, these could be traced to his hints of resignation; and along with it, he’s been on a continual consignment of condemnation against his constitutional, legal and logical successor in such a case. So, he’s not being insensitive; he’s being insecure. He’s not being politically correct; he’s being paranoid. Now, why is he so ‘praning”? Could it be he is seriously….? “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” Romans 1:18