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EDITORIAL: War on drugs, two leaders, two styles

Eight months after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. assumed office the nation was shocked when the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government announced that they are requiring PNP officials from Generals and Colonels to submit their courtesy resignations.

The public was unprepared for this, in fact, there were unfounded rumours of a brewing coup especially when the former AFP Chief of Staff was re-appointed. A few days after that announcement the President stated in an interview that the strategy was long discussed and approved by the PNP, and members of the cabinet.

We are looking at a continuation of the war on drugs started by former President Rodrigo Duterte. But the approach is shifting and revealing the styles of two different leaders who are serious about dealing with the drug problem but applying different strategies. While former President Duterte focused on destroying the apparatus of the drug syndicates through hard police action and assuring lawful support to the men in uniform, President Marcos is focused on cleansing the ranks of the law enforcers using the legal force of the administrative bureaucracy.

The move of both presidents are worth admiring, their objectives are the same but the way to achieve such objectives is based on personal leadership styles. One uses the force of the law, and the other uses human resource management theories and principles.

Under President Duterte drug laboratories were destroyed, and drug lords were incarcerated or killed. President Marcos’ strategy of requiring courtesy recognition is a softer version that may result in a thorough and unhampered judicial investigation to look at who is involved among the police officials and thereby either bring them to a court or accept their courtesy resignations which could mean an honourable exit from public service.

Which strategy is effective will be determined after the terms of President Marcos when people will be able to study the results and put them in history for future references and scholarly studies. There is an old adage - there are many ways to skin a cat.


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