• Are all extrajudicial killings loathsome?


    WE cannot avoid asking this question. In fact, it is the question which every Filipino must consider in the face of alleged extrajudicial killings that are being carried out across the country to eradicate the menace of illegal drugs and the criticism such killings have sparked both at home and abroad.

    This issue was the topic of discussion on ABS-CBN’s news channel ANC on Saturday night. Taking part in the debate from New York, the Asia director for Human Rights Watch roundly criticized the course of action President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen against the drug menace. The country will slip down the path to anarchy if the President did not change his ways and brought an end to this carnage, he warned.

    Indeed, no one has the right to take the life of another human being. Such an act for whatever reason is loathsome. Once dead, the suspect has no chance to prove his innocence. Even some of those who have been judged guilty after a fair trial in a court of law have been found innocent with the benefit of late found evidence. This is why many countries have abolished death sentence as a form of judicial punishment.

    Armchair moralistas who argue for due process, however, need think carefully about how to deal with extraordinary situations.

    What seems to have been lost in this debate is the original instruction that Duterte voiced out before he took the oath of office as President. He asked the police to go after drug lords and drug pushers and shoot them IF they would fight back resisting arrest. Also being overlooked is the fact that hundreds who have surrendered to lead a clean life are continuing to live.

    The instruction President Duterte gave the police was no different from the order the US president, Barrack Obama, issued to Operation Neptune Spear in May 2011 to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and later sat in the comforts of the White House watching on special telecast the Navy Seals landing on the building in Pakistan where bin Laden was fearlessly living, and finally shoot him to death. That action and other US drone attacks killing Al-Queda and ISIS operatives were extrajudicial killings; but they have not evoked condemnation from the UN Secretary General, the Human Rights Watch and others. They attracted only accolades.

    The reason for it is understandable. These are enemies of humanity, the world community, and they need to be annihilated.

    Another question, an uncomfortable one, therefore, is: Are the merchants of death – drug lords and pushers – who are destroying the lives of young people, families and, in the end, the future of our nation, any different from Al-Queda, ISIS and Abu Sayyaf terrorists? It is the fundamental question we all must ponder.

    The President’s ways are unusual. Such ways have become the choice because none of the past administrations bothered to tackle the monstrosity of the drug menace, widespread corruption in government and other evils by the horn.

    Legal minds that speak about the due process of law, which stipulates that a person remains innocent until proven guilty, need to rethink. Some situations warrant reversing this common law and putting the onus of proving innocence on the suspect. This has been done and made the law in other jurisdictions fighting corruption and such other menaces.

    The logic behind is: Drug pushing and bribe-taking happen in secrecy without any witness to corroborate. So, when a public servant is found leading a life or in possession of wealth beyond his legitimate means, corruption busters simply bring him to court and ask him to prove his source of wealth.

    Drug dealers can similarly be asked to prove their innocence. If drug lords and pushers do not fight back, it is reasonable to believe that they will be arrested and brought to justice.


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    1. President Duterte was correct in warning President Obama not to question him about extrajudicial killings
      when they meet in Laos. Obama has the nasty habit of going around the world lecturing other countries
      at a time when he is seen by many of his own people as a total failure. It is said that any time he enters
      a meeting, his arrogance tells him that he is the smartest person in the room, which of course makes him the
      dumbest. I would hope that the citizens of the Philippines accept the apologies of many Americans
      for their ill-mannered president.

      Cliff Ourso
      Arizona, USA

    2. The alleged vigilantes who allegedly kill alleged drug pushers should be allegedly prevented from so doing.

    3. “The instruction President Duterte gave the police was no different from the order the US president, Barrack Obama” gave to kill Osama bin Laden? Are you kidding me? No different than targeting a known murderer of 3000 innocent people? That is a laughable justification, and your smarmy comment about the “comfort of the White House” (as well as your sloppy misspelling of Barack) shows this column had no intention of engaging in objective self-reflection. No, you are more like someone who has committed a crime, and is trying to convince yourself that it was justified.

      Furthermore, the idea that drone strikes on al Qaida and air strikes on ISIS have drawn only accolades is just as delusional. There have been plenty of people in the US and around the world that have serious misgivings about those tactics, particularly the drone attacks in Pakistan.

      Your president is a thug and a clown, and to hear his continued aggression has forever changed my opinion of your country. Honesty, I don’t give a damn about your drug problem, or what you do about it. But I will never again buy a product of the Philippines, nor engage in any business with ties there. That you elected a dog like Duterte tells me all I will ever need to know about your country.

    4. Pero… Osama – according to reliable sources already died years before of kidney failure, the whatever special forces, invaded a residence in Pakistan, the body of the mastermind criminal, was disposed of – trown over board , the entire commando responsible of the heroic task of killing an old man and women, perished in an elicopter accident. Strange – At this point, we can believe anything.

    5. michael corner on

      Oh dear – got to do the journalist’s job for him . The question posed at the top is ‘are all extra judicial killings loathsome’? In short – yes and thrice yes.
      The Philippines is a catholic country and as such each believer must believe the Good Lord wasn’t erring when he said ‘thou shalt not kill’. All killings happen under His gaze and if we kill in error we must expect temporal justice and once our lives are over – purgatory or worse.
      The circuitous arguments of the journalistic piece are a smokescreen for what is a relatively simple issue at least for Christians.it’s wrong – dead wrong.
      And by the way……the drug problem in the Philippines isn’t as bad as many other so called ‘leading nations. Shabu use is slightly elevated in the Fils but heroin use, cocaine use, ecstasy use is well down in comparison with the international norms.

    6. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      05 September 2016

      I am scandalized no end with the position The Manila Times is taking with regard to the megalomanic EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING which Der Fuhrer Rodrigo Duterte and his “berdugo” PNP chief General “Bato” Roland de la Rosa, which, so far, has dispatched an estimated 2,000 victims to either hell or heaven.

      Is it possible that one, even just one, of those 2,000 victims had “FOUGHT BACK AND RESISTED ARREST” by “Bato’s blood-thirsty policemen? Which would have given the police the presidential LICENSE to kill outright?

      From where I sit, I do not think so.

      Under Der Fuhrer Duterte, the Philippines is entering a dark and uncertain chapter in its history. Now Der Fuhrer Duterte, on the flimsy basis of that bomb blast in Davao City, has just declared “A state of lawlessness” for the entire country. Under this regime, the Army is supposed by him to RULE THE COUNTRY ACCORDING TO HIS SPECIFICATIONS!

      Tell me: When the Army “rules according to the President’s specifications,” is this not actually or in effect MARTIAL LAW?

      Why allow yourselves to be lulled or tricked into believing that it is not? Does he take the Filipino people for FOOLS?


    7. Daniel B. Laurente on

      What anarchy you are talking about? During the term of Dirty Harry as Mayor of Manila that almost everyday there were dead people around the city just dumped anywhere some with still fresh wound and still oozing no one from human rights kono opening their mouth aloud now it is the time of President Duterte doing something about drug menace entire the country human rights group is howling EJK.