• Drug killings an international issue now


    First Read
    Because in the first draft of this column, I used the word “Draconian” to describe the unprecedented measures that President Duterte has adopted in his war on drugs, I was led by my research to the story of Draco, from whose name the word was taken.

    In the Encyclopedia Britannica, I found this entry on Draco:

    “Draco also spelled Dracon (7th Century BC), Athenian lawgiver whose harsh code punished both trivial and serious crimes in Athens with death – hence the continued use o f the word “draconian” to describe repressive legal measures.

    “The six junior archons or magistrates, are said by Aristotle to have been instituted in Athens after 683 to record the laws. If this is correct, Draco’s code was not the first reduction of Athenian law to writing, but it may have been the first comprehensive code.

    “The code was later regarded as intolerably harsh, punishing trivial crimes with death; it was probably unsatisfactory to contemporaries, since Solon, the archon in 594 BC, later repealed Draco’s code and published new laws.

    An international issue now
    This excursion into Draco’s story is a way of introducing my theme today, that President Duterte’s war on drugs and the over a thousand drug killings are no longer just a national issue; they are an international issue now.

    The name “Duterte” is now known all over the world and carried by innumerable newspapers and news media. It has taken a seat for notoriety beside the likes of Hugo Chavez and Osama bin Laden at a time when the world has started to forget them.

    By going to war against the United Nations because of the world body’s desire to inquire into the drug killings, and because of his obstinate refusal to honor human rights and humanitarian law in the drug war, President Duterte has placed himself in the cross-hairs not only of the UN but in those of every international human rights organization.

    By threatening to pull the Philippines out of the United Nation (even organizing his own association of nations), the President may have only boxed himself into a corner.

    All the profanities that he has heaped on the UN and his human rights critics cannot wipe away the cloud that has formed over him and his government. The human rights issue will not go away. It may well wind up in an international court.

    The dead will not be forgotten. More than 1,500 people have been killed since Duterte took office and immediately began his law-and-order crackdown, according to police statistics.

    The UN’s special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, said last week said that Duterte’s promise of immunity and bounties to security forces who kill drug suspects violated international law.

    This follows UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s criticism of Duterte in June, for promising during the election campaign to kill 100,000 people and dump so many bodies in Manila Bay.

    “I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Ban said.

    This led to more cuss words from DU30: “Fuck you, UN, you can’t even solve the Middle East carnage … couldn’t even lift a finger in Africa,” he said then.

    Last month Duterte said he might not ratify the country’s commitments to a historic UN climate change pact agreed to by his predecessor last year.

    Teaching the UN how to count
    In his latest blast against the UN, President Duterte boasted that he would teach the UN how to count. He addressed himself to the UN, saying: “You’re complaining that there is no process. Okay, you guys, you law experts of the United Nations, come here, come here and face me and make the accusations and I will show you the statistics and I will hold your finger and teach you how to count,” he said.

    The President said that he was willing to dialogue with UN observers to explain to them the effects of his war on the narcotics industry, yet his spokesman Ernesto Abella said a UN fact-finding mission that Callamard offered to lead to look into the summary killings in the country was not welcome and would be considered “unnecessary meddling” in internal affairs.

    Duterte justifies everything by saying that what he has launched and sown are in line with fulfilling his duty:

    “My job as President is to protect law-abiding citizens. I was never tasked by any law to protect criminals. I say this because 16 million people voted for me and I have a large margin between me and the next candidate,” he said.

    “The President therefore finds the pronouncements from certain bodies as unwelcome meddling in national matters. The Philippines has not extended any invitation to anybody, nor the UN to look into its national affairs. We are capable of our own internal dialogue.”

    A necessary catharsis
    But all this blah-blah cannot wipe away, however, the fact that Duterte’s draconian measures have gone against humanity’s fundamental belief that people have a right to be left alone by government when there is no evidence that they have committed a crime, and if there is evidence, that they have to be charged and tried in public, under judicial oversight.

    When officials deviate from this norm, they should be grilled and must be called to account.

    Yesterday, the Senate inquiry into the drug killings opened with Sen. Leila de lima leading the probe. The hearing was broadcast live, and the public finally began to hear for themselves accounts about the killings, and the stories of some of the people killed.

    It was excruciating to behold. But this inquiry is the necessary catharsis that the Filipino nation must go through because of the war on drugs.



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    1. Ignacio Balbutin on

      Why all these international bodies were not alarmed during the last administrations of the countless of crimes committed against innocent women who were robbed and killed right in their homes, why are the silent of the proliferation of drugs that penetrates every sector of the society, why are they not alarmed of the corruptions that were hrazenly done by the public officials? Why are they alarmed of those drug addicts who were killed because they choose to fought it out with the police? It is ironic for these international bodies who looked on one side only. Let them come to the Philippines and have a direct interview with the President so that our good President can explain to them what really happen. They must realize that most medias here are one sided only

    2. The Philippines biggest problem is actually the irresponsible media which is now called “PRESSTITUTES”. Presstitutes are taking advantages of freedom of the press to the detriment of the majority of the Filipino people. Gone were the days of media reporting just what really happened. Gone were the days of balanced news reporting. More media people now are opinionated and biased. Just remember how biased they were in the last national elections in connivance with survey firms. They brainwashed the electorates to vote for candidates supported by them. These media criticizes every good intention of the President but they are silent on the wrongdoings of the previous administrations. They will pick phrases in the President’s statements and make big stories to discredit the President and his government. In issue of human rights, media sensationalize deaths of drug pushers who fought law enforcers. Media attributes vigilante killings to the police as if it is sanctioned by the state. If the government protects the people against bad elements, media will accuse it of human rights violations. Did we hear media condemn the drug syndicates and their protectors? Even strong statements from our President is already a human rights issue to them. Where was media and what was their stand on the killing fields in Mauban and other parts of Quezon during the Cory Aquino administration? Were they silent because CPP, NPA and NDF were involved? Was killing student-recruits and their own cadres not human rights violations? What was the stand of media regarding the Mendiola Massacre, Hacienda Luisita Massacre, Mamasapano Massacre and other massacres? Did we hear media’s condemnation of the sitting presidents then? If we want to clean the mess our country is in right now, we have to start with the media. Let’s get rid of the disinformation being propagated by media.

    3. DU30 was in a bad situation where his predecessors left him with a big DRUG related problems and other big problems. He has his hands tied or pulled on both ends and about 120 million citizens of RP are putting their trust on him to ressurect RP to peace time era. And the Media is not cooperating and some NGOs and some Senators and some Congressmen and some oligarchs and there is the all powerful UN & USA who is only brave when facing third countries. DU30 is not to be cowed by the enoumous mouth barriers of all of them, he is showing tenacity amidst the controversies and he is showing results. Lets RESULTS be the proof that DU30 is serious on his undertakings as the RP Pres. Give this man the credit…past RP Pres has done nothing like DU30 does..and I hope he will succeed.

    4. Think deep and long. If you are given a chance to handle this gargantuan drug problems what will you do? It is very easy to be critical to other person deeds, but have you put yourself in President Duterte’s position if your dream and good intention is to make this country a better place to live in. Did you ever criticize PNOY why he had tolerated this drug problems to grew this big? Now that the President is doing something that the previous administrations failed to do, you are opposing it. You know that these drug manufacturers, drug pushers and users are talagang palaban ito. They will not simply surrender or yield peacefully because their minds are clouded by chemicals. Once they used illegal drugs they are no longer of their sane mind. Ano ba ang gusto mo pabayaan na lang ni Duterte ang mga drug addicts na maghari? Alam mo naman ang Justice system sa bansang ito, di ba? Maslalo na ang mga humahawak ng hustisya natin, from police up to the justices, ay involve sa droga. Why don’t you just keep silent if you cannot help solve this drug problems.

    5. Law tends to protect innocent people that they don’t know they have been already committed a crime or violate a regulation. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, but we have the rights for a due process.

      Identified or suspected pushers and users are in fact have been called into their respective precincts to clear their names or ask for a chance to change for the better. The pushers that have been killed by the PNP are known as notorious pushers and users. I agree with PD30 for his argument that our law is not to protect criminals. The notorious pushers are no longer afraid to be detained because they know that they can still continue the drug trade. We are now already narcostate and that is a fact. If our national leaders will tolerate the penetration of the system of drugs in each sector of the Philippines, the next generations will surely suffer the consequences. I believe that solutions to resolve the drug trade cannot be found in any book. Every problem has its own unique solution. I just wish that there must be no innocent people to be as a collateral damage in the war against drugs.

    6. “My job as President is to protect law-abiding citizens. I was never tasked by any law to protect criminals.

      Where are you “Human Rights Protector” (oppositions’ as if they are genuine governance saving people from criminal violations & abuse the rights of human). When there are rampant kilings where are you? When there was continous rape from addicts where are you? When there are Police killed a civilian or having police brutality with out criminal offence what action & solutions do you contribute? . . .and many more killings during your time, is that correct goverment like you were acting now? And all the family who were being abused has no power to raised this problems because you all orchestraed & manupulated an opposite stories.

      And now in DU30’s & PEOPLE’s war agaist DRUGs you are questiong this approach? Behind this is to save the true people of the Philippines! Once again what is the difference from your time & DU30 today. You should do better before beacuse the law was already there & ready! Now you are talking to improve. What do you think is this a GAME’? What you need is to implement the law correctly without corruption. No compare’ No friends of mine, No bribery!

      Mabuhay tayo mga tunay na Pilipino… Mabuhay ang ating bagong Pangulo DU30, ang tunay na may malasakit sa mama’mayan.

    7. vagoneto rieles on

      The President is ‘skating on thin ice’ in this matter of ‘alleged extra-judicial executions’. It is not, however, a choice he happily made all by himself. Past administrations, all six of them, (to be fair), had been indifferent to, or had underestimated a ‘drug problem’ which, not surprisingly, grew to become the monster that it is today. President Duterte is now simply taking it upon himself and his administration to employ “Draconian” measures with a view to deliberately and resolutely ending this problem.

      Mr. Duterte, a lawyer himself, knows how argumentative, how litigious and how numerous lawyers in the country are; and that a good many of them are in government or are close to government…and how invested some of them are in the ‘drug trade’. Mr. Duterte wasn’t born yesterday. He knows how this picture impacts the pace of justice in the country. He also knows, that ‘drugs’ is just one of the many problems that begs for solutions over the next six years.

      The methods that the President has chosen, while harsh, is neither totally good, nor totally bad. Given the horrible effects of the problem, and the indifference that past dispensations have shown towards this; it just seems fair that we cut the President some slack and allow him and his team the benefit of the doubt…where this ‘drug war’ is concerned.

      While we are on this subject, here’s a question…”Have the UN sanctioned China; North Korea; Iran; Saudi Arabia, etc. for ‘institutionalizing’ much the same practices as President Duterte has resorted to on an ‘ad hoc’ basis?

      It’s been said that the distance of the ‘possible from the impossible’ is the true measure of a man. Let’s give the President’s program a chance to prove itself. Let’s not pass judgement now.

      • Very well said. Congratulations. Majority of the Filipinos are in favor of the program of the Duterte administration. Finally, people are hopeful about the future of the Philippines and beginning to be proud to be called Filipinos.

    8. These meddling western foreigners are always siding with the enemies of the Republic. they want us to go slow against the NPAs because of human rights, , they want us to give in to the MILF demands that we give up Muslim Mindanao to them, now they are in effect siding with the drug traffickers who have turned our country into a narco-state, thanks to the inaction – or is it cooperation?- of the western oriented yellow regime. Ano ba talaga ang balak para sa atin ng mga iput na ito?

    9. it is the fault of phil media why our country was lag to this kind of picture due to the bias info they supply to the int’l media org. It is the phil media who is killing our country softly. it’s our media here informed the int’l media that the killings are state sponsored w/o considering the other facts and details. If they can only compare the number of killed of the same period last year they’ll be surprised that the numbers are even. the only difference is – people killed last year for the same period are innocent people victims of these pest in our society while people killed today are the pest who destroy the life and property of the law abiding and innocent people.

    10. Sir Yen, please let’s focus on this line of yours, “that people have a right to be left alone by government when there is no evidence that they have committed a crime, and if there is evidence, that they have to be charged and tried in public, under judicial oversight.”
      First, NO evidence?! Their NAMES are ALREADY in barangays’ blotter folders FOR YEARS. Gen. de la Rosa said last night at “Mareng Winnie’s Walang Pasaway” (GMA-11) that his troop knocks on doors ALREADY IDENTIFIED by the barangay to be housing such pushers. Yen, look at this ratio: 2000 (rounded off) dead, who WRONGED 600 000 (rounded off) addicts. Not only 600 000 lives, because their parents and siblings, spouses and children are also pained. Excluding those raped-murdered, carnapped-murdered, etc. Sen. Allan, at the de Lima-Senate committee hearing yesterday, intimated that Police records disclosed 35-deaths-a-day in the Aquino administration as against the 20-deaths-a-day from July 1 to Aug. 21. Yet this 20-a-day-deaths is mostly made up of drug pushers. Those 35 deaths did not include drug pushers. Ergo, there is lesser crime committed since July 1st. Second, these killed drug pushers were being “arrested” in order to face charges, but they meant to transgress the law another time. Thus losing their right and privilege, let alone their lives. May local media support our popularly-elected-promdi-president in correcting the wrongs done to the country he loves so reverently. International media will pick from there.

    11. Michael Richardson on

      When a person is high on drugs, his judgement is demolished, and he is likely to be 100 times braver than normal – maybe even believing he is invincible. It has been said that many ISIS fighters go into battle jacked up on drugs, which is why they are a pushover for a professional well trained force. A street corner drug dealer high on shaboo, when confronted by armed police, is likely to think he is a ‘Rambo’ and act accordingly. This is why the normal ‘rules of engagement’ are likely to get a police officer killed. You cannot therefore blame the police for not taking any chances.

    12. The Great Defiant on

      we don’t care about international issues…
      we do care for the safety, welfare and future of our children…
      after 30 years of senate and congress existence…did we improve a bit?…
      what killings?…what EJK…
      what about drugs..crime…corruption and poverty of the country?…
      enough said…

    13. ernie del rosario on

      Yen, are you now joining Kit on his endless criticism of whatever the President does ? I may be a bit inaccurate for I have stopped reading Kit’s takes. Have you seen the statistics shown by Sen Cayetano in the Senate hearing yesterday ? Killing was worse during the previous admin if you remove the doctoring of of these statistics – an art mastered by that admin.

    14. Jerry Galapon on

      This country is sliding into Narco state; Politicians, Generals, and Businessman are into dealing drugs. Thanks to our Draconian President Duterte he is fighting for the will of the law abiding citizens which was neglected due to tolerance of criminals by our political leaders which weakens our Police and Armed Forces. It is a known fact that members of UN Human Rights organizations and allied bodies are known agitators and anarchist so, where ever they go anarchy follows. Another UN organization the High Comm on Refugees enacted resolutions that allows millions of Middle East Refugees with Terrorists among them to enter EU once you set foot on any EU member countries. UN human rights orgs 85% of their resolution only to bash Israel, at this moment Israel is the only Democratic country in the Middle East, there are more countries with worst human rights violations but no action from UN. Australia seeking refugees were diverted to a third country because they know it will destroy their country. Our Draconian President Duterte is justified to say “Fuck You and Stupid UN” he is protecting our country from international and local anarchist and agitators.! The ICC is another big joke they can not enforce their sentence to known international Criminals.!! “If you are not ready to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism” by Thomas Sowell, U.S.A.

    15. 1,800 drug related murders (30-35 deaths a day) in less than 2 months of Duterte’s presidency SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. You have to be DEAF, BLIND and DUMB not to suspect the police and vigilantes to be in cahoots at this murderous rampage.

      Perhaps it would be more believable and more innovative to spread the rumor that the shabu sold here is cyanide-laced which explains why thousands have died rather than protest so loudly and vehemently, denying accusations that it has become state policy to KILL – KILL – KILL ! ! ! thus depriving the right to life.

    16. So what? Why are you so very kowtowing to foreign opinions? Also do you want the President to stop now all his efforts to improve this country? Also I monitored your opinions eversince, and I know that you have never been supportive of this president because your “manok” are his political opponents. Please be informed that many of us supports him, and we don’t really give a hoot to your opinion, and these foreigners. Hindi na makabenta yang opinion mo!

    17. A policy should be put in placed when a shootings between drug suspects and law enforcers resulted in
      a death in either party, investigation by a police internal affairs should be conducted. In other words,
      police officers should police their ranks. These clean-up will not be a pretty sight….