I am all for observing the new administration’s moves from the new appointees to the initiatives for change for the better in the ways of governance like doing away with unnecessary red tape and dropping honorifics.
But it is not possible to ignore or leave unremarked the spate of killings in the war to eradicate drugs. While drug lords and drug dealers and drug financiers have much to answer for, they should be made to answer in judicial proceedings rather than in summary killings. After which, they can be righteously punished.
The addiction to drugs has to be dismantled by psychology and rehabilitation that works on turning minds away from drugs, demonstrating their insidious evil and encouraging new lifestyles. Doing away with drug addicts and their ilk is not a permanent solution even if death is final. Others will take their place if there are no new mindsets, support groups or targeted attention to individuals who are struggling with drugs.
Yes, drug lords and drug financiers as well as government officials or private individuals who are in the drug business, should be neutralized by keeping them away from society by jailing them after a judicial process until they turn a new leaf.
What we are seeing is a lethal hunt for drug users, whether addicts or financiers and pushers with the purpose of eliminating them literally from the face of the earth. This way is only temporarily effective and results in all concerned going underground to make the extermination of drug use more difficult and more labyrinthine.
No one is converted for long by force and the unconverted go underground. What is more, the rise of impunity and indifference to the value of human life becomes the norm specially with the police forces or other state employees who are assigned the task of conducting a war against drugs. Human rights are abused, extraordinary and cruel executions take place, and no one is brought to the bar to explain these occurrences. In the way of impunity that is established by these actions, even petty crimes or misdemeanors are met with the same draconian excess that we see in the war against drugs.
I am disturbed by the number of people who have been killed which is in the hundreds and will soon hit the thousands. I am specially disturbed by three cases which from circumstantial evidence seemed to have been meted death without deserving it.
The first is the father and son in Pasay City. The son may have been a user and even a pusher so he was picked up. His apprehensive father fearing for him came willingly with him to the Pasay City police precinct. Suddenly, both were dead with the explanation that the son who was in handcuffs tried to snatch a policeman’s gun and so both were gunned down. There should have been an investigation and a judicial process before, and certainly no summary killing. Now will there be an investigation that will be fair and give justice?
The second is the young boy (18) in Santa Ana, the son of a laundry woman, who was the only one of his siblings to finish high school. He was a scholar of the Kaibigan Foundation which was helping him continue his education. Suddenly in a buy-bust operation he was shot dead. Something about he and his companions fighting the police and provoking them to shoot. The real story is unclear because the need to shoot dead seems untenable. No investigation has been promised. Is this the end of the pursuit of justice for this boy?
The third incident has nothing to do with drugs but everything to do with the police, the highway patrol group, specifically. A young man on a motorcycle hits a car and some sort of road rage occurs. He was on his way to his first job and probably unwilling to be detained or arrested, but he was. Last seen resisting arrest, hit in the abdomen by a highway patrolman, handcuffed and then dead. In handcuffs the excuse goes, he tried to snatch the gun of a policeman. If this is true, shouldn’t he have been subdued not shot dead?
The composite picture of the three incidents is nothing more than the impunity of doing away with human lives with utmost violence, outside the judicial process and for no discernible or acceptable reason.
We cannot continue in this way the war on drugs or the use of police force on civilians. Despite our huge population, the Philippines is still a small country in the sense of how many people one knows, how many relatives one has, who all interact. It is only a matter of time when our incipient police state does in someone we know enough to feel it is close to home or home itself.