Extra-judicial killings or gangland style rub-outs as means for law enforcement is tantamount to condoning terrorism and would, in the long run, only lead to erosion of the nation’s peace and order.
In her recent visit to Surigao del Norte, independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe decried such inhuman strategy to fight crime as she reiterated her call for a just society that respects due process and the rule of law. State-sponsored violence to combat criminality and lawlessness would only fuel dissent and disorder. A reign of terror will not cow the lawless and would only alienate law-abiding citizens, she noted.
Poe, who vowed that she will declare illegal drugs as a national security threat if she wins, plans to tap the president’s intelligence fund to step up crime-busting efforts by giving incentives to informants and cash rewards to crime-free barangays.
“We cannot play God and act as if we are above the law. Merciless killing is not the solution against crime. We need to be organized. We need to be just. Grievous errors are likely to arise from resorting to violence to eradicate criminality; an accused perpetrator is presumed innocent and needs to be heard and tried in court. In instances where the life of an innocent man is snuffed out, that will lead to greater disorder and injustice,” she stressed.
Poe’s common sense grasp of practical solutions to the more pressing concerns in the West Philippine Sea shone in the last debate among presidential aspirants: “First of all, we need to ply out some more ships for our Coast Guard– we can have the ships ordered even in Cebu. Second, we should provide radios for our fishermen. The West Philippine Sea is not a personal aquarium of the Chinese. You know, they are like school bullies.”
In the final face-off, Poe took note of the terror threat in Mindanao— the reality of kidnap-for-ransom syndicates and brigands and the bombings of civilian targets have apparently escaped the notice of her rivals. However, all-out war against terrorists, she said, should go hand in hand with all-out developments in the region, particularly for medical supplies. Bilateral talks to address terrorism would be continued, she cited.
“We need more of justice, rather than violence. We do not need a leadership with gunpowder for brains (Higit po nating kailangan ang katarungan, hindi karahasan. Hindi natin kailangan ang lideratong utak-pulbura),” the soft-spoken prep school teacher-turned-lawmaker added.
She pointed out that it takes both incorruptible leadership and people participation to make communities safe and drug-free.
“I will make sure that if your barangay remains free from illegal drugs and crime, you will be rewarded at mid-year and at the year-end. And to our fellowmen who would report perpetrators and malefactors, who push drugs, never would I have second thoughts about using the intelligence fund to reward these assets and have those pushers incarcerated,” she said.
In her first trip to Mindanao last week, Poe reiterated her commitment to allocate one-third or P1 trillion from the national budget to the region, where 13 of the country’s 20 poorest provinces can be found. Poverty breeds crime and despair; a more reasonable strategy for weeding out criminality is by addressing poverty, Poe said.
If the nation’s economy can generate sufficient jobs and more people are gainfully employed or have means of livelihood and food on the table, crime rates will subsequently go down, she noted.
Scouring past the memes, blood and thunder sound bites, and a gush of promises proffered by aspirants for the top Malacañang post, this elder still swears by an old-fashioned, yes, altogether forgotten yardstick to gauge the competencies and integrity of persons.
A decent family life speaks volumes. Statecraft— character, ethics, and everything that matters in nation-building and personal transformation— are learned at home. Plato’s “The Republic” speaks of it in terms of sound upbringing of one’s progeny. So does sage Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching” (The Way of Power) and “Bhagavad-Gita” (Song of God) of the Hindu faith. “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he would not depart from it,” according to the sage-king who wrote the Book of Proverbs.
The greater portion of a 54-million strong electorate is apparently rooting for a leader bereft of statesmanlike conduct and respect for women. Such can only point up a woeful portent that a greater wrong has impoverished the minds and clouded the better judgment of the Filipino people. Character, values, ethics, maybe good manners and right conduct, and everything pertinent to building a better family life, better communities, and a better nation must have been irretrievably lost or simply gone to tatters in the basic political unit of the Philippine society—in the family.