• The drug war killings are wrong – but . . .

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    If drugs indeed kill, will killing the suspects remove the menace? Are we providing our children a safe haven, by teaching them by our tolerance of murders, that killing suspected criminals without fair hearing is a morally acceptable way to eradicate crime?     
    — Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Socrates Villegas

    Mr. President, drugs destroy lives, but we need not destroy lives to destroy drugs. … The war on drugs can be waged without sacrificing the sacredness of life, obedience to the rule of law and adherence to human rights. — Senator and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima

    Before discussing the headline topic, allow this writer to endorse the inspiring film “Ignacio de Loyola,” dramatizing the intense life of the 16th Century soldier years before he founded the Society of Jesus, the largest order of consecrated men in the world, who include Pope Francis.

    St. Ignatius’ transformation from a vainglorious soldier of the Spanish monarch to a spiritual warrior of the King of Heaven should be seen by anyone seeking meaning in life and goodness in our world.

    Which happens to be what the above-quoted personages, one each from the Church and the State, are ultimately expounding on: life and goodness.

    Both Archbishop Socrates Villegas and Senator Leila de Lima rightly assert that establishing goodness cannot be done by inhumanly decimating lives.

    This writer agrees. In our July 10 column, weeks before the current flood of criticism, our article “Thou shalt not kill — not even drug lords” labeled as murder most of the 100-odd killings then, and urged:

    “We must join Catholic bishops and other moral figures, as well as political and citizens’ bodies in denouncing the rubouts and demanding inquiries and safeguards. We must join independent, upright media in probing and exposing suspect assassinations.”

    Listen to the victims
    On the other hand, with the anti-killing chorus rising to a crescendo, the debate over Duterte’s methods must now include one group of voices hardly heard so far: crime and drug victims — the families and communities scarred by the tripling of crime under then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    Crime tripled? You bet. Incidents leapt from 324,083 in 2010 to more than 1 million every year since 2013 (see “The SONA you didn’t hear” < http://www.manilatimes.net/the-sona-you-didnt-hear/275980/ >).

    That’s more than 3 million crimes in the last three years. Assuming 1.5 victims per crime on average, that’s around 5 million victims. Add at least 1 million drug addicts. Plus three close family and three close friends for every victim or addict, totaling 36 million.

    Thus, 42 million Filipinos — two out of five — want to end lawlessness by any means, the same share of voters Duterte got. But pro-Aquino media have concealed the crime explosion, leading many today to wonder why Duterte has to take extreme measures.

    Clearly, both crime victims and numbers must be heard and headlined, for the nation and its moralizing figures to properly assess the bloody war against lawnessness.

    The despicable choice we face
    If we restrain the campaign, as many urge, there is a nasty tradeoff. There would be more murders, rapes, thefts, robberies, kidnappings, carnappings, drug trafficking and other crimes.

    Imagine if the killings never happened. Instead of surrendering, 600,000 offenders would still be selling and shooting drugs, plus funding and spurring murderers, rapists, robbers, kidnappers, carnappers, snatchers, pickpockets and the like.

    How much more lawlessness could there be?
    If the 50 percent leap in first-semester crime last year continued till December, then 1.6 million incidents were recorded in 2015. (The Philippine Statistics Authority’s yearbook should have come out around the May elections. Go figure why it didn’t.)

    If Duterte’s campaign can cut lawlessness by just one-fifth, that’s 300,000 crimes prevented. But if his war stops, along with his naming and shaming of corrupt officials and police, more hoods stay on the streets and in office.

    Then the 10,000-plus annual murder rate would not drop by 2,000, but far less — or even continue its Aquino-era surge. The 12,000 rapes a year would not fall by 2,400, and the quarter-million in physical injury cases decline by 50,000. Robberies would not be much below its 60,000 annual hold-ups, and theft would stay close to 170,000 a year.

    Sadly, due to our broken criminal justice system, hobbled by incompetence, corruption, and lack of resources, due process and the rule of law often allow the lawless to rule.

    Or as Duterte fumed after Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno demanded arrest warrants: “You must be joking. … You’re asking for warrants of arrest for 600,000 Filipinos. In the meantime … we let them stay put to resume their criminal activity?”

    The Punisher’s extreme measures or unbridled lawlessness and eventual narco-statehood — that’s the ugly choice we face until we take back our law enforcement and judicial system from the clutches of the criminal and corrupt.

    What should we do?
    Many disagree. Sen. de Lima contends: “The war on drugs can be waged without sacrificing the sacredness of life, obedience to the rule of law and adherence to human rights.” But it’s hard to believe a former Justice Secretary under whose watch crime and drugs went through the roof.

    More to the point, those who insist there’s a better way should spell it out — along with what they themselves would do to fight crime and drugs.

    Will the Church devote more sermons to denouncing lawlessness? Will it use parish facilities for drug rehab?

    Will Congress fund more programs to interdict drugs and reform criminals? Will it increase penalties against officials, police and judges in cahoots with crooks?

    Will parents and educators work together more intensively to address problems leading youth to drugs and crime?

    It is a painful and winding road for the Filipino nation from today’s killing fields to the land of the living, where all are protected, the law-abiding as well as the lawless.

    Just like St. Ignatius’ journey from killing for glory to finding joy in saving souls.

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    19 Comments

    1. matinong pinoy on

      Death Penalty is the only realistic deterrent for drug manufacturers, smugglers, protectors, and plunderers. Drug addicts and small time street pushers are victims because realistically, street pushers are doing this to support their addictions and netting a very small profit, if there are any. However, from distributors on up, they should be put to death as punishment and retribution.

    2. Maximo Tumbali on

      The drug menace in our country has spread its tentacles victimizing a great number of our population nationwide. Drug users, dealers, protectors,manufacturers,and drug lords are not anymore afraid of the law as they do their business. This brutal fact has shocked and alarmed our president.So what must he Do? He cannot depend on our criminal justice system as it has proven to be inefficient and corrupt. Other institutions tasked to stem criminality are no different. Ergo, Digong is left with no other choice. He has to approach the drug problem the unorthodox way,this means allowing extra judicial killings to take the course. And they have proved effective and fast in eliminating personalities involved in illegal drugs. Many,however,have questioned the rate of f killings and how they are done.The president has to weigh things now.In his judgment extra-judicial killings must continue to pursue his all out war against the drug problem,which means killing drug suspects if they resist or refuse to surrender to the police operatives. Surprisingly, majority of the people go for it as they have seen for themselves it’s positive effect in reducing the incidence of crime, particularly the drug problem. The moral and legal implications of such unorthodox method taken by the president, however,take the back seat as they are seen by many to be counter productive in the president’s effort to bring real change to our country. Sometimes we need to sacrifice some things to arrive at the greater good for the great majority. We cannot allow the many who are good to be decimated by the few who are terribly bad.

    3. It is now aceptable to Filipinos to kill,withour fair trial, as long as their Lord Digong ,said so..It is acceptable also now in the eyes of new generation to steal billion ofdollar, declare martial, to become a HERO. It is acceptable now to say bad words,make another woman, be like a “BISAYANG BASTOS’, since these are what they see now to mayor digong..

    4. Dear people of the Philippines:

      Nowhere on this planet has any nation ever had success with the policy of drug prohibition. Many thousands of you will die. Many of your villages, towns and cities will be turned into killing fields. The drugs will still be there; the corruption will still be there. But this time it will be far worse than any of you could ever have imagined and the world will finally realize how dangerous and utterly pointless prohibition really is.

      You are endangering your own families. This will not end until tens of thousands of you are dead. Your most precious institutions and possessions will be destroyed. Nothing can change your fate; you are about to destroy your own society.

      Thank you for teaching us this hard but necessary lesson!

    5. Jerome Suarez on

      The surest way to eradicate or reduce much the illegal drugs problem is A drug lord or a drug trafficker who was caught in very large quantity of drugs should be shown live being executed so that It will instill fear and reminder that if you follow their footsteps, you will suffer the same fate like them.

    6. Poverty is the cause of it all. Did the Catholic Church had helped the government to at least reduce poverty? As a means to reduce poverty is education. The Catholic Church has a number of Catholic Schools, Ateneo, UST, De La Salle, Letran, St. Paul College, Colegio de Santa Isabel, San BEda, San Sebastian College and the like which only moneyed students are enrolled. Can this schools helped to educate the poor? If a hospital has a ward, to those who cannot afford to pay the hospital bills, maybe the this schools can offer a “ward section” at least one section from K to 12, to help the poor gain education and keep them away from drugs and criminality.

    7. LIMITED MARTIAL LAW IS NEEDED?
      For us, in order to jail all Drug syndicates and former corrupter in a span of short period with less bloodshed, why not allow our President to declare Martial Law on a limited period, say 3 to 6 months only?

      This is for “Public safety” because we learned that all listed names connected in this drug syndicates are forming themselves to overthrow the current government of President Duterte. And there is also supports from some local official mostly the former and some religious leaders to stand behind this plan.

    8. those statements could have been believable if not coming from those two, d5 and villegas….

      this saying goes – “hindi lahat ng tamang pagkain ay matamis kung minsa’y mapait” yup, mapait!

      parang cancer yan. pagtinanggal sa katawan ay hihiwain ka, at hindi picnic ito. pero kailangan para sa kagalingan mo…

      tuloy lang prez digong!

    9. Drug war killing is justified to restore our nation sinking moral. The Filipino Nations as whole accept Duterte’s program during election time,now he is in power must do it…a War on drugs my involve killings only those who resist but those who surrender no problem he live captured…Do want to elimate crimes on Drugs……War on drugs with killings is unavoidable..

    10. Yes let’s annihilate these low life creatures, they chose to be what they are. Why should we have any simpapthy for then??? These animals have no fear for the law, why should honest citizens cower in fear? Duterte is right wipe them out and let’s all be safe and live in peace. Shut up you bleeding hearts. De Limaw can talk all she likes because she is a coodler who benefits from them somehow. Why should we listen to you idiots, useless people like Priest pricks, Nuns cunts and yellow turds.

    11. Tirso Villanueva on

      If drugs indeed kill, will killing the suspects remove the menace? Are we providing our children a safe haven, by teaching them by our tolerance of murders, that killing suspected criminals without fair hearing is a morally acceptable way to eradicate crime?

    12. Surely reform of the legal system and enforcement are urgently required. As in many countries, crafty litigators can be an obstacle to justice, and streamlining the judicial system is overdue. And law enforcement officials must be empowered to prosecute suspects without being hamstrung at every turn, but also without taking the law into their own hands. Without due process, the fabric of society is seriously compromised. Can this President be persuaded to look for solutions rather than sanction vigilante justice?

    13. Think Mr Saludo covered well the facts on the ground. A slow poor n corrupt justice system will not be effective against drugs and lawlessness. They will just grow in number and lawlessness worsen.

      • THE Snail pace of the justice system is the root of the increase in criminality in this country. criminals get bail and then commit another crime. those in jail waiting for promulgation of sentence some of the time has served the jail term before the sentence is handed down. some are proven not guilty but suffered jail time unjustly. serena should put her efforts in improving the justice system instead of meddling with du30. just saying

    14. …”It is a painful and winding road for the Filipino nation from today’s killing fields to the land of the living, where all are protected, the law-abiding as well as the lawless.”…

      Most of us know the meaning of this statement. Although there are variances on why, how, and what… of dealing the menace. Understandable.

      However, since law-abiding citizens in our country wants protection, it is so logical to start somewhere. Understandable.

      In the history of the world there were many ways in dealing these strata of crimes and lawlessness; almost all with their own peculiarities…e.g. causes, duration by either continuity or interruption by what ever reasons and methods used. The only similarities are they were able to solved it eventually. Understandable.

      Now it is our ripe time. We have a leader who promised, got elected, and behold does exactly as he has promised. Since we all have different levels of denial, acceptance, mourning, mental fortitude, resiliency, and familiarity of violent deaths in our midst, it is understandable why there is near hysteria. Claro’.

      Folks, just like those responsible people before us, we’ve got to deal with it in our own way. Most importantly, help our leader.

    15. Senator De Lima has a very big credibility problem. She is responsible for the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prison. The bishops and the Catholic church cannot discipline their followers. The big question is what are we going to do about it ? If we do not stop it, families will be destroyed not only the addicts. Around 600,000 addicts are all over, that means 600,000 families are affected. If we let Duterte do what is needed, we might solve the problem, Sanctity of life or quality of life , you choose.With drug addicts in our family, we will have very low quality of life.

    16. Is it acceptable to kill people including some innocents to solve the drug menace in the country? Should we accept that the penalty for being a drug user or pusher is death, even if there is no law that mandates it?

      Should we accept the “name and shame” method and assume people guilty until they prove they are innocent? If this is the case, should we also assume as true the allegation by Senator Trillanes that Duterte has more than PHP 200 million in his BDO accounts until he proves otherwise?