• When govt adheres to facts, there is sanity in the war on drugs

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    YEN MAKABENTA

    YEN MAKABENTA

    First Word
    “My mouth is not the problem,” President Duterte declared in a speech before policemen at Camp Vicente Alagar in Cagayan de Oro last Thursday night (September 22).

    But his mouth is a source of much confusion about the war on drugs.

    The following day, on Friday, September 23, in addressing police officers and personnel of the Region 12 police office in Tambler, General Santos City, DU30 also declared that the number of drug addicts in the country will soar from 3.7 million to four million by the end of the month, bringing the Philippines at par with Indonesia. (3.7 million is unreal in the light of official statistics; 4 million is surreal.)

    The following day, Saturday, September 24, the Philippine National Police issued an update on the war on drugs, that sought to show that the war is progressing fairly well.

    PNP report on drug war
    The PNP reported the following:
    1. A total of 1,216 drug suspects have been killed from July 1 to September 24.

    During the same period, 19,935 anti-drugs operations were conducted under “Oplan Double Barrel,” resulting in the arrest of 18,873 suspects. Under Oplan Double Barrel, the PNP targets both “big-time” and “small-time” drug dealers.

    2. Over 1.2 million houses nationwide have been visited by the police in its “Oplan Tokhang” operation against illegal drugs. Under Oplan Tokhang, the police visit the houses of suspected drug personalities and urge them to stop dealing in drugs.

    In the 1,217,546 house visits, there have been 721,067 surrenderers.

    This figure comprises 53,499 suspected drug pushers and 667,568 drug users.

    3. A total of 18,814 operations have also been conducted that resulted in the deaths of 1,167 drug suspects and the arrest of 18,064 others.

    4. The PNP is investigating 1,651 cases of deaths, including those found on the street with cardboard signs stating that the person was a pusher or user.

    Of the 1,960 incidents that happened since July 1, a total of 309 cases have been filed, 196 of which were considered solved as the suspect has been arrested while the suspects are still at large in 113 other cases.

    5. The PNP seeks to have the estimated 1.8 million drug suspects in the country surrender to authorities during the first six months of the Duterte administration.

    Significantly, the PNP is operating with the estimate of 1.8 million drug users that the Dangerous Drugs Board ( DDB) has officially provided. It has not adopted the 3.7 million estimate supplied by President Duterte in his announcement of the anti-drug campaign. It did not comment on the President’s projection that the number will reach 4 million by the end of the month.

    Summarizing the numbers in the PNP update, there has been 2,883 casualties in the drug war: 1,216 killed in police operations, and 1,651 killed in incidents that have been placed under police investigation.

    This figure approximates the 3,000 deaths that have been reported by local and foreign media.

    I welcome the PNP report because it brings perspective to the drug war, and lifts it from the contrasting narratives of widespread human rights abuses and summary killings, and of the country becoming “a narco-state.”

    Human rights abuses need proof
    The charge of human rights abuses, or state-sponsored killings, must be made or proved on a case-by-case basis, not in a summary manner.

    Human Rights Watch and the UN cannot make that case based on scattered statemens of President Duterte. In fact, as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) has documented, the President has not issued an executive order covering the drug war.

    Sen, Paniflo Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order, contends that there is no proof of state-sponsored killings in the drug war.

    But he concedes that there is need for the Senate inquiry to continue. “Killings are really happening and we really have to find out if they were/are extrajudicial or not,” he said.

    DU30’s invitation to the UN and European Commission to probe the drug war, if accepted, will help in this regard.

    Human-rightism and international law
    The French gave the world its first tablet on human rights with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen by France’s National Constituent Assembly in August 1789. The Declaration inspired in large part the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Today, it is also the French who are leading the way in criticizing the claims of the human rights movement.

    As an assist to our government in making its case before the international community, I call attention to a celebrated lecture by French international law professor Alain Pellet, that was delivered on July 18, 2000.

    He entitled his lecture, “Human-rightism and international law” (the lecture can be accessed online, just google the title).

    Pellet is partly credited with coining the term “Human-rightism” to denote the human rights movement in general.

    He opened his lecture in this manner: “What is this “human rightism” which has already achieved some measure of notoriety?…

    “To my mind, the term is a relatively neutral one; it was simply intended to characterize the state of mind of human rights activists, for whom I have the greatest admiration, while sounding a note of caution against the confusion of categories: law, on the one hand, human rights ideology, on the other….

    “While 1 believe that international protection of human rights is a fine cause and, for our present purposes, an essential ingredient of contemporary international law, I consider at the same time that human rights activism has no place in international law scholarship…

    “Human rights lawyers are notoriously wishful thinkers.”

    He then shifts to the subject of state sovereignty and human rights.

    “We should be under no delusion…

    The basic responsibility for the enforcement of human rights lies primarily with State action since the organs of State are responsible for the day-to-day application of human rights norms, even when such norms are defined internationally. In this area as in virtually all others, the State has the last word.

    Responding to one professor who expressed irritation with the fact that “State sovereignty aspires to assert itself against the sovereignty of the law,” Pellet declared: “Sovereignty is a fact of life and one has no choice, at least as a jurist, but to grin and bear it. Indeed one may perhaps go a step further and argue that sovereignty and law, far from being incompatible, are an inseparable pair. Sovereignty represents power made subject to law and as such constitutes both the basis and the outer limit of the authority of the State.”

    Facts are better than expletives
    It was reckless and unnecessary for President Duterte to challenge UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the officials of the European Commission to a debate on the drug war and human rights.

    It was enough for him to open the drug campaign to international scrutiny.

    Expletives will get you nowhere in a debate.

    Facts are better weapons to bring to the fray.

    yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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    8 Comments

    1. The Rome Statute defines murder or persecution that is knowingly “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population” as a crime against humanity. The wide-scale extrajudicial killings carried out under Duterte’s orders meet that definition. Duterte and many of his entourage will soon stand trial in the International Court of The Hague for the unlawful murder of many thousands of civilians.

      Dear people of the Philippines:

      An elected government should not declare war and militarize against its own people. Historically, the use of deadly force to address/prohibit peaceful, consensual transactions between adults, such as gambling, prostitution, drug use/sales, has only ever produced negative results. Such a violent crusade against civilians invariably evolves into a full-blown civil war.

      It is now obvious (at least to the rest of humanity) that you have foolishly elected a psychotic despot for president. This means that you no longer have due process, constitutionally protected rights or fair trials in a public forum. Suspicion or rumor is now all that’s required to terminate the life of any citizen.

      Nowhere on this planet has any nation ever had success with the policy of drug prohibition. Many of your villages, towns and cities will be turned into killing fields. Hundreds of thousands of you may now die. Your most precious institutions and possessions will be destroyed—but the drugs, the corruption and the violence will still be there and the world will finally realize how dangerous and utterly destructive prohibition really is.

      You are actually in the process of destroying your own society and nothing can change your fate. Every one of you is now vulnerable to deadly attack; world-wide drug prohibition has finally reached its inevitable conclusion.

      Thank you for helping to teach the world this powerful lesson with the blood of your own families!

    2. As long as Duterte has his adoring millions who will shout ‘Hosanna’ at anything he says, no matter how outrageous, and shout down anyone who has the temerity to think otherwise, then he will continue to play to the crowd, and credibility be hanged. But once those millions start to say: “Wait a minute, something’s not right here”, then maybe – just maybe – he will take a step back and be more realistic. I only hope it will not be too late by then.

    3. Mr. Duterte’s foul, unfiltered & dirty mouth is his way of defending himself from criticism. He defends himself by criticizing others especially critics. More often than not, he hears but does not listen. His character & behavior are the sum total of his MISPLACED & DISTORTED values acquired since his childhood days from his parents, in-laws, relatives, friends, religion, school, organizations & other influential environmental factors. Masyado bilig siya sa kanyang sarili in a TWISTED WAY. Walang breeding, walang finesse, walang diplomasya, walang modo – you name it, he has almost the BAD HABITS you can imagine. At 71++y/o, no amount of metamorphosis will change him. He is what he is.

    4. This is what I don’t understand about the human rights EJKs claims, if there really was a Davao death squad most of the dead bodies when Du30 was mayor would always be displayed in public with placards around their neck as a warning, as is the signature modus of vigilante killings all around the world.

      That is why Mr. Matobato’s testimony on the DDS is so unbelievable, allegedly they disposed of the bodies of executed criminals in secret location, or fed to crocodiles as he dramatically said, instead of dumping them to be viewed in public as a warning to other criminals.

      Du30 is already the President and has the full resources of Gov’t so why would he resort to EJKs. Why only now are the bodies wrapped in packing tape with placards turning up. It reasons that these are narco-yellow killings intended to smear the drug war, and create an international human rights issue that will oust Du30.

    5. This article still fails despite its length to state who is entitled to have human rights. If one is trying his damnest best to destroy society, is he not automatically forfeiting his human rights? Isn’t the state’s right/duty to protect society superior to the human rights of crimInals ? Shouldn’t there be a distinction between criminals and political dissenters? Why is it more tolerable for an American drone to attack a wedding party 10.000 miles away from America on the suspicion that there are terrorists in attendance there than for us to kill a suspected drug dealer doing business right inside our neighborhood ? The deification of human rights like a religion is only an abstract idea, while the scourge of drugs is for real. Too much attachment to an abstract idea can distort one’s sense of reality, don’t you think? Remember the First Commandment: Do not worship other gods before me. Why does the American-led Western Christendom insist that we also should worship human rights, in addition to the other numerous western shibboleths? Who are they really out to help, the Filipino people or the dope dealers?

      • The statement is to adhere to human rights and not worship human rights . Also, we have to help ourselves and not defend on the US to help us because it is not US responsibility but we. Pilipinos respnsibity to help our country.

    6. Yes you are totally right. It was reckless and unnecessary for Stupid Duterte to challenge world leaders to a debate. Sa sobrang kayabangan ni Duterte at wala siya sa kalingkingan ng mga world leaders. Duterte’s IQ is so low compared to the world leaders. His bad breath (that’s why he keeps on chewing gum) is as bad his attitude, personality, IQ, and a lot of things. How can he lecture world leaders when Duterte can hardly express himself in English. It is not enough that Duterte is law graduate of San Beda. Duterte cannot debate with ordinary graduates from ordinary colleges because he can only say words that are “kuwentong barbero”. Nobody wants to debate him because nobody in his right mind goes down to the level of a stupid and evil person. And nobody in his right will contradict because his STUPID allies are just following all his orders for political reasons (Cayetano used to quote Biblical verses but is now siding with the devil) and convenience.
      Let us all pray together to save the Philippines from this EVIL president and his allies. May they be given the earliest WRATH of God.

      • I previously admire Cayetano but not anymore. I will not vote for him. The reason Duterte is not good and excel in school is because his level of knowledge and education is average and maybe failing. He lacks diplomacy and wisdom. He opens his mouth without thinking the consequences. His followers like Cayetano tries to defend him but the words cannot be defended unless we are deft and blind.