WE suffered again the other day another inane call from Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, this time for President Rodrigo Duterte to stop what she claimed was the government’s failed anti-drug war.
Robredo’s public-address system this time was another gullible foreign correspondent (from Reuters), the only one who filed such a report. This correspondent has strangely not written a single positive article in the past two years on Duterte’s presidency. Perhaps realizing how imbecilic or simply politically motivated such statements from Robredo are, or tired of the Reuter’s reporter’s biased reportage, the report was not carried by any of the local newspapers, but only by the Yellow network ABS-CBN Broadcasting and its main rival, GMA 7.
Robredo claims that Duterte’s war against illegal drugs is a failure, refusing to believe police figures — which neither she nor anybody at all has debunked — that 176,021 drug personalities were arrested and 5,500 killed in the operations to arrest them since the President launched the campaign in July 2016. That’s a failure?
Robredo’s hardheadedness bordering on clinical insanity is demonstrated by her claim that 7,000 were victims of police extrajudicial killings (EJKs). That was the false figure she used over two years ago in her video message to the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs she asked to be played at its 60th meeting in 2017, a number which was contrived by the online site Rappler, which I had debunked totally two years back.
Robredo’s astonishing detachment from reality is demonstrated by her ignorance — pretended or not — that in 11 surveys since late 2016 by the Social Weather Stations — hardly a pro-Duterte pollster — the average level of support for the anti-drug war was 79 percent, and 82 percent in fact in the last June poll.
Robredo’s concern over Filipinos who lost their lives in the so-called “ extrajudicial killings,” which is the overarching propaganda against Duterte by the Yellows, Reds, the Church and bleeding-heart human rights “champions,” is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Even as they pretend to have the highest concern for human life, and therefore have been crying to high heavens, and to the world, that the “killings must stop,” they have done absolutely nothing for the EJKs to cease.
All they have done is to use the allegations of EJKs to portray Duterte as a bloodthirsty dictator who should be brought down, as most such dictators have been, and violently if necessary.
But what would a real concern for human lives snuffed out by the police involve? To start off on this topic, which I will discuss in detail on Monday, get the facts of alleged EJKs, document it, and use this documentation to file criminal cases against the police who undertook such murders.
For all the tens of millions of pesos, for instance, that the National Endowment for Democracy has given to such anti-Duterte outfits shouting against EJKs as Verafiles, Center for Media Freedom and Democracy, Rappler, MindaNews and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, have they investigated EJKs in detail, to determine from which police precinct the police killers were, who exactly were they, and then turned over such case for action to prosecutors? Except for the killing of the teenager Kian de los Santos in 2016 — which became a high-profile case because of its ruthlessness — I haven’t heard of any such investigations by such groups.
And who represented Kian’s parents to pursue the prosecution of the police culprits? Lawyers of the Public Attorney’s Office, an overworked, understaffed government office.
Ateneo, University of the Philippines and La Salle have been the biggest propagandists on the alleged numerous EKJs under the Duterte administration. They have law schools with probably thousands of lawyers, organized into very active alumni associations, each with their philanthropic projects. Have these universities called on these corps of lawyers to help in the prosecution of EJK perpetrators, and required their law students to gather evidence for such crimes? No.
Instead, what Ateneo and La Salle recently did was provide students as researchers for a project called The Drug Archive funded by the New York-based Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism that listed each alleged EJK, based on newspaper and police blotters. It was clearly a pathetic attempt by the head of that center, Sheila Coronel, to prove what she wrote two years ago in a journalism journal that the drug-related EJKs totaled 9,000.
And how many did that research project found were killings in the anti-drug war? Some 5,000, with only 2,750 or 55 percent by the police, and 1,290 by unknown killers, who may either be vigilantes or drug lords’ assassins of drug lords making sure they aren’t fingered by their pushers. The project simply confirmed the police figures.
Since Robredo became vice president in July 2016, Robredo’s office has been given taxpayers’ money totaling P2 billion. Has she used even a miniscule one percent of that huge fund — P20 million — to investigate allegations of EJKs over which she claims to be so outraged over, and with the prestige of her office, that fund could have been seed money to get a consortium of concerned lawyers and their groups to investigate EJKs and prosecute the culprits?
No. All she has done is to blah-blah against Duterte and his anti-drug war, the first ever such intense campaign against illegal drugs and drug lords in this country, at a time when powerful drug-based syndicates even controlled police and government apparatuses as happened in Columbia and Mexico.
One of the elements that mark the success of a black propaganda campaign is that we are forced to use the terms the liars have deployed.
The term “extrajudicial killing” is such a word, which automatically carries with it the assumption that these are being undertaken as a policy of a state, ordered by a particular leader. It is a recently-coined term that US human rights organizations have used only in the past two decades. Before that, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International referred to such killings by state agents simply as “arbitrary killings,” police brutality” or, as a popular term in Latin America has it, “disappearances.”
The truth of the matter is that EJKs — using the term’s precise meaning of killings of helpless civilians as a policy of the state — has never occurred in the Philippines, except during the bloody pogroms against the Chinese undertaken by the Spanish colonizers in the colonial era. Even during Martial Law, the killings were in reality cases of military and police brutality, or illegal violence against civilians by uniformed rogue elements.
Such killings happened not as a result of men in uniform implementing a state policy. Rather, one main factor is that in any police force in any place in the world, which has its share of murderous psychopaths attracted to join an organization which gives them legal possession of a firearm. Another factor is that soldiers and the police actually become so afraid in actual firefights as to lose their humanity that they can think only of killing somebody who has the potential to kill them.
In our case, I have heard of several cases in which the police decide to kill drug suspects because, as they put it, “Babalikan lang kami. Paano naman ang pamilya namin.” Drug dealers of course are protected by drug lords, who bail them out as soon as they are jailed, and who extract their revenge not on the entire police force, but on the individuals who arrested them.
Such police brutality happens in all police forces even to this day, as evidenced in reports in US, the richest country in the world, that white policemen have beaten, tortured and even killed with their service firearms young blacks, even women. Data in fact show that US police kill an average of 2,000 civilians every year, and you’d be gullible to think all of them are through firefights.
Ruthless EJK campaigns of course have happened many times in the world, in the post-war era the pogrom undertaken by the Suharto government in the 1960s that killed over 1 million communists and their supposedly Chinese sympathizers, Argentina’s “Dirty War” against communists in the late 1970s, and Chile under General Pinochet to crush the opposition. There has been no such state-ordered and -sponsored bloody campaigns against a particular group in the Philippines.
We see clearly at this point the hypocrisy of Robredo, the Yellows and the Reds in their supposed outrage over the casualties of Duterte’s war against drugs. They are not concerned over Filipinos lives, nor even suspected criminals’ innate human rights.
They simply are on a propaganda campaign to claim that these cases of police brutality are actually EJKs, because of Duterte’s state policy, and that all means therefore, even with foreign intervention, should be employed to topple the leader of that government.
They haven’t lifted a finger to really stop what have been mistermed, intentionally for their black propaganda, EJKs.
On Monday I will discuss how police and military brutality can be fought, or at least mitigated.
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