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Stop the killings now, order the genie back into the lamp

Enough is enough, and I find it sickening already to watch in every single TV news program (since June or even as early as May 11) corpses of alleged pushers and even drug addicts shot by police purportedly since they engaged them in a firefight — with the criminals’ choice of weapon, rusty .38s. We are fast becoming the killing capital of the world.

I certainly support President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. It has become a plague and a menace the past president, Benigno Aquino 3rd, and his arrogant, holier-than-thou justice secretary now senator Leila de Lima, allowed to flourish, and I don’t think it was just out of sheer incompetence. From where else could she obtain the campaign fund she used up in the election?

I can understand why Duterte, based on his experience in Davao, thought that an iron-hand policy toward drug pushers and addicts, and even extrajudicial killings, would overcome the menace.

It becomes a problem, though, when such a policy is implemented for the whole country. Here’s why:

Contrary to the overanalysis of ivory-tower academics ranting against Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, the killings are not due to what a UP assistant professor calls (why have UP academics been churning out preposterous ideas in the past years?) an “invisible army of death squads” that the President let loose upon the land.

The reality is that the killings have been mostly done by the police as a result of Duterte’s not too subtle statements that he won’t stand against their extrajudicial killings, or the killing of persons done by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.

Hell in the Quezon City jail. Which is better: just kill the suspects or send them to this hell?
Hell in the Quezon City jail. Which is better: just kill the suspects or send them to this hell?

Sad to say, it has been in the DNA, as it were, of our police force to undertake extrajudicial killings, and not because of some evil in their psyche. The notion of due process is something the police has not imbibed, and neither have most Filipinos. It was only in the post-Marcos era that human rights groups and the Commission on Human Rights have really been able to send the message to our men in uniform that they could pay a terrible price for committing extrajudicial killings. Even a mere charge, before evidence is presented, that a man in uniform has committed human rights abuses, or Leftist propaganda against him, as in the case of ex-general Jovito Palparan, could make one a social pariah.

Swift justice
The Communist Party, with its front and propaganda organizations, has been extremely successful in making the military and the police shirk from extrajudicial killings. They have done this less because of their deep belief in the value of human life — they have had their own brand of extrajudicial killings called revolutionary justice — and more as a tactic to keep our uniformed men from killing their captured cadres, most of whom have managed to walk free after posting bail, to rejoin the revolution.

For the police, especially in crime-infested areas, extrajudicial killings are merely swift dispensation of justice. So much so that in many precincts, a rookie policeman’s initiation involves his killing of an arrested, “known” tattooed criminal.

Many of them have grown tired of risking their lives arresting a notorious criminal, even a hardened drug-pusher, only to find out later that the suspect had gone free on bail, or had a political padrino apply pressure on his precinct officials to release the suspect. If our Sandiganbayan courts are still hearing cases filed in the 1990s — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has not won a single case yet — how many criminal cases, do you think, do lower courts decide upon?

There are even reasons, petty we might think but compelling to policemen, why he might want to just dispense justice by himself: the paper work that is involved in preparing the case to be filed against the criminal and the hearings he has to attend in crowded, hot courts – which are standard practice anywhere in the country. One very valid reason for the police is the fear that a criminal who has been arrested, if kept alive, would be able to get back at him or his family.

Protecting society
For idealistic policemen, extrajudicial killings, in fact, are an efficient way of protecting society. A hardened criminal could post bail and return to his neighborhood to continue terrorizing it. Extrajudicial killings are perhaps an even merciful option for the criminal whose only future on earth is a life of misery. Throwing a suspected criminal in jail would either just make him a hardened killer, or a slave of the gang bosses in prison.

I saw for myself the hell that is found inside the jails in this country when I was incarcerated in 1970, together with other high-school activists in the Marikina municipal jail. We had joined a striking union that picketed the Goya Chocolate factory in that municipality, and police arrested us for “trespassing.” We were horrified to find in that 100-square meter cell about a hundred detainees. It was difficult even to find a space where one could lie down, and the old piece of plywood we lay down on teemed with bugs. New inmates were routinely beaten, and ordered to dance like a woman to entertain the inmates’ gang leaders, and probably sodomized if the leaders felt like it. (They didn’t touch us though: we were students from Ateneo, and they still bowed to our class system.)

And that was a jail cell in the 1970s in Marikina, then still a sleepy, uncrowned municipality. The present situation of jails in most cities was, indeed, perfectly captured by the photos that had been published in many newspapers in the world, such as the UK’s Daily Mail.

What has happened since mid-May was that Duterte, in effect, told the police that he wouldn’t stand in their old way of dispensing justice.

The analogy would be the evil genie (“jinn”) in the lamp of the old Arabic tales, and this jinn of legend isn’t the nice guy depicted in Hollywood movies. He fools the person who releases him through the three “trick” wishes, and once freed, he roams the world to create chaos and death. Duterte has released the jinn of extrajudicial killings into this country, and it will wreak havoc on this land.

It’s an instance of how different running a city is from running a country. Duterte easily ordered the small, single jinn he had released in Davao City long ago back to his lamp. Then in the past month he released a thousand jinns in the police precincts all over the country. And now they are out of control.

He should eat humble pie and realize now he has to issue specific, categorical orders for the police to stop its extrajudicial killings. The killings have already sown fear in the hearts of drug pushers and even addicts, that going by one estimate, 500,000 have surrendered to the police. It’s time now for more surgical operations against the big drug lords.


This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Tom

    Our President’s heart is in the right place. Give him a break! He’s the only president with courage and conviction to confront the ugly messes his predessors only paid lip service about.
    Matapang siya at matapat.
    He needs the country’s support.
    What counts is the changed mindset of citizens and criminals alike – the President means business. And those in the wrong better watch out!

  2. samuel

    the number of known drug pushers being killed is still small compared to the 3 million addicts and users….. if there are 1 pusher to a thousand addicts that is 300,000+ pushers still at large.. It is not only the PNP who are doing the summary killings itself, some identified protectors the politicians and PNP high ranking officials themselves are cleaning up the small time pushers that will come into open as potential witness against them.

    we are wary of the killings of the drug pushers, how about the millions of victims that not only consume drugs but can do more damage like murders, rape,etc.

  3. David B

    Has anyone else noticed that there has not been a single well connected person summarily executed yet? Sadly they all seem to come from the lower classes. Why is this Mr Duterte?

    1. Jaime Dela Cruz

      Allow me to answer this for Mr. Duterte with an analogy. If you David has a house full of servants, I will not see you go out of your house and do errands. However, if I arrest or kill your servants, you will eventually have to do the errands yourself, then you and I will find ourselves in an encounter. Think pyramid sir. You have to destroy the base to topple the apex.

  4. Daniel B. Laurente

    Don’t stop the cleansing, stop the TV’s and other media from showing it to avoid everyone to become sick. some people don’t want a free crime country they want the resources of the government to spent in useless undertaking in fighting crime. Provide alternate solution is a better proposition than stopping it now.

  5. hik hik

    Mamili sino dapat gunawin ang mga drug lords/pushers o ang bayan??

  6. Migs Doromal

    My threshold is 10,000 deaths – equal if not less than the number of souls taken by typhoon Yolanda.

    I will support Duterte up to that mark.

  7. field

    my only wish is there be more druglords and politicians neutralized instead of the small-time pushers and drug users.

  8. victorts

    The knock against these extra-judicial killings is when innocent people become collateral damage. As long as the police do not overstep doing their jobs, Duterte appears to be winning his fight. The police supervisors should however, make sure that the killings are justifiable. Otherwise, the police become criminals themselves.

  9. vj

    have you research on the guy name jun pala? go back to 1970’s when he was still the voice of the left in davao, then you will hv an idea who were the killers were or not. Duterte wasn’t even in the scene that time.. then you can figure out what was done by the left at that time might also being done by the illicit drug cartel today.

    note though, there were 993 riding-in-tandem killings last may-june alone in 2014 on one city, qc – it even tops the count media is highlighting today. then afterwards, come mar’s oplan sibat that instead of making police do their jobs they doctored their books to look good.

    there are thousands upon thousands of drug pushers and addicts who surrendered, i don’t think there will be a government such as this that can command people to change. they want change. please if you have the time suggest ways how to help rehab these surrenderees.

    lastly, if you can help the gov’t stop people from getting involved in illegal drugs trade through your paper. help filipinos get rehab. scream daily about it.

    just sayin

    1. jr

      you are channeling Ira Panganiban’s erroneous use of erroneous data. there were no 993 killings in QC within 2 months. 993 was for index crimes.

  10. Butch

    Let us leave our President do his job as he thinks fit. We had six years with BSA and he did as he pleased, corrupting, plundering his way through his term with his cohorts. No amount of criticism by you Mr Ambassodor and others scribes made any headway. Now we have an honest fearless leader doing his best to give our citizens peace. Those drug users dealers holdapers the scourge of the earth have to be culled. They are better of gone, they are useless to our society of law abiding citizens. Please Mr Ambasador support him, give him chance, you are better than all those bleeding hearts, yellow corrupt turds especially DE LIMAW. She should be probed.

  11. Jay R

    Still much better compared to the daily killings of innocent victims (riding in tandem, rap, hold up) during the previous administration. Today news banner would show “suspected” pushers, users dead, criminals are thinking twice before they commit a crime. It is OK since almost all of them never denied involvement in drugs. I haven’t seen nor heard a single complainant or relative saying that it was a mistaken identity or the victim has nothing to do with drugs.

  12. vg

    You need to understand the strategy on the war against drugs. The drug lords are very powerful because they have lots of money. Getting all the drug users and pushers to turn themselves in is the first step in drying up the drug money flow. The drug lords are being faced with severely reduced income and in fact a negative income. They have to decide whether to spend the money they already have or to get out of the business. They are weakened and will be removed.

  13. Jose A. Oliveros

    ” (why have UP academics been churning out preposterous ideas in the past years?)”.
    One of them is Florin Hilbay who, as Solicitor General of PeNoy, advanced that proposition that there is such a concept as “natural-born citizen by statistics” in the citizenship case of Grace Poe-Llamanzares. A concept that was swallowed hook, line and sinker, by Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno and Justices Leonen and Jardeleza (among others) who were all former law professors at the UP College of Law.

    1. George

      ngork! tama na jose! iba naman

    2. renato irlanda

      Since shaming in the newest game in town, may i propose that a collection drive exclusively for UP Alumni be started and the proceeds of which be used to commission a national artist to make a statue of Florin Hilbay with the words “THE UP’S DUMBEST” eemblazoned across his chest and displayed at the UP College of Law lobby on Hilbays birthday only.

  14. Ely

    In ALL KINDS OF WAR (personal or global)some if not a lot of innocent people lost their lives !!!

    Just recently , a teenage girl was hit by a stray bullet when a certain Mr. Tanto fired several shots that killed a Cyclist .

    During the Second World War, both my parents and a couple of relatives died when the house of my grandparents (where we stayed hoping to be safe)was accidentally bomb by an American Pilot .

    I am not “totally” in favor of extra-judicial killing , but with our judicial system that is known to be infested with some crook Judges , Fiscals , Prosecutors in addition to “SO MANY LAWS”(where loopholes may be used by Lawyers IN FAVOR OF THE CROOKS) … the ‘rule of law’ , in my opinion , does not work at this time .

    Let us give Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte his chance to solve the ills of our Country in his own way , unless anyone among us could present a better way to solve the problems facing our beloved Philippines … if at the end he would be successful, would it not be wonderful ?

    The idea of Sen. Leila De Lima of probing Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte in “aid of legislation” is PREMATURE at this moment … what is ripe to be investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee was her role in the proliferation of the drug problem during her six-year term as Sec. of the Department of Justice .
    Why did she learn what was going on inside the New Bilibid Prison only several months before her term expires ?

    1. Farmer Boy

      I agree to every word written by Mr Ely.

  15. Esteban

    This picture will create fear into the hearts of people who intend become criminals.

  16. jun marcelino

    The over crowding of prisoners in all detention facilities throughout the country were just inherited by President Duterte from his predecessors especially from Pnoy who, in his six year term as president, did nothing to solve this problem.

    1. RexOcampo

      To be fair, did Ramos, Erap and GMA build jails during their terms? Let’s also hold the past House/Congress (who has the power of the purse) accountable for not appropriating any money in the budget for new jails during these previous administrations.

    2. ernie del rosario

      Comparative Scores of good things planned/done: DU 30 (in 1 month); Noy 00 (in 6 years). Yet the yellows want Noy or his clone back in power.

  17. Jerry Galapon

    I like the article excellent, specially the reasoning for “swift justice and protecting society” but, to say sickening and out of control..? 500,000 surrendered and only about 500 dead dealer, pusher, and user that’s about 0.001%. The PNP showed professionalism, restrain, and even requested these people to change.
    The killings not out of control like the article suggest it is a surgical operation. Like many common and law abiding citizen who can not afford to buy guns, pay a lawyer, or hire security guards the war on drugs, crime, and corruption should continue without pause.

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