Human rights and due process has been the word going around in the past few weeks due to the increasing and surfacing cases of extrajudicial killings that have been related to new administration’s campaign against illegal drugs. The said campaign has not been a pretty sight nor has it become an image you will love waking up to in the morning.
A few weeks in under the new president, Rodrigo Duterte’s term and the news has been filled with the same horrifying news about deaths day in and day out. And all these news have something in common that make seem that headlines are using templates: alleged drug pusher tries to fight back or grab the policemen’s guns were killed; alleged pusher found dead with a shot by unknown vigilantes; alleged pusher found dead and labeled with a cardboard with writings stating the dead man is indeed a pusher and it’s a warning for other pushers. By May 2016, the kill lists has reached an alarming figure of 650. It doesn’t need to become an attorney to realize what is happening to our dear Philippines.
Anyone who has been tracking the news may easily come to a conclusion that each and every incident is connected to the campaign to eradicate drug trade in the country. But proving these allegations can be really difficult as some of these incidents will still require in-depth investigations to be proven. Some of the bodies are even unclaimed and unidentified in funeral parlors. How the public is taking in the news has been different from person to person. The discussions in the social networking platforms have been intense from all directions. Some approve of the method and even consider these killings as justifiable cost we need to be able to win against drugs—a mentality in which not many approve and may be difficult to digest.
Senator De Lima has also expressed her opinion in her recent privilege speech to look for another way to address the drug trade in the country. Some continue to express their disappointment through protests and appeals to the Commission of Human Rights on how human rights have been put aside for the sake of the campaign. There have also been claims of cases of mistaken identity in which makes the whole scenario a lot harder to take in.
A few days ago, the Malacanang has finally released a list and named the officials who are allegedly involved in drug trade. The list is comprised of high-ranking officials in the executive, legislative, judicial, and even in the ranks of the policemen. This has sent the message that the current administration is on a warpath to weed out the drug trade in the country.
Three to six months was all the time the current president has mentioned that he needs to get rid of the country’s drug problem. 3 month in to his term, are we to expect the same news to appear on our screens and newspaper headlines in the morning? No one knows what would be the collateral damage of the campaign against drugs. Some may say that, to attain greater things, we should be willing to sacrifice. But with these high cases of killings, are we really wining this war against drugs?