Have you ever posted something critical of the administration? Were you attacked by dozens of online trolls calling you a drug addict or a yellowtard? Did you scratch your head when you got asked questions like “Why don’t you grieve for their victims instead?!!”Well then this list is for you. Here is a deconstruction of some of the most popular arguments/questions that have been used in this drug war so far
1.) It’s ok to kill drug users because they murder and rape: One problem with this argument is that unless you could prove that ALL drug users kill and rape, you’re saying that it’s ok to kill any member of a group because of the crime of some of its members. That’s like saying it’s ok to kill any Muslim because almost all terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims. Another mind altering substance, alcohol, is also responsible for a lot of crimes including murder, rape and a lot of car related deaths. In many countries, alcohol related deaths outnumber drug related deaths but I don’t see anyone carrying banners saying “death to all lasengos”. What we do is prosecute individuals for the specific crimes that they’ve committed while under the influence of alcohol.
You’ll find plenty of documentation proving that users of hard drugs like shabu or meth can be rehabilitated (Robert Downey Jr would be an example) and not all of them commit rape and murder. We don’t prosecute people for the crimes members of their group have committed or crimes that we think they are LIKELY to commit. If a certain person was killed by a drug addict then that particular addict should be charged with murder. Other addicts should be given punishment that’s proportional to the crimes that they have committed.
Furthermore are we saying that it’s ok to kill users of Hard drugs like shabu, or are we going to extend this to users of other drugs like cocaine, LSD, marijuana and ectasy. (even dealers of ecstasy have been targeted recently)? Because if you’d look at the numbers, you’d be hard-pressed to find a strong correlation between the use of recreational drugs and violence. Some of the brightest minds in history experimented with drugs. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Richard Feynman did LSD, Thomas Edison and Sigmund Freud did Cocaine and if I may quote Bob Marley, a strong proponent of the herb, “peace, love and hug all trees mawn” –Obviously a peace loving bloke, although I may be paraphrasing him on that
2.) Extrajudicial killings are justified because our crime rate has reached national crisis levels: This, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic example of fear mongering. Not so dissimilar from how Bush justified his war on Iraq or how Hitler justified the actions of his Nazi party. You make the populace think that there’s a grave and imminent threat and you can justify extraordinary measures to counter that supposed threat. Duterte’s chief legal adviser even said that the drug problem is now enough grounds to declare martial law. I’d like to think that we’re smart enough not to fall for that. I hope we are. The murder rate in the US is higher than in the Philippines. Rape cases are higher in the UK. In terms of drug use, we’re not even in the top 10 list. We are being led to believe that we have an extraordinary situation but data will show that we’re nothing special.
3.) Why do you grieve for the criminals who are getting killed by the police and vigilantes? Why not grieve for their victims instead? Does it really have to be mutually exclusive? Can’t you denounce both? In the first place, you CAN’T even really say that victims of extrajudicial killings are criminals yet. They’re only suspects and therefore innocent until their guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt in a criminal court. Innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Even if you were successful in arguing that murderers and rapists deserve death, it doesn’t justify the killing of suspects unless you could prove that they are indeed guilty of murder and rape. Also, violent crime perpetuated by individuals happens in every country. It’s a sad fact but it’s a given. Violent crime that is openly perpetuated/encouraged by the government against its own people is a lot worse and it happens in states like North Korea and certain African countries that civilization has left behind.
4.) Unless youre a drug addict, you have nothing to fear: You can tell that to Roman Manaois, Roana Tiamson, Julius Rabina, Jefferson Bunuan and the thousands of SUSPECTS who got reduced to a statistic without getting to the chance to prove their innocence. As recent events have shown, “Top gear justice” aka trial by the mob is quite unreliable. Just because a lot of people think that a person is guilty doesn’t mean that he is actually guilty.If we treat due process as something that can be skipped, anyone can be a drug addict or a pusher and anyone can be killed. The purpose of due process is to determine guilt through an objective evidence-based process, more or less. It can never be perfect but it will still be more reliable than a subjective process based on finger pointing and chismis mongering.
5.) The US has no right to criticize the Philippines because they kill blacks: This argument was not made by a teenage girl but by Mr Duterte himself after he was asked by an American journalist a question regarding extrajudicial killings. It’s like that argument with your girlfriend or boyfriend where you try to dig up every bad thing that you’ve done to each other in the past. It is true that there are plenty of cases of white officers killing unarmed black suspects. If Obama endorsed these killings like Duterte does, then we can say that these acts are state sponsored and we should condemn Obama. But Obama hasn’t praised any of these killings, has never endorsed them and has even condemned some of them. The most that you can claim is that there are a few bad seeds in the American police force (they exist in every country) and that they should be tried. A lot of these killer cops have been tried and convicted.
6 Human rights only protect drug coddlers and not their victims:– Contrary to popular Dutertian belief, human rights were not invented by yellowtards or by drug coddlers. These rights predated yellowtards actually. The Universal declaration of human rights were agreed upon and ratified by most of the world’s democratic countries including the Philippines back in 1948 so each individual person can have a chance to stand against even the might of the state. A lot of the rights that you enjoy now are inspired by this declaration. It’s not the job of human rights organizations to investigate every crime that happens in a country. That is the government’s job. Now when governments trample on the rights of individuals, such as the right to due process, that’s when they step in. When Duterte said that the UN had no right to criticize the country’s policy on extrajudicial killigs,he was a bit ill informed. Extrajudicial killings are crimes against humanity according to rules that we are a signatory to. Violators can be tried in the international criminal court.
7.) More people have died during the Arroyo and Aquino administrations: Aquino was in office for 6 years, Arroyo for 9. That’s 15yrs combined or 180months. Duterte has been in office for a little over 2 months. Even if you could argue that more people died in the previous 2 administrations’ 180months than Duterte’s 2 months, it’s kind of a self-defeating argument, isn’t it? 2400 have already died. More than 1000 are from police operations. You won’t find that death rate from state actors in any administration post martial law. If we were to take his campaign promise seriously, he’s still 97600 short of his goal.
8.) Drug addicts/pushers are not human and therefore not deserving of human rights: This is a very dangerous line of thought and shows how far this administration will go to mentally condition the populace into accepting things that most people would find morally objectionable. History is full of terrible examples of what happens when you dehumanize an entire group of people. Japanese internment camps during World War 2, the Jews under the Nazi etc. But again it boils down to due process. Even if you were right that drug users and pushers are not human and are in fact 3-headed demons, unless there’s due process, you wouldn’t know if the people you’re killing are indeed 3-headed demons or just victims of false chismis… or perhaps victims of cops trying to meet their quota.
9.) Hundreds of thousands of addicts have surrendered and only 3000 have been killed. This drug war is working: You can completely eradicate poverty in the Philippines by killing all the poor people …that is until small businesses start collapsing from lack of low-cost labor. If you kill all straight men, you will undoubtedly end all penetrative rape …until the entire human race goes extinct because it can’t reproduce anymore. You can achieve seemingly impossible things if you kill enough people. but extreme measures usually come with extreme side effects in the long run.
I think it’s safe to say that at least in this period of time, this drug war is working. Whether it’s a long term, sustainable solution is another question. But what cost? At the cost of our relationship with our allies? Our image in the world stage, the dignity of our legal institutions, our economy, the moral fabric of the Filipino people… the lives of innocents which we are now quick to dismiss as collateral damage? The drug problem isn’t the Philippines’ only problem. It’s also far from its biggest problem. We’re being conditioned to believe that a lot of more important things can be sacrificed in the name of this drug war.
10.) Extrajudicial killings are justified because due process in the Philippines is lengthy
Our legal process is indeed lengthy and therefore it should be improved not circumvented. Imagine if all the resources that go towards hunting down and killing drug suspects were aimed towards fixing the judicial system instead? We can look at our neighbors for ideas. For example in Japan, judges are given incentives for finishing cases early. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, they have some of the most quickly resolved cases in the world. If you argue that the judiciary is not necessary, you’re moving the conviction process further down the chain …or up the chain or anywhere else other than where it should be. If it came down to your sentencing and your life depended on it, would you rather be sentenced by a judge, a vigilante or a police officer?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are a lot of police officers who are honest and morally upright. But as someone who’s had regular encounters with kotong cops, I can personally attest that not all of them are angelic, incorruptible enforcers of justice. A lot of them can’t even handle our traffic situation without extorting a few hundred pesos from motorists for nonexistent violations. What makes anyone think that they are equipped with the right faculties to become judge and executioner?
11.) You have no proof that Duterte is associated with any of these extrajudicial killings: This is probably the most frustrating point to argue against because our dear president flip flops on so many things that he says. He once admitted that he was the Davao death squad only to deny it later. He says he’ll pull us out of the UN only to say later “joke only”. Doesn’t it bother anybody that he gets to spew verbal diarrhea locally and internationally and it’s on us to interpret if he’s serious or not? Here are a number of things he said that he hasn’t taken back yet:
1.) “I don’t care about human rights”
2.) “If you know any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful”
3.) “Drug addicts are not human beings”
4.) “Where will this lead us? Where do I get the billions (of pesos)? My budget is only this much… that’s why in the meantime you have them killed,”
5.)“When I become president, I’ll order the police and the military to find these people and kill them.”
6.) “The funeral parlors will be packed… I’ll supply the dead bodies,”
These are direct quotes from him and some have actual video footage. He also promised hefty rewards for vigilantism. (50k reward for every drug peddler killed if I’m not mistaken -Maybe that was also a joke but it seems like there are some who didn’t get the joke and took it seriously). If not admission of guilt, at the very least you can say that it is incitement to violence, no? But leaning a lot more towards guilt, I’d say. These statements alone should be worthy of condemnation. Not only do they show that our administration is morally abhorrent, it shows that the administration is inciting the population to do morally abhorrent acts. Coupled with the fact that the number of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in his 2-month term is unprecedented, I’d say there’s at least a positive correlation.
Modern history generally doesn’t favor tyrants who kill their own people, even if they claim that it’s for a better cause. Even if Marcos did a few good things for the country, it will not matter because of the thousands that he tortured and killed. He will never be remembered as a hero, a good president or even just a good man. I doubt if Duterte will reach his goal of 100,000 dead drug suspects before his term is over. But if he does, history will remember him as a tyrant who killed his own people en masse. …and we will be remembered as a generation of people who didn’t just let it happen but actually celebrated it. In our quest to rid our society of its monsters, we are becoming the monsters. What a time to be a Filipino.
Originally published on September 14, 2016
I published this entry on my blog a little over 6 months ago, back when the death toll from the president’s drug war was was just a little over 2000. Now, it’s at 8000 and still rising.
A lot of people don’t speak up because they’re afraid of the backlash from the hardcore. It seems like a lot of the administration’s most hardcore supporters believe that loyalty to one’s country involves absolute devotion to its leader, so much so that they do not criticize their president and they do not allow criticism of their president. Any news article or opinion piece that paints the president in a negative light is immediately branded as dilawan, biased or bayaran. Extreme idolatry tends to kill critical thinking and what we’re seeing right now is a level of idolatry that I don’t think anyone has ever seen in Philippine politics.
The rebuttals that i posted were based on basic logic and common sense so it’s pretty hard to fathom how people who are intelligent in other aspects of their lives could use them. Criticism is relatively muffled compared to the roaring applause but it’s there and I believe that it’s growing. I know that I’m not among a lonely few when I say that I’m frustrated, confused and saddened that a lot of Filipinos are dying violent deaths based on faulty logical arguments.