In radical transformation- many times “symbols” are important to win over the populationÂ to -if not join- then appreciate the process of change. Today, the main target of the new president Digong Duterte is his pet peeve- the drug industry.
The fact that 70% of the crimes committed in the country are Â drug-related should give us the shudders. The fact that in Bohol 1082 of the 1109 barangays (97%) have drug activities is more alarming the rise of HIVs.Â The Philippines as narco-politics- controlled is Â already true in certain specific communities. It is God-awful fearsome.
The long and the short of the drug menace can be summarized by recent statistics . In Bohol, there are 28,715 drug surrenderees province-wide (so far) Â of which 26, 947 are users and the rest of the 1,174 are drug-pushers and counting.
Nation-wide hundreds of thousands have surrendered that the president has asked the “rich elite” to help shore up the budget Â to put up the rehabilitation camps in all the regions since this has not been included the 2017 GAA (national budget) of the DBM of Ben Diokno.
In Bohol, so far 10 people have been killed by the police operatives and 10 have been nabbed after Operation “Tokhang”. An independent count of a broadcast station in Manila placed the number of drug-related killings nationwide Â to 700- 70% by police operatives the 30% by vigilantes.
Is the populace applauding?Â Well, 91% Â approval rating was given to the newly-minted president Â which should include his pet project on drugs.
The symbols, however, Â unwittingly used in this social change through drug pulverization have been represented by Â the police forces and the vigilantes.
Symbols as defined by another author -are “visual representations of an ideal that is not visible”.Â He said it is akin to a flag- a symbol that inspires people with love for country regardless of the defective state of the nation one’s country is in.
People applaud the police and even the vigilantes – because they represent a symbolic relief of an oppressed people Â already driven to the “romantic idea of justified violence” due to the existence of an entrenched system of injustice. For instance . drug lords and pushers skirting the bar of justice by clever legal maneuvers, bribery and intimidation for the past many years.
Sometimes, even if there is just Â a thin line between legitimate and summary executions, people turn a blind eye to it. They are no longer enthused so much to investigate the minutiae or the “facts” Â of the killings as they are with the toasting to a “symbol” of liberation from a long-standing oppression of unjust application of the law. Compartmentalized justice ,as they say,
To them, the killings, have placed back Â some Â return to order. Is this the ideal? Maybe not all the time.
But it Â is in the order of human nature. Policemen- enthused by the backing of a strong man president and an equally brave PNP chief “Bato” de la Rosa , reeling from Â the pressure to contribute to the anti-drug campaign and being attracted to the promise of “doubling of salary” -may unduly enjoin them to take shortcuts and end lives with reckless abandon. There may also be Â that fear that falling short from his superior’s expectations- one police can be summarily assigned to wage war vs the “armed and dangerous” Abu Sayyafs in the hinterlands of Jolo. As punishment.
(As an aside, “Bato” is dubbed by some quarters as “Kalahi ni Dagohoy” since his mother is reportedly from Antequera. Allusions to Dagohoy refer to his bravery for waging 100 years of war against colonialist Spain)
Then, what about the vigilantes? While often, they may provide the “quick solutions” to what the authorities may be figuratively handcuffed to run against- it leads to certain questions.
Being unauthorized by law, are they therefore not Â all “criminals” just Â the same- Â in taking the law into their own hands -and snuffing lives when even the legitimate death penalty for criminals has not been approved yet ? Who will investigate them?
Who can prevent a Â person with a criminal mind holding a Â personal grudge against another- from donning a bonnet , fire a pistol and scatter sachets of drugs on his fallen enemy’s prostate body? And place a placard “Durugista at pusher ako- Huwag Tularan”? What if the vigilantes are members of a rival drug gang executing their “rivals” to maintain their control of the turf?
How different can that be from a man who lost his case in court and feels aggrieved by an unjust judge- then takes a 45 caliber pistol , kills the judge in the dark and walks away. What of “crusaders” – incognito- who murder corrupt government officials or the family members of what they consider as abusive cops on the block? Are they not the same dogs of different collars?
Is this one other road to anarchy? Will the cure lead to another ailment which could be worse than the disease?
What is important? It is to go back to return Â to order. How?
It is important to chronicle publicly at Camp Aguinaldo for all the EDSA passers -by folks to see how many drug-related deaths have been recorded. Fine.
But it is more important for the authorities to give the public a summary background of the “compromised subject” as to his drug culpability and the like by the police. And do the same for suspects killed by invisible vigilante Â gunmen – in case the police has those information .
It is more important that if the slain “drug creatures” fired back and some firearm lies beside his corpse- that the police show ballistic tests that the weapons were indeed fired and a paraffin test on the hands of the Â fallen suspect to prove they Â indeed pulled the trigger.
This will make the drug campaign not only become more popular and populist here but also Â gain merits of salute from the international community. Regardless of what we say, we all still Â live in one world called the earth. We are not an isolated island.
Make no mistake about it. TheÂ ChronicleÂ has spent much paper ink and talent to advance our position that the drug menace must be licked. We have ran out of adjectives and adverbs to describe the despicable persons and the abominable behavior of drug lords,pushers, financiers and their assorted protectorsÂ Â in government , the military /police and the judiciary.
Yes, as passionately as the president, we likewise Â want to see the end of the drug scourge.
It is just that we must also remind ourselves- often enough- that our solutions do not sometimes Â lead to bigger problems than society can handle. That while we command the community to return to order- the order we get is Â not the silence of the dead corpses- too mute to tell the real Â truth behind Â their deaths.
As Â in dead men tell no tales. Then Â every man becomes fair game.
The government should address these grim possibilities.
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