I make no secret of my own preference for iron-fisted rule. In the Philippines, there is a lot of room to implement that within the framework of the law simply by consistently applying said law.
Take that quintessential Filipino icon, the jeepney. By itself the jeepney single-handedly epitomises the Philippines’ culture of criminality. The state applies the law to them with a limp dick. Do we want “iron-fisted” rule? It’s easy in this instance. Being “iron fisted” with jeepneys is a simple matter of arresting jeepney drivers who stop where they are not supposed to stop and swerve onto lanes without indicating their intent using their indicator lights.
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If they need to be rounded up by the hundreds, by all means, round them up. If the police find themselves undermanned for the task, call in the armed forces to assist. Resisting arrest attracts severe prison terms and steep fines. Sick that law on anyone who refuses to cooperate with this roundup. Impound all these erring jeepneys until such time that their drivers and operators could cough up the cash or serve their prison terms. Send their clunkers to the junkyard if they choose to forfeit.
See what I mean?
All of that is being “iron fisted”. But it is all within the framework of the law. There is no need for extrajudicial killings to rule with an iron fist.
But then ask Filipinos the simple question: Are they willing to see even this simple legal case of being “iron fisted” implemented consistently and over a sustained period? I don’t think so. Kawawa naman itong mga jeepney driver. They are simply “making a living”.
And so, yet again, out the door goes that will to be “iron-fisted”. And kabaklaan continues its decades-long reign in Philippine society.
We are quick to raise our fists to champion “getting tough” on drug lords and terrorists. Yet we cannot even enforce simple city ordinances against idiot jeepney drivers and trespassing squatters in our own backyards.
The Philippines has such a bakla approach to law enforcement and policing that aspiring to being “iron fisted” in establishing law and order starts from a pathetically low bar. These people who act like baying dogs in their support of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte do not know what they are howling about. A people who cannot respect much less enforce simple rules in their everyday goings-about quite simply cannot presume to call upon their leaders to do the same. This is a democracy, after all. And in a democracy where leaders are chosen by popular vote, the character of leadership reflects the character of the society as a whole.
There is no need to resort to vigilantism. All that is needed is to understand the law and apply it consistently. There is lots of room to improve within the legal framework. Vigilantism is a product of lazy and deranged minds. Philippine politics is already deranged enough as it is. We have no-results motormouth politicians, resident aliens, thugs, has-been celebrities, and mama’s boys running for office in the coming elections. Again. It’s time Filipinos think and put their feelings under control. People who think succeed. People who are all feelings fail.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.