What’s tricky about the war on drugs that Pres. Rody Duterte has delivered as promised to the Filipino people is that each death can be either due to the usual nanlaban narrative or some other totally unrelated reason ranging from political vendetta to love-triangle marital infidelity, or from silencing of critics to failure to settle debts.
The war on drugs appears to now be an all-sweeping umbrella term for speedy justice and the general cleansing of Philippine society of scumbags. Duterte has legalized pulling the trigger by police officers in the line of duty on the basis of the slightest nebulous feeling of a threat to their lives or limbs/fingers. So if an arresting officer felt that the subject at hand looked like he had a gun from how his eyeballs turned, it’s over for the guy.
Traditional rules of engagement no longer apply. If your arm just twitches in the wrong direction during a Tokhang operation to make uniformed public servants have even the slightest thought you were pulling out a water gun (when in fact you were only about to scratch your nervous balls), you are dead meat.
So are Filipinos still in favor of this type of clean-up and speedy justice? Well, Duterte’s ever high approval ratings are all you need as a sign of validation.
What the UN-HRC can’t see is that Filipinos WANT this kind of war on drugs, and that there isn’t any real need to save Filipinos from it. The entire picture of the UN stepping in to investigate the killings is like a well-groomed horse trying to save a carabao from infectious diseases by attempting to pull it out of the mud hole it’s happily wallowing in.
Call it good intentions on the UN side, but the general Filipino public with their resounding “No Thanks” is simply too desensitized to these lowlife flies falling all around to even care about asking for external help. Filipinos have now embraced the fact that this war on drugs (like Eat Bulaga) is now a part of the Pinoy reality and is here to stay.
You will just hear of a neighbor getting 2 bullet shots to the chest by not-even-hooded assailants or the police; and all is just business as usual for everyone in the community. People will just dismiss it to must have happened for a valid reason. Besides nobody gets shot for nothing these days. Even journalists have grown tired of showing off these gruesome scenes as the more they highlight them, the more public shock and empathy wane the way too much of Andok’s special roasted chicken can end up unappealing if placed on the dinner table too often.
Even with the hordes of lawyers Philippine universities produce, there are just not enough to process all the criminal and legal cases filed in courts on a daily basis. So when another “shit happens” collateral damage tragedy occurs, don’t even bother to file the case in court.
There are bigger chances of getting settlement on a civil/barangay case demanding compensation from a neighbor for cutting down your guava tree than for these “killings under investigation” seeing the light of day in court, much more finding closure through the turtle-paced criminal justice process. Like a living adapting organic creature, Philippine society needs a Duterte to bring into the country’s immunity system a new mechanism to cope up with neck deep criminality and unwanted elements of society.
It may not be the ideal justice we want that abides by the general rule book of civilized humans, but it works and serves the purpose for now (likely even fitting pretty well into story line of the bigger Karmic Cinematic Universe). Let’s just hope that when all the cleaning up is done, those who did the necessary-evil dirty work will be content to use Nintendo or Xbox consoles to vent their itching trigger-happy urges.
Why the war on drugs works effectively is quite simple from a logical perspective. Involvement in drugs is just a symptom and not the disease itself. If you happen to be an addict, you are also most likely dysfunctional enough to be involved in criminal activity or too messed up to be a good parent or responsible student. Therefore narcotics is one of the best indicators of one’s lowlife “sub-human” status – thereby giving junkies top priority for elimination in Philippine society, which has more than enough warm bodies to take their place in EDSA’s already congested “virtual parking” lanes.
With the world population nearing 8 billion (in just a few decades), do you really think the demise of a lowly Pinoy alleged addict wearing a sando and tsinelas found lying on an dark iskinita will even matter anymore? As economic laws dictate, the greater the quantity on the open market the lower the selling price/value.
This brings us to the topic of how we can add more value per head in Filipino society. Raising up an army of young talented makers, code warriors, and robotics engineers might just do the trick. Coming soon at a foggy city near you…
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