in Davao: The early days. 2012 file photo.
the killings mounting and the global community’s alarm, Filipinos need
to realize that there is no quick-fix to the widespread problem of
drugs. Sure one can appear to accomplish a lot by trampling over the
rights of others to quickly meet their objectives. In essence that is
what Ferdinand Marcos did during Martial Law. His thinking was: why go
through a laborious process when it is much easier to eliminate or
neutralize your opponents—and get things done your way.
But thousands of years
of civilization has taught us that it is not the right way to do things.
Over millennia, mankind developed a proper way of doing things. So that
today, people and nations adhere to a general set of rules and procedures
that govern their actions be they the lowest of the low or the mightiest
of the mighty.
What is ironic is that
while some Filipinos are cheering on this new government’s
extra-judicial campaign to stop drugs, the country itself is also
getting a taste of its own medicine from China. What goes around, comes
around. A communist, totalitarian country, China has said it will not
abide by international norms as it refuses to acknowledge the United
Nations’ Arbitral Tribunal’s decision that recently invalidated its
9-Dash Line claim to most of the South China Sea.
Simply because it now
has the military might to intimidate its neighbors, China has illegally
annexed reefs and shoals that belong to the Philippines. Like the
present Philippine administration, just because it can do something,
does not mean it should. There is actually a wrong way and a right way—a
“civilized” way of doing things. In most cases, the wrong way is the
quick, expedient, and hap-hazard way of doing things. You simply
disregard the rights of the “other” side, be they suspected drug addicts
and pushers, or be they militarily weak countries like the Philippines.
In either case, based
on historical precedent the outcome is never ideal. For the current
administration, things could quickly spin out of control, creating
lawlessness and vigilante killings all over the Philippines. For China,
it could end up a pariah state shunned by law-abiding countries because
of it’s heavy-handed use of force against weaker neighbors.
So to this
administration, we must do things the right way. We can be steadfast and
relentless in our quest to stamp out illegal drugs and still do it the
For instance instead
of simply killing suspects, we can do what America has done in
Guantanamo and send suspects to an island prison where they can
eventually be charged and prosecuted, and where each and every accused
can have his or her day in court ... the rule of law is followed and
real and lasting results are attained.
And when the
Philippines shows the world community that it adheres to the rule of
law, other countries will likely back its sea Claims versus China. Published