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Filipinos Need to Understand That Two Wrongs Do Not Make a Right

A killing in Davao: The early days. 2012 file photo.

ith 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 proper way.

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 9/17/2016

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