Extra-judicial killing: A woman grieves for her loved one sprawled on
the pavement. All Photos from: Inquirer.com
hen we sincerely seek
to do good, when we speak the truth, when we try to prevent evil, when
we are kind to people, when we help them, when we seek justice, when we
seek a kinder gentler world, there are those who will still hate and
harm us, even those whom we are trying to help.
should continue to do all these good things. God’s command to us is to
love Him above everything else and to love our fellowmen as ourselves.
Our faithfulness to Him should be our main concern. This is what our
existence is all about.
Whether we will suffer
or not for what we truly believe, we leave in God’s hands. Whatever He
wills is for our ultimate good.
Can we believe
President Rodrigo Duterte is sincere when he says that he is killing
thousands of drug addicts and dealers because he only wants what is for
the common good? His position is that many of these drug addicts are
beyond help, that their minds are already impaired and that their
craving for drugs causes them to commit crimes.
His speeches almost
always contain this one theme: These drug addicts and dealers will
destroy the next generation of Filipinos. “I will not allow them to
destroy my country. I will kill them.” And indeed, his killers are
brutally, mercilessly murdering thousands of human beings.
With his “putang-inas,”
his native charm, his Visayan accent laced with a little bit of humor,
and the fear he has induced he gets a lot of applause in his speeches
when he presents his program of mass killings as an instrument of
national policy. He has persuaded and charmed many Filipinos to believe
that his position is correct.
Like the rest of the
world, Filipinos have seen enough families suffer because a member has
become a drug addict. Some have been victims of crimes or read of crimes
which may have been perpetuated by drug addicts. And, of course, which
country and which people do not want to get rid of deadly illicit drugs?
And so, even if the whole civilized world condemns him for violating
universal moral human rights, he has convinced many Filipinos of the
righteousness of his position. He continues to have wide popularity, but
this may evaporate like smoke when people realize that he has duped
tacitly or even openly approve of the slaughter of more than six
thousand people during his less than six months in office. Every day,
many people are being summarily killed. Forget human rights. Forget due
process. Forget rule of law. For many Catholics and other Christians,
forget God’s “Thou shalt not kill (murder)” commandment. Forget also His
commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.
“Anyway, the ones he
are killing are all drug addicts and dealers” is a common excuse when
Duterte’s mass murder policy is discussed in parties, coffee shops and
Is Duterte correct in
utilizing these extrajudicial killings as an instrument of national
policy? Will it create a better society, a better country?
Let’s look at the
truth and the reality of the bigger picture. Is Duterte telling the
truth or is he peddling a big brutal, deadly lie?
Let’s start with the
population of the Philippines. According to the latest United Nations
data, it’s a little bit over 103 million.
How many of these are
According to the
latest survey of the Dangerous Drugs Board, there are presently around
1.8 million drug addicts in the Philippines. That’s only 1.78 percent of
the population. This is a lower percentage than those in countries like
the U.S., Thailand, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Italy and so many other
In his speeches,
Duterte sometimes says there are 3 million and sometimes he says 4
million drug addicts in the Philippines.
But never mind his
stated inaccuracies for the moment. The real main issue is this: Is he
telling the truth when he claims that these drug addicts and drug
dealers will destroy the next generation of Filipinos? This is his main
justification for these mass killings. Duterte wants people to believe
that these extrajudicial killings are necessary to save the next
generation of Filipinos.
Here’s the situation
and the reality: It is not the case that the entire next generation of
Filipinos will become drug addicts even if Duterte does not resort to
these illegal and immoral mass murders. In fact, even if these illicit
drugs are available for free, only a very small percentage of the
population will become drug addicts. Why is this so?
Individuals prone to
drug addiction for various reasons are a very small percentage compared
to the rest of society. This is true for every country in the world.
There is not a single country where there are more addicts in the
population than non-addicts. This is because there will always be more
responsible people who know enough of the deadly consequences of illicit
drugs and will avoid them and teach their children to stay away from
Duterte is absolutely
lying when he claims that if he does not kill drug addicts and drug
dealers now, the entire next generation of Filipinos will be destroyed
as practically all will be drug addicts.
Duterte is smart
enough to know this. But why is he peddling this snake oil?
How we live and how we
die depend on what we value most. To Duterte, it’s all about power. This
is the end all and be all of his existence. Absolute power is his
version of nirvana. He comes from a political family and has been a
politician for a long time.
For a career
politician, if possible, the possession of the highest office in the
land is the objective. Once obtained, if he (or she) has no qualms about
good or evil issues; he will do anything and everything to possess more
power. Absolute power is the ultimate orgasm for this kind of man or
The late greedy
dictator Ferdinand Marcos was this kind of politician. Duterte idolizes
him and is using the same kind of people and events manipulation model
to gain absolute power.
power-oriented individual may be an unstable evil sociopath but may
still possess savvy, people-smart intelligence. Duterte has this
intelligence. He is deviously using this convenient drug war excuse to
do his mass killings, which he knows will induce fear among the people.
He will use this widespread fear as an instrument to enable him to
consolidate his power so that he can rule as a dictator with absolute
He obviously wants
people to know that he is behind these murders so he can intimidate
them. He openly promotes this policy in repeated speeches, constantly
urging police and military elements to summarily kill and kill while
assuring them of his protection. But at the same time, he evades legal
responsibility for these extrajudicial killings by saying: “Where’s your
proof that I am behind these killings.”
The very clear proof
that Duterte is involved in these extrajudicial killings speaks for
itself, which lawyers refer to as Res Ipsa Loquitor. If Duterte is not
president, would these massive extrajudicial killings of thousands have
happened? Absolutely not.
The repeated statement
of his spokespeople to the media — “The president does not approve of
extra judicial killings and adheres to the rule of law” — is as about as
truthful and valid as an announcement that he will be canonized as a
saint by the Vatican.
The next big lie that
Duterte is preparing to present to the people — again in order for him
to have an excuse to kill or imprison more people in his quest for
absolute power — will be his declaration of war against terrorism. He is
already setting the stage for this move using strategies similar to
those used by his idol, Marcos, and other tyrant dictators. Staged
terrorist bombings and attempted assassinations of public officials will
take place. Then he will suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus, followed by
his possible declaration of Martial Law.
This may not even be
necessary. Today, he already owns not only the presidency, but also the
Supreme Court and Congress. In the terrible Philippine political culture
it is common practice for legislators, whose primary loyalty is to their
pocketbooks and retention of power, to easily shift from their previous
party to the new president’s party. As for judges, including a number of
those in the Supreme Court, the same thing goes. In exchange, they sell
their souls and services to the new president, at least until a new
president is elected in the next elections. Then they again shift their
loyalties. Utterly disgusting but true.
I cry for the
Philippines at times when I am there and see these things happening.
It’s especially painful when I see an innocent emaciated dirty-looking
innocent child digging into smelly garbage cans for scraps of food,
condemned to a life without a decent future. There are so many children
whose talents and innate gifts are stifled, gifts that could have
benefited humanity in the sciences, the arts, in intellectual pursuits
and other fields.
So much human
potential wasted as a direct result of the social injustice brought
about by the corruption of Philippine officials and inhumane,
insensitive selfishness on the part of those who can afford to help but
Duterte is channeling
a road to hell for himself with all these murders and all his lies. And
those supporting him who are carrying out these killings or covering up
for his evil ways in the Executive Branch, Congress or in the Judiciary
— or even ordinary people who tolerate and even espouse his mass murders
as well as those who remain silent in the face of evil — ] are all in
danger of losing their immortal souls, as Duterte will drag them with
him to hell.
Below is an article
from the New York Times with grisly photographs of Duterte’s victims
taken by a photojournalist. Download it and see the brutal merciless
killings of helpless victims where many are slaughtered in front of
their families and loved ones. These killings have been happening daily
throughout the Philippines ever since Duterte became president. Prior to
that this signature killings were happening only in Davao City where he
Duterte is blatantly
violating universal moral values and human rights laws, not respecting
the sanctity of life and the right of individuals to prove their
innocence. Mankind has developed this universal values and human rights
laws through time in order to create a better world.
Duterte brings out the
worst in human beings. He is establishing a culture of death and setting
a terrible example to Filipinos who now will tend to think that
murdering other human beings is all right as long as you can get away
He has admirers,
including fanatical morally challenged troll followers talking and
acting like him, also lacing their language with constant “putang-inas”
and threatening his critics with bodily harm or death. Fanatics have
closed minds and do not listen to reason. You are either with their mob
or against them. But I pray for them hoping that they see the truth
which will set them free. I even pray for Duterte hoping that some
miracle takes place that will change him and save his soul, and which
will spare thousands from his brutality.
There are enough
decent, good Filipinos who want to save the Philippines and their fellow
Filipinos from Duterte’s butchery and his plan for absolute power. But
it is necessary for people of goodwill to accept individual
responsibilities and courageously speak out and act against the obvious
terrible evil that the nation faces.
Immoral, demonic chaos
presently rules in the Philippines and Duterte is it’s prince.
This is a critical
time in the history of the Philippines. One reason God allows evil
rulers to rise is to challenge and test human beings’ sincerity in truly
loving Him and His command to love our neighbors as ourselves. God often
places us in very difficult, even very dangerous situations where we
need to exercise the freedom he has given us, to decide to be on His
side and the side of good or on the side of Satan and evil. This is such
a time in the Philippines where all Filipinos everywhere in the world
must make a decision.
Those who choose on
the side of good even if it means risking their security and even their
lives, He will welcome into His Kingdom. And those who choose to be on
the side of evil because of their greed and cowardice will suffer dire
consequences, if not on Earth, in the afterlife. This essentially is
what our temporary short existence on Earth is all about. We all die
sooner or later. Published 12/17/2016
Laguatan is a San Francisco-area based human rights lawyer. He is also
one of only 29 lawyers continuously officially certified by the
California State Bar as an Expert-Specialist Immigration Lawyer for more
than 25 years now. Email