A common characteristic I have noticed in many Duterte supporters is they see the world in black and white. Much like Duterte himself, the complexities of the real world seem beyond them. This is part is what is behind Duterte’s ability to make some great progress for the Philippines in non-drug related policy in such a short time. However, when it comes to the issue of state sponsored EJK in the Philippines it reveals a naïve and quite frankly stupid way of thinking.
No one is ever going to find evidence that Duterte is ordering, or paying for the EJKs that are happening in the country. He doesn’t need to. He is the leader of the Philippines, and anyone defending his links to EJKs grossly underestimates the influence of a strong leader in a country that has been crying out for one.
You do not have to look far for evidence of just how influential he is. As soon as he was elected the green light was given to commence the massive offensive against drug users and dealers. He had not yet been sworn in and had no official power, yet he was able to encourage people to kill.
Duterte did not change anyone the day after the election. What he did was enable a group of people who were already crossing the line in how they uphold the law. Accountability for wrong doing was already patchy at best. As long as they could keep things discreet no one would ask any questions. When Duterte openly backed them without any checks and balances in place (or any hint of reform to address systemic corruption) the police were unleashed.
The body count speaks for itself, and we are no closer to solving the drug problem.
Six months later and Duterte repeatedly reinforces his indifference to unlawful police practices. When asked about the manner in which Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr was killed he responded saying “He was killed in a questionable way, but I don’t care.” This one line will excite every corrupt cop in the land. They are part of an untouchable group who’s shady past has been deliberately overlooked, and now embraced as the key to the country’s future.
He goes on to say “The policeman said he resisted arrest. Then I will stick with the story of the police because they are under me.” If this line does not strike fear into every single person in the country then I do not see much hope for the future of the Philippines.
An accused person who was in custody was murdered in their cell. The most influential person in the land shrugs his shoulders and in turn cheapens the validity of the justice system, and all human life.
Every single policeman has the power to murder you, submit their version of events, and have the president at their back applauding the action. Please read this line repeatedly until it sinks in.
Where Duterte supporters fail in their assessment of the merits of this support by the president is they assume that such massive power invested in a group will not be abused. They assume that it is only people associated with the drug trade, and drug use that are being killed. They are not.
All supporters of the President and the drug war must ask themselves one question. What is the outcome they hope the drug war will achieve? If you answered a peaceful society free of crime and corruption then you are assuming that a historically corrupt, and currently murderous group who are in charge of instilling peace will change their ways the day the last drug dealer is silenced.
You are assuming that a country conditioned to think that life is cheap, and murder is ok as long as you have a good reason, will lead to peace.
This is a fictitious belief that only a black and white thinker could reach. I would challenge you to give an example of a country that has employed such tactics and emerged with a higher standard of living for its citizens.
I have spoken about this issue a lot on the blog, and my only purpose in doing so is to encourage Filipinos to think of the bigger picture of what their future will really look like. A culture of fear, selective justice, no value of human life, and the constant danger that those in power could target you for whatever reason and you are powerless to help yourself… with slightly less drugs.
If this is still what Filipinos want then good luck to you.
From what I have learned, and from all the hope for peace and order that swept Duterte to power in the first place, I know that most do not want this future. They just don’t know that it is coming.
Duterte is not sponsoring EJK. He gives it his blessing, and that is all it takes.