By Leandro DD Coronel
It’s time for more people to speak out, not necessarily against the Duterte administration per se but to express concern about what’s happening to the country.
It’s been a daily chore to count how many had been summarily killed the day or night before. To date, more than 6,000 drug suspects have been killed.
What’s worrying, more than the government’s attitude toward “worthless” people because they’re drug-addled, is that many people are applauding government’s ruthless drive against suspected criminals without due process of law.
The government’s supporters castigate anti-summary killing protesters for allegedly championing the rights of criminals against those of victims. It’s this perception that divides the two sides.
Actually, what protesters are saying is not that criminals have more rights than victims. What they’re saying is that everything has to be done according to due process, according to the law.
Suspected criminals must go through due process, have their day in court and then, if found guilty by the court, punished according to the law.
In a democracy, everything has to be accounted for. It’s like buying something in a grocery store, everything must be computed for cost and paid for, and a receipt is issued.
It’s the same with the justice system, there must be an accounting process. That’s all that advocates ask. It’s not to favor criminals over victims. If there’s something wrong with that, then there’s a misappreciation of universal rights and a transparent way of doing things.
All Filipinos must speak out to voice our collective concern over what is happening and what may be in store for the country. Dark clouds are hovering above us all. The government’s supporters must search their souls and ask themselves whether what’s happening is good for the country in the long run. The end cannot always justify the means. The rule of law must prevail.
The Catholic Church, a few opposition leaders, academics, some in media are speaking out (the Left is currently on the fence). But more voices are needed.
The other presidential candidates of 2016 must band together and initiate a call to government to review its actions so far in its drive against criminality. Miriam Santiago of course is no longer with us. Jejomar Binay may not be in a position to be vocal because of his tenuous situation regarding alleged ill-gotten wealth.
But Mar Roxas and Grace Poe must speak. The two won a combined vote of 18.6 million compared to President Duterte’s 15.9 million (Santiago and Binay earned a paltry 6.7 million votes combined).
If Poe and Roxas speak out, Duterte may taunt them as losers. If he does, that’s all right, that’s his style. But having had a combined vote larger than Duterte’s, they’re in a position to call out the government to rein in the police.
We all – government supporters and dissenters – must work together to make sure the nation’s direction is righted before things deteriorate and all will be lost. We cannot afford to have another Marcosian nightmare that we had from 1965 to 1986.
This is not a call to arms, a coup d’etat, or another People Power uprising. Rather, this is a call for enlightenment, for discernment, for open-mindedness, and for unity.
Please, let’s all think about our current situation and our children’s future. We cannot afford to be on the wrong side of history again.