The kidnap-slay of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo confirmed what critics of the Duterte administration’s bloody anti-drug war have been saying all along: that the blood of innocents are being spilled and that corrupt policemen are taking advantage of the impunity in killings to further their criminal activities. Impunity in rights violations does not solve any problem; it only makes things worse.
If corrupt police officials had the gall to kidnap and kill a Korean businessman inside the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police, one could just imagine how many among the 7,000 killed lost their lives just because police officers have been trying to achieve their quota for neutralizing drug offenders or pursue their criminal activities. The rest were most probably just lost souls who got hooked on drugs. But there would be no investigation for most of the victims because they were just poor folk and it is President Duterte himself who ordered them killed.
Now could the lives of the innocent ones be brought back? Would the government and its police forces admit their accountability for killing the innocent and the lost?
For sure, an overwhelming majority of the more than 7,000 killed did not deserve to die. Just think, 7,000 have been killed and yet one does not hear or read about a lot of shooting encounters between police and drug syndicates. Most of what have been reported were claims of policemen that there were armed clashes.
Would the Duterte administration put a stop to the killing madness after it was discovered that innocent lives have been taken and that corrupt police officials took advantage of the anti-drug war to kill with criminal intent?
The Duterte administration may have suspended Operation Tokhang but the President announced his intention to escalate the bloody war on drugs by involving the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and reviving the Philippine Constabulary, which was linked to many human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.
AFP soldiers are trained to wage war and not to maintain peace and order nor to put a stop to crimes. Thus, there appears to be no end in sight to the killing madness.
Recently, former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, who brought to justice notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1990’s, said in an opinion piece in the New York Times that: “This heavy-handed approach to drugs did little to diminish the drug supply and demand in Colombia, much less in markets like Western Europe and the United States.”
Gaviria acknowledged that tens of thousands were killed in the war on drugs in Colombia and said that the war on drugs is “essentially a war on the people.”
How did President Duterte react? He called Gaviria an “idiot.”
Clearly, President Duterte does not listen to reason. Perhaps he would listen if more people from a broad array of sectors would be clamoring for an end to this killing madness. If we do not add our voice to this, we are practically condoning this administration’s killing spree, which it has been carrying out purportedly as its duty to “protect the people.” Is this how you want to be protected?