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Rural doc’s murder exemplifies what’s wrong with PH

12:02 AM March 08, 2017

I urge everyone to condemn the killing of Doctor Drey.

I saw him often, especially during my first year at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He was a biology student and I had a few biology subjects that year. Since then I would pass him by the street, see him at bars, or in the hallways of buildings in between classes. Los Baños is a small community and almost everyone knows everyone.

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Do I have the right to mourn for his death? To demand justice for his killing? To condemn the rising culture of impunity from murder? To feel less secure for myself?

Or will the fact that I don’t even remember speaking to him, or that we’re not friends on Facebook, bar me from doing these because I didn’t know him enough and I have no right?

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That is what seems to be implied by those who condemn the different groups, organizations and people who have shared their sympathies for the killing of Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, who was gunned down on the night of March 1 while he was on his way home on a motorcycle in Lanao del Norte where he served as a volunteer doctor. For some of the people who knew “Doctor Drey,” that other groups and personalities have “used” his death to call for justice and to condemn the rising number of EJKs or the climate of violence under the current administration, is “inexcusable, malicious and desecrates Brod Drey’s contribution to our battered nation” (from a statement issued by concerned alumni of his undergraduate fraternity).

A number of groups and personalities, including Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Ralph Recto, the Inquirer (in an editorial, “To kill a doctor,” Opinion, 3/4/17), the Health Alliance for Democracy, the Department of Health, and Facebook friends who shared the article on his death (also unknown to Drey) condemn his murder. Some of them have been criticized and called trapo and opportunists who have disrespected Drey by using his death to advance their own political agenda.

Who then can mourn such loss? What degree of friendship should one have had with Drey to have the right to condemn his killing and to demand justice? How then should we mourn for this loss to the country because he was murdered the way some 7,000 poor drug suspects and activists have been executed?

I mourn the loss of Doctor Drey not only because his face was familiar but because what happened to him represents what is wrong with our country right now: a culture of impunity from murder that has claimed the lives of the likes of Doctor Drey and environmentalist lawyer Mia Mascariñas Green. And one thing is certain—they were killed so brazenly, and justice does not seem to be in sight. Instead of being heralded for the sacrifices they made to make the world a better place, their lives were suddenly ended, as if it were as cheap as a bullet to the heart.

I condemn the killing of Doctor Drey and all the other Dreys. I demand justice. And everyone should feel free to do the same.

KATHRYN LEUCH, [email protected]

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TAGS: doctor, Doctor Drey, Dreyfuss, Killing, letter, Letter to the Editor, opinion, Perlas
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