With only one year into the Duterte administration, at least 12,000 Filipinos have been killed in the war on drugs. This unnecessary violence continues to intensify as seen in the recent murder of Grade 12 student Kian Loyd delos Santos. At the age of 17, he walked along the streets as a regular teenager with a dream of being a policeman. But his chance of pursuing this career was ironically ended by our very own policemen. Our policemen, who are obligated to safeguard each and every citizen by upholding the law are now entities that bring us fear, anguish and dread. While the government continues to search for the truth, Delos Santos should have been given the opportunity to prove his innocence—everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
As human beings, we are tasked to respect life. However, considering these actions toward Delos Santos, it is clear that justice and freedom are no longer values that the government deems as inherent to the human condition. Everyone should be given due process, no matter how inhumane the action, as it is unfair to take away or deny an individual of his right to life, liberty or property through invalid reasoning. Has the war on drugs really gone to a point where justice is no longer valuable?
On behalf of the youth, we want to take this opportunity to express our fervent frustration on the recent events and all other extrajudicial killings. We extend our call to our fellow countrymen to be aware of what extrajudicial killings have entailed and to inform other people of the gravity of this problem. The police enforcement, with their authority, still holds no legitimate power to murder a suspect without trial and this needs to be made clear by President Duterte. These extrajudicial killings have exterminated morals and devalued the dignity of these victims. We have been continuously promised and assured a safer community by our President, who made it his agenda to bring change to our country. However, the war on drugs has only become a platform for abuse—what was believed to be a “cleansing” of criminals turned out to leave permanent stains of grief, anger and fear throughout the nation. #JusticeForKian #JusticeForAll
ANNIKA RAMENTO, SACHIKO PALAGANAS, ANDREA ALFONSO, FRANCINE MEDALLA, KIARA SYQUIA AND ARIANA SANTOS
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