The President is honest
The President of the Republic of the Philippines is an honest man. He does not try to hide the brand of his justice: retribution. He echoes Leviticus (“an eye for an eye…”) in his will to eliminate the evils of his country.
During the President’s State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2017, honest men and women clapped their hands. They shed any pretense to humanism and spat at the triviality that is due process. And why not? The jailhouses are bursting. Cases are collecting dust. Keeping a human being alive in line for court judgment takes so much time, space and resources. Constitutional rights are uneconomical.
The President is honest. He does not try to hide the reality of evil and death. His vocabulary is rife with verbs related to annihilation: kill, killing, killed. He breathes life into the monsters of society: drug addicts that rape babies and butcher families. There are only two groups of people in the nation: the criminals and the law-abiding citizens. As long as there are drug addicts that rape babies and butcher families, law-abiding citizens should stay worried. People who oppose the President are siding with drug addicts that rape babies and butcher families. Where these drug addicts come from, we do not know.
With the help of the police force, the President carried out the heart of his program: a war on drugs. His is a literal machinery of elimination—the “neutralization,” as a memo said, of people associated with drugs, and “to get rid of illegal drugs during the first six months of his term.”
We can only imagine how it all started. One dark night, a narrow alley quaked to heavy boots. A rickety wooden door flung open. A list was produced and a poor, quivering civilian had no way to assert his rights. Shots were fired. Since then, the world has been tallying the deaths.
The law-abiding citizens watched these developments in the news, sipping their mocha frappés.
On Jan. 26, 2017, the first ever petition against the administration’s Oplan Tokhang was filed by lawyers from the Center for International Law, in behalf of clients who were too poor and scared to prosecute the policemen that killed their loved ones. The petition was inspired by the ordeal of Efren Morillo, a fruit and vegetable vendor. On Aug. 21, 2016, after he and four others were shot by policemen during a drug operation in Payatas, Quezon City, Morillo played dead, survived the massacre, and lived to tell the story.
A series of independent forensic examinations corroborated Morillo’s account that they were shot execution-style. The petition won. On Jan. 31, 2017, the Supreme Court granted the Payatas petitioners a protection order, meaning the police officers involved should stay away from them. It was a massive blow to the legitimacy, and morality, of the war on drugs.
The law-abiding citizens just stared at one another and said nothing. The carnage continued.
The concentration of killings in impoverished areas would include in the dragnet pedicab drivers, jeepney barkers, construction workers, street vendors, truck helpers, garbage collectors. But, said the law-abiding citizens, shrugging: For all we know, those who were killed could have raped babies or butchered families.
It was a joy when news came of certain big fish dying, too. The President, indeed, is true to his word. He names the mighty ones behind corruption and crime. He also wishes them to count worms 6 feet under. The ideal of equality is unreachable in life, but at least in killing there is hope. No one is above death. The difference between a cardboard box and a white-gold casket does not matter anymore.
The President is honest. He had forewarned us of a “bloody presidency,” and now he’s fulfilling it. It is real. It is happening.
The good ones are spared from it. We are the good ones, said the law-abiding citizens, assuring one another.
Greth Barredo, 28, works in a media intelligence company in Ortigas Center.
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