Tuesday, November 15, 2016

'Life Isn't Worth a Cent in the Philippines'

by Ray Alan T. Drilon

(This is a personal sentiment and actual observation of Judge Ray Alan Drilon, Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod City in his Facebook Timeline, dated November 15, 2016 on what is happening in the Philippines after the 100 days of actual governance of President Rody Duterte. Judge Drilon has given the blog admin/owner the permission to repost it here.)

Judge Drilon
Judge Drilon
Life isn’t worth a cent now in this country. Almost every day we hear, read and see news of bloody police killings. Media isn’t effective in publicizing this atrocity. They banner and splash the images of dead bodies sprawled in the streets, and the body count keeps piling up. They are everywhere even in the social media, and people share footage of the stiffened bodies of men and women whose blood spilled the streets, victims of this unconscionable violence.

But the conscience seemed numb. There is the insidious, growing, social insensitivity. Nobody really cares about the dead low lifes, the addicts, pushers, or druggies, even the obscure, helpless, collateral victims being mercilessly killed in so called police operations, except their grieving families.

Coffee talk around coffee shops praise the statistics that the crime rate had gone down, since this bloody campaign started. Well and good. I agree. But the body count keeps rising in this internecine war. Who judges who live or die? Who decides who is innocent or guilty? Who might end up an innocent victim to be added to the statistics?

My coffee drinking buddy remarks, “One day, we will read in the papers, of a man left dead on the street corner wearing a tag, ‘unfaithful husband huwag tularan’” I laugh at the joke but it leaves an acid taste in the coffee I drink.

It is very strange, that policemen no longer make arrests, but simply kill the suspects. Worst even a high profile prisoner already held in custody under the rules of the prison system, was killed in a police raid of the jail where he was confined. We get the subliminal message that these are justified killings as long as the police authorities report them as drug buy bust operations going bad, where the suspects allegedly shot it out with the police. I fear the day we will become calloused to this terrible scourge and lend our approval.

In the CathedraI Gates of the Catholic Church in the City where I live, the good Bishop posted one of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill.” I wish other Christian churches should make the same bold statement. I get the feeling nobody minds it at all. I also fear the day people will be forced to arm themselves to defend their lives and take matters in their own hands in order to survive and defend themselves against the lawlessness of the very authorities who are supposed to protect them.

Where the law enforcers become judge jury and executioner, we might as well throw away the rule of law. Forget about legal and constitutional rights, forget the courts of law.

Let’s go back to the time theoretically described by Thomas Hobbes when man was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short… the condition of man is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.” It is a condition where “ A man cannot lay down the right of resisting them that assault him by force, to take away his life.”


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