Let us be crystal clear: The drug menace in the Philippines must stop. Goodness, we hate drugs, too. There should be no two minds about it.
Yet the apparent serial summary executions of alleged street-drug users or petty drug lords, which appear sudden, too contrived and predictable, must also stop.
The two are not incompatible. And each of them might be a long, hard, challenging and frustrating undertaking, but you can stop one without automatically or instantly doing the other as practice or policy.
The madness must stop. Quick-fix savagery and abuse of power by law enforcers, supposedly to quell criminality and illegal drugs – which, wittingly or unwittingly, directly or indirectly, are encouraged, condoned or sanctioned – is a Frankenstein’s monster that will haunt us all over time. The cure could turn out to be worse than the illness.
Human rights are not only for the criminals or dregs of society, as some might think or believe. It is more to protect the far-too-many others who are innocent or turn out to be innocent. Enough already.
Edre U Olalia
Secretary-general, Philippine National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
(From the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ANN)