Thursday, May 28, 2015

is this what we really need?

The past few hours have been revelatory. Now I think 10% of the internet trolls, 28% of bigots, and 49% of hypocrites in the world are Filipinos or come from the Philippines.

Fine. The statistics are bogus, but in such a short span of time, one can easily approximate the current climate of a society based on an issue and how this society responds to it. This issue is that of Rodrigo Duterte possibly taking a major government position. I have posted on social media that this worries me since many people are clamoring for this to happen.

Why does this bother me? I believe that a man who can put an end (directly and indirectly) to another man’s life (criminal or not) because he thinks of himself as a higher being or a kind of god is a man who has no respect for human rights and equality.

This post has received a deluge of comments, mostly from people who deem the man and the maneuverings of the so-called Davao Death Squad are the next best solutions to the growing crime rates that plague our nation. They are up in arms about me being skeptic of him saving the Philippines.

I spoke about nobody should be taking one’s life without due process, but this only got a response that this suggestion, one said, was useless. Who can blame the person for sharing this sentiment? Corruption in our government is as visible as the glaring light of day.

One person came up with a lengthy response, saying that the killings are necessary and make up for a peaceful place such as Davao City. True, I have been to Davao a couple of times and it is a lovely place. As for peaceful I cannot entirely attest to this. People do not live a life of true peace if some live in fear, no matter how few or plenty they are

Another comment went something like this: “People are just simply tired thus killing these scum [sic] of society provides the easiest relieving respond [sic] to a safer community.”

People are just simply tired. Oh yes, with all the unsavory things happening in this country and all over the world, it is easy to get tired. New mothers get tired who have to wake up in the middle of most nights for their wailing firstborn children, but do they kill their babies? Street vendors suffer under the heat of the sun with little to no income each day, but do they kill the passersby who couldn’t even stop and buy from them a piece of candy? Heck, I even get tired on the idea alone of getting up for work as early as 5AM, but do I have to kill myself?


For a nation whose major population proudly put their love of righteousness, justice, God, the saints, and whatever on their sleeves, it is funny and troubling to learn that death is their solution. This only strengthens my belief that our country and most of its people are neck-deep in hypocrisy.

A friend has shared to me that studies have actually shown death penalty is not even a deterrent to a crime. Meaning, it doesn’t stop the crime from happening again. It is true there are some people out there who do and can do acts that are way beyond our imagination that we may feel numb and suggest these guys do not have the right to live. But in the end, death does not reduce the crimes. “It’s like correcting a wrongdoing with another wrongdoing,” my friend said.

This is what many do not come to think of and even consider: Crime is an idea, sometimes a kind of force or compromise, not a person. Kill the person and yet the idea still lives on, thriving.

The point is we do not need an iron fist. What we need is an open hand and the sense of righteousness that do not resort to barbarism. We have come a long way, and we cannot go backward. This is already the 21st century after all.

Death or the many other forms of killing is a lowly, lazy and cowardly solution since it does not tackle head on the root and real issue of the problem. Because one has to ask, why do these people resort to crimes? Why do they do what they do?

This adamant support for taking the life of a criminal is like getting a test paper that you just throw away after seeing the tough questions. You didn’t solve any problem. You failed the exam.

On teenage gangs, which Davao’s police force say are responsible for the crimes committed in the city, Duterte can be quoted from an article by the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), saying, “I will not hesitate to kill them. I don’t care about minors.”

Now, let’s ask ourselves, is this the kind of leader we need? Is this the kind of leader for our next generation? Should we soon put ourselves in the wrong side of history?


PS: As for the trolls, bigots, and hypocrites in this country, here’s a word of advice. Do not try to make sense out of these people. You just cannot get it from irrational, stubborn, and culturally backward men. It’s like talking to a piece of rock. An ugly rock.

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