EDITOR’S NOTE: The word war between and among presidential candidates has trickled down to their supporters. Here is an opinion article from one of our readers, Mino Genson. Mino is a law student from one of the top schools in the country. This is his opinion on presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte and it does not necessarily reflect the views of Kami.com.ph. If you are interested to contribute a different or a supporting opinion on this matter, feel free to e-mail your work to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duterte's appeal is undeniable and understandable. His no nonsense approach to politics makes him standout from all the other cookie cutter candidates spewing canned and hollow promises. His transparency and refusal to utilize TRAPO smoke and mirrors is an admirable trait.
He shows a genuine love for his country that many TRAPOs only show through words.
But one (or even a few) good traits does not make a person a man of principle, much less a good president.
He may have the virtue of honesty, but what it reveals is a dark side that may be worse than the skeletons many TRAPOS keep behind their own disingenuous personalities.
In his own words:
“I am telling the Filipino people, huwag ako, it is gonna be bloody”
“Hindi ko mapigilan ang init ng ulo ko.”
"If I have to kill you, I'll kill you."
Despite his cool and relaxed demeanor, these words indicate a darker side to the man. He did not mean these as figures of speech.
He has admitted to his connections to the Davao Death Squad. He has admitted to shooting and killing suspects without trial.
"I killed 700? No, make that 1,700!“
"Shoot and Kill them."
Many Filipinos who are frustrated with the justice system feel that this is another trait which stands out in Duterte.
'He is a man of action, not of words. He gets the job done. He gives swift and pure justice to those who commit the most heinous of crimes... This is what we need. The Philippines is a melting pot of drugs, sexual exploitation, and other unforgivable crimes. The normal legal system is broken and we need to end this now. Only Duterte has the political will and proven experience to do it. The Filipinos need to be disciplined.'
Admittedly, the justice system is severely wanting. Prosecution of crimes take years on end. Sometimes the accused goes unpunished due to corruption, incompetence, or the like.
But for all its faults, at least we HAVE a justice system in place. A system that hears you before it renders judgment. A system that will not simply rely on rumors and accusations of strangers before it sentences you to death.
It is not perfect, but we cannot allow ourselves to abandon due process all together and leave it to vigilantes who prioritize punishment over finding out if one actually deserves the punishment.
'Due process is a legalistic ideal...In the real world, they almost always deserve the punishment.'
Look at it this way:
What if one day you heard a rumor that your teenage son or daughter was involved in Marijuana use. He joined a group of friends who were trying it out for the experience. After trying it out, they even went as far as selling Marijuana to their friends.
Unfortunately, you were not the first to hear the rumor.
The next day you find his/her body stacked above the bodies of his/her friends. Half naked, with a bloodied bullet hole in the head and a severely bruised body.
Would you not cry out injustice? Would you not rage against the state for denying your son or daughter the right to defend himself, or at the very least, the right to repent for his actions? Your son/daughter had an entire life to live...he made mistakes, but nothing that should have cost him his life.
Would you not, then, cry out for due process?
...Or would you simply say he deserved it? That his/her death is what society needs?
This is a hypothetical for you...but this is a reality for the families of more than 700 ("No, make that 1,700!" - Duterte) other people, including minors during 2005-2008.
("You Can Die Any Time" Death Squad Killings in Mindanao". Human Rights Watch; "Philippine death squads extend their reach", New York Times)
Even under this imperfect justice system... Minors had a day in court. Minors, who are found guilty of the most heinous of crimes, would never be executed and stacked over the cold bodies of their peers. Minors were treated as human beings. As children of parents. As sons or daughters who had the capacity and opportunity to come back to society and repent.
Duterte's policies would not creat a disciplined society. A disciplined society draws security from the fact that citizens respect each other's rights...This brand of security will not produce disciplined Filipinos, but cruel and vindictive ones.
For Duterte, his love for his country is credibly a genuine one.
But it is a twisted and depraved kind of love...
For Duterte, the Filipino is not worth dying for...for Duterte, the Filipino needs killing for.
The strength of Duterte is also the scariest part of Duterte, he is indeed a man of action.
He plans to rid the nation of crime in 3-6 months.
"I need two divisions sa Army, Ranger trained. I need 3,000 Policemen."
This is a plan to make the deplorable Davao Death Squad tactics the norm in society.
'At least it is effective'
No. Davao has the 4th highest crime rate in the Philippines.
And even if it was effective... The question is...Is this the kind of "justice" and "discipline" we want for the Filipino and our children?
by Mino Genson