Almost four years since President Duterte waged a war against drugs, it has proven that it is a war against the poor. With death tolls amounting to over 8,000 according to the police but at least 20,000 (with includes 73 children) as clarified by human rights advocates and non-profit fact-checking organizations suchlike Vera Files, it has faced not only local but also international criticisms.
On Thursday June 4, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHR) released its comprehensive report on the extrajudicial Killings brought upon the war on drugs under the Duterte regime. In the document Section 24 cites, the OCHR examined police reports on 25 police operations. In all of the crime scenes, the police claimed to have recovered sachet of methamphetamine and guns that were allegedly used by the suspects. Based on the report that they have made, the OCHR found out that guns were repeatedly recovered. The report stated that each handgun appeared at least in two separate crime scenes while two of them re-appeared in five different crime scenes. The pattern suggests planting of evidence by the police officers and also casts doubt on their self defense alibis wherein the findings implies that the suspects were unarmed during apprehension.
Some would justify these extrajudicial killings by saying that these police officers were defending themselves but research such as this and killings as the case of Kian De Los Santos and Winston Ragos suggest otherwise. Despite the international recognition, the government has turned down the investigation with Harry Roque, the presidential spokesperson, stating that they maintain that the rule of law is upheld in the Philippines.
This firm rejection only entails that the government is still not willing to take accountability for their decisions that lead to the death of many, either through police operations or vigilante-style killings. The “nanlaban” narrative has exposed itself as an excuse not only to justify the butcher of suspected “drug personalities” but also to sway many Filipinos during the early years of the administration but not the truth has been revealed. To some, it is a bitter pill to swallow to those who believed in Duterte as a leader but the truth has never been clearer.
The police institution on the other hand is a cesspool infested with corrupted criminals and terrorists hiding behind a badge and a gun. We still believe however that there are still nationalistic, democratic, and peace loving law enforcers who are being dragged down into the mud because of their corrupt colleagues. The institution however reflects the brokenness of the system and its Commander-in-Chief, President Duterte. As long as we have a bloody thirsty president and self-serving politicians our police institution will remain as it is right now.
The current state of the police institution only proves that we cannot allow them to have more power to repress the Filipino people. With the urgent passage of the Anti-terrorism Bill it is imperative that we, the Filipino people, unite and collectively resist the draconian policy that is being railroaded in the congress. The Angelite stands firm alongside every citizen who has fallen in the victim with the Duterte administration’s empty promises. We must demand the police officers who are responsible for being an instrument in the failed drug war and the abuse of their power suchlike in the United States and Hong Kong. We must resist all forms of injustices, impunity, and tyranny looming over us. As long as no accountability pursues, the nation will just continue to plunge into chaos so we must exercise our democratic rights and call for his immediate ouster.