With about 5,800 people slain in “Oplan Tokhang” and vigilante killings, awful it is that President Duterte’s drug crackdown continues to be accepted and approved by 84 percent of the Filipinos, a Social Weather System (SWS) survey show. However, most of those who have approved the drug war also believe that drug personalities should be brought to justice and right to live, as far as human rights are concerned.
In spite of the Filipinos’ approval, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union have slammed Duterte’s drug war. Still, the President insists this will continue whether it is approved by different people or not.
The crime rate dropped by almost half of that of last year, as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa stated in a speech at Camp Alagar. Most of the prevalent crimes, as PNP-10 spokesperson Supt. Surki Sereñas said, were usually drug-related such as theft, robbery, domestic violence, rape and all forms of abuse.
Unintentionally yet ironically stressing the war on drugs, the PNP chief said: “Let us continue with our campaign as long as what we are doing is in compliance with the law and respect for human rights.”
On the other hand, it is the right to live that matters the most despite the criminal record of a person. We must respect a person’s right to live, as Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
With the measures of the administration in putting an end to the drug menace, it seemingly allows the law enforcement agencies to encroach and interfere upon human rights, breaching the Article III (Bill of Rights) Section I of the 1987 Constitution that states “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
Argumentum ad ignorantiam, it is, but nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. Furthermore, penalties shall not be imposed to people unless the crime is committed. Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “(1) Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense; and (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offense was committed.”
Moreover, it is the mandate of the State to protect its people – which is contradictory to what the reality tells us – the State overrides its authority to push through with its functions and its security, disregarding the rights of the people.
Almost all of us, if not all, aspire to have a drug-free country. The government does so; but its measures to end the drug menace seem to have a detrimental effect on the people. The government must always take the rights of the people into consideration; for human rights are for humans, not for animals.