Whether it was a joke or not, a deeply held belief or an off the cuff reaction to an unfair accusation, Pres. Duterte’s allusion to being the drug world’s Hitler was wrong on all counts. Hitler ranks next to the devil himself in being the most reviled entity in humankind. To claim to be like him in whatever respect was simply horrendous.
We can dismiss this as just one of those abominations from the President’s foul mouth. That he really didn’t mean it that way. The official line was that he was, on the contrary, objecting to such allusions made by his critics. Well he certainly had a funny way of showing his objection: by admitting that they were true.
What made that Hitler remark more chilling was that several speeches back, Duterte had questioned whether drug addicts were human, the way HItler said that Jews were not.
Unfortunately, when Duterte speaks, especially when he gives a speech in his capacity as the President, what he says are not mere words. They are policy. They are marching orders. They are thoughts to be officially propagated, language to be emulated by everyone, including children. In a bigger sense, the President’s words are reflections of who we are as voters and as a people.
Forget about those crispy putang inas that the President seems to relish. I had an uncle, a family man and successful cardiologist, who’s putang-ina-per-sentence rate was twice Duterte’s. Yet he was kind and we all loved him dearly.
What is truly bothersome has been his tacit endorsement of extrajudicial killings against criminals.The allusion to being the Pinoy Hitler willing to slaughter three million drug addicts is consistent with this messaging and the deadly way he is leading the war on drugs. And the effect can only be more killings, especially of suspected petty drug users and pushers.
I will be honest here: I believe that in the fight against drugs, key players will have to be killed. These are the so-called drug lords and their protectors in high places who are often beyond the reach of the law. I think they deserve a bullet between the eyes.
But instead of a selective targeting of the untouchables, what is happening now is a bloodbath of petty users and pushers. In Duterte’s war on drugs, it’s the shabu sachet crowd that’s taking the bullet for the wholesalers, manufacturers, police generals and narco-politicians. It’s like closing down Aling Nene’s Sari Sari Store for selling smuggled goods while allowing Puregold and the Chinatown mafias to continue.
One reason for this is that officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) itself, including other law-enforcement agencies like the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), are themselves involved in illegal drugs. And so, tasked to uproot the drug trade, they end up pruning their downlines of undesirables – those who might squeal on their involvement.
Furthermore, unable to meet the strict requirements of due process, law enforcers end up taking short cuts and assume the role of judge, jury and executioner. They tend to look the other way when guns for hire, who are most likely police or military assets, come in to do the dirty job.
And so when the President says that drug addicts are not human and should be stripped of their rights, it’s the little guys who gets slaughtered. Everytime he dishes out his deadly rhetoric, an added layer of impunity envelops the killers so that, shielded by only a cardboard and pentel pen, they can kill at will.#