“We, the disenfranchised . . .”
Many will likely read this blog wrong. They will read that I am against the Durerte Administration. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I dearly want the Administration to succeed. But I don’t want it to be on the backs of the poor and the weak and the sick and the innocent. I want it to be in a way that brings pride to the Philippines, for being a modern, fair and compassionate nation.
There is a new disenfranchised class in the Philippines. I belong to it. Perhaps you do, too. This is not a class along citizenship lines, or income lines, or religious lines. It is a class that holds values called humanist. It is a class that cares about others, even drug addicts, who are themselves disenfranchised.
They are disenfranchised from the courts of their land, from real justice as we know it under the rule of law.
Here is a very short story about the new, government-sanctioned brand of justice in the Philippines:
“Please don’t shoot me, officer.”
“I see those drugs over there.”
“They aren’t mine. I don’t use drugs.
And that is not yet enough for the executioners . . .
Bang! Bang! Bang!
That’s the way it is, in the Philippines, 2016.
But here are the values of the newly disenfranchised class, as expressed by a great thinker who just passed to his promised land:
You who are so-called illegal aliens must know that no human being is ‘illegal’. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize winner and holocaust survivor
What part of beautiful do the executioners not grasp? What part of our essential humanity that Elie Wiesel was talking about do they not get? What part of our essential human innocence are they blind to? They are thinking that drugs lead to crime? That needles lead to aids? That drugs pervert our humanity? That kids are at risk? That is their thinking?
That humans are animals, and can’t be taught? Can’t be cured of illness? Can’t find hope? Can’t change?
The slogan of the executioners! They deny it to the most hopeless amongst us, the friends and family and acquaintances who turned left when they should have gone right. Who were down and did drugs. And did it again. And again . . . until there was no way out.
No change for you, pal.
But that’s not even the worst of it.
It takes a whole government to disenfranchise a class of people. One guy with “kill” on his mind can’t do it alone.
There are checks and balances. A legislature. Courts. Ombudsman.
Have you read about when the Congressional committees will start investigating the summary executions that are flowering across the nation? Flowering like stink weed, or like tough, stringy vines that will eventually choke the life out of our humanity?
When does the Senate investigation start? The House investigation? Who tallies the number of deaths? The share of innocents among the dead? Is that a part of the FOI promised to us? Who investigates the cops who do the executions? Can the Ombudsman investigate really serious, mass murder kinds of crime, or just tiptoe politely through the plunder?
When do the investigations start?
When, oh when do the fucking investigations start??
What we hear instead are the enabling words, the coddling of the beast, the willingness to do his bidding.
The silence of the righteous, the most cowardly enabler of them all, is so loud. It is so loud to us, the disenfranchised. We have to cover our ears. Sometimes we even weep, at what we see. What our nation has become.
Meanwhile . . .
- Senator Angara tweets about basketball trades.
- Senator Aquino ducks his head and opens another Negosyo Center.
- The Senators Cayetano feed the beast, tossing women into the maws of insult and denigration.
- Portly Big Senator Drilon backs a re-write of the Constitution. “Here, beast, have a big chunk of raw meat! We’ll empower ya!”
- Senator De Lima raises her voice and is shouted down, threatened. Neutralized.
- The Chairman of the Human Rights Commission protests, and the press stops covering it. They are afraid.
- Vice President Robredo is trapped between her loyalty to President Duterte and her humanity. Paralyzed.
- Ex-candidate Roxas and former President Aquino are trapped by their dignity. Paralyzed.
- Senator Santiago is busy backing those who want to jail the former President, the guy who is also a humanist, the guy who did so much for this nation.
There are no representatives speaking for the disenfranchised class.
A huge cut of decency within the Philippine nation has been carved out, and set aside to rot.
The disenfranchised, the humanists among us, have no voice except the wee little protests they raise in stupid blogs or Facebook protests that zap off into the internet ether, pop like a little firecracker, and disappear into a black nothingness.
There is no organized protest because so many are afraid. They fear the executioners. Or they have joined them.
That’s what happens to the disenfranchised when they are really, really disenfranchised.
They know that if they raise their voice, they become the targets of the executioners and their mindless minions who chirp off insults and threats across the internet board.
But, I tell you what, there is another word for our humanity. It is called heart. It can be subdued, but is rarely broken. The Philippines has great heart. Filipinos have great heart. Humanists have great heart.
Beware when those with heart recognize their own survival is at stake.
There is no beast quite as dangerous as a pack of cornered humanists with no way to turn but against their captors.
Choose your sides well. Do that. You are free to choose:
Or the heart of the humanist Filipino.
Today you are free to choose.
Postscript: Today, July 7, 2016, legislators from both the House (Rep. Teddy Baguilat) and Senate (Sen. Lila De Lima) said they will file resolutions to begin investigations into the large number of drug-related deaths occurring across the Philippines. JAs Rep/ Baguilat put it:
“Today, I file a resolution asking Congress to investigate the increasing extra judicial killings and PNP kills of suspected drug criminals.”