Thoughts on Duterte
October 10, 2017
by Atty. Ramon A. Pedrosa
The Opium Wars in China occasioned by the unimpeded introduction of the opium narcotic by the British Empire weakened the Chinese people and caused the downfall of the Qing Dynasty. The narcotic in its modern derivatives and the many spawned in laboratories is now the bane in every country in the world.
For the first time in our republic, and even – if I may assay a proposition – in the world, a reality we did not, or refused to see confronting our people has been identified: the massive drug addiction being suffered by our population. That reality was echoed by Mayor Duterte, and the electorate responded catapulting him into the presidency.
We forget that this man, alone – no politician, no senate, no congress, no barangay supported him. The haves, the educated, the church, the political parties, the do-gooders, did not want to have anything to do with him. They were irrelevant in his astounding victory at the polls. And now they want to undo him. They are the present causes for this country’s instability.
He is waging an undeclared war for which there is no model. For it is a war that cannot be waged and won following normal rules of conduct. Many among us would impose a mindset to wage war according to some rule of civilization. This war is different, it is not about territory or commerce, and joins the many now termed asymmetrical. He has seen beyond the present dispensation, has seen that is is a war for the very soul of the Filipino. It is a civilizational discontinuity.
On a personal note. If I had the opportunity, I would myself have killed the gang in Ateneo that destroyed the life of my son. I understand Duterte. The pain in his family is the same pain in mine. And it is the pain he sees in so many families in this country of ours.
All the principles presently embedded in civil government for the protection of the individual take their origin from the struggles of the centuries to protect the individual from imperial, monarchical, dictatorial, totalitarian rule. With the advent of Christianity and its teaching on the sacredness of every human person, institutions developed in government to protect the individual from the violent. Witness the American bill of rights, the universal declaration of human rights – they are there to protect the victim from the violent and the institutions of violence. Thus the protection of individual liberty against abridgement by the State, where the State is traditionally seen as the violent entity.
But these very principles are now being availed of and protested by the violent individual to shield themselves, and to continue their violence with impunity. They are emboldened by the support of society and church imprisoned in the struggles of the past.
For when a critical mass, a significant segment of society utilizes these very principles against a State dedicated to the protection of the public safety the process has to elevate from a mere individual right to a societal right, the right of the many. The paradigm shift must work in favor of the greater good, the greater majority. It is significant that the legendary declaration of the magna carta in Runnymede has itself metamorphosed through the ages.
President Duterte is blazing a new trail in civil government. Due process can no longer be a shield by the malefactor. The law was never intended to protect wrong doing, nor to ensure the wrong-doer to continue his wrong doing.
The presumption of innocence is a presumption. The protection of the bill of rights presumes good faith. It fails before bad faith. In actual practice it fails upon a showing of probable cause.
The accepted norm that it is preferable to free a guilty person than to jail an innocent man cannot prevail, and is actually a deterrent if not counter- productive to the primordial duty of the State to protect the People. This man is rewriting that paradigm.
No other leader in our benighted republic ever had the political will that this guy has to do what he believes has to be done. In his mysterious providence God chose this man from nowhere to lead his people. The sorrow of his family is the sorrow of his people. And it is the pain of millions of Filipino families. They cannot protect themselves. For the first time someone is defending them.
O you leaders of nations, heed this warning: this insidious infestation of drug abuse is a war against humanity itself.
If it is not destroyed, it will destroy your people. If you do not act now you throw the very soul of your children to hell.
Image source: PCOO