STOP THE KILLINGS.
HOLD ACCOUNTABLE ALL THE PERPETRATORS OF THESE CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.
PURSUE JUSTICE FOR ALL THE VICTIMS.
We are outraged and deeply concerned over the death of Kian Lloyd de los Santos, a 17-year-old boy who was brutally killed by the police after he allegedly fought back or “nanlaban” in a drug raid in Caloocan City. While the CCTV footage and stories of witnesses and the barangay officials claim otherwise, police maintains that he is a peddler and even surfaced a witness claiming that the Grade 12 student was a drug pusher.
Palace claims that Kian’s death is just an isolated case. But Kian’s story is in fact only one story among the many stories reported in media. Incidents in the news tell of pleading victims being dragged, punched, kicked, and killed. Our partner communities in urban poor areas attest to these similar and horrific accounts and crime incidents.
In a desperate attempt of the Duterte’s government to end the country’s drug problem, it now resorts to a killing spree of the poor to achieve its long overdrawn target of eliminating drugs in his first six months in office. If this goes on, the casualties of this drug war waged mainly on targeting the poor will rise and impunity can go beyond the current level, killing more children, innocent victims and alleged user/pusher without due process.
Where is the Rule of Law?
What have we got after a year of anti-drug war? Approximately 13,000 drug-related killings. Therefore, 13,000 bereaved families; of widows and orphans, of friends, of neighbors, of co-workers who were left behind. For the President and the police these statistics is nothing compared to the three million drug-users/pushers they intend to eliminate to rid society of “lowlifers.” They are mere numbers or faceless elements deserving to perish from this earth.
We cry in anguish because the law is not on the side of the poor. The small-time pushers and peddlers are being arrested and killed while the big fish in drug trade are still scot-free.Our urban poor communities have been turned into a jungle where predators chase and kill its prey at night, while upscale villages enjoy a little de-quorum, and where police coordinates their anti-drug campaign with barangay captains. Urban poor communities have been turned into a graveyard for the users and pushers, while the House of Congress becomes a safe haven for alleged big-time drug lords and police violators to explain their side and be accorded with due process.
We learned in kindergarten: That the police protects the citizens and maintain peace and order in the community and that the President is the commander in chief of the armed forces of the country. What happens then when the President openly instructs police and military forces to kill people and rape women, coupled with an assurance of protection from possible, criminal cases? Or when a president praises the killing of 32 people daily and hopes this becomes a norm? Where is the rule of law? Isn’t this tantamount already to a crime against humanity?
Have we lost our voices?
We confess that only a few have found courage to speak-out and condemn the killings much sooner. We were awed and intimidated by the strong support showered to the President and all his wars in social media, local governments, congress, senate and even parts of the judiciary. Human rights community have become targets of verbal attacks, portrayed as stumbling block to change and worthy of elimination if needed. Many were intimidated and effectively silenced.
But let us regain our composure and compassion and recoup our passion for truth and justice. The Filipino people have time and again rose-up to leaders who are dictators and corrupt. The series of EDSA upheavals are testimonies to this. And although not all our dreams for the people had been won during these upheavals and revolutions, it is a proof of how Filipino people stand for what is right and just in a crucial moment of history.
Hope for Humanity
Right to Life is our most basic right. “What God has given, Man should not take away.” This mantra did not only come from the laws and treaties of governments of the world. Our life is a sign of God’s grace and love to His people. It is the very foundation of our humanity. We were borne out of goodness and has the great potential to be the blessing to all that is living.
We own our imperfections and frailties as signs of humanity. Sometimes we feel paralyzed in the face of injustice. But we need to trust and have faith in ourselves again, in the inherent goodness of people. That in the context of struggle between what is good and wrong, people will be able to hear their original breath and whispers coming from their hearts and soul.
There is HOPE at this point of history when people are once again breaking out of their comfort zones and expressing concern and condemnation about Kian and the 13,000 killed. We are slowly getting out of our seeming immobility and slumber. We will not be silent anymore. We will not abandon Kian and all other victims of extrajudicial killings. We will care for their widows and their orphans. We will journey with them to get the justice that is due them. We will help ensure that the laws of the land serve those who have less.
Let goodness and compassion overflow. Let not fear stop us. It is time to speak. Now is the time to act.