In the heat of debate as to the propriety, necessity, legality and morality of the recent rampant killings of suspected criminals (many of them connected to drug dealings) there arises the clashing of 2 major issues that are of great public interest: the need to eradicate a nationwide epidemic of drug problems versus the need to respect the basic human rights a person enjoys under the law.
For the past weeks, I tried to look away and not engage in the ongoing keyboard war where nothing comes across as right or wrong, as everyone is correct in their own eyes, of course including me 😛 Be that as it may, I would like to try to air and voice my concerns out, as it has increasingly been bothering why there is in the first place a difference of opinions and how people sheepishly find it necessary to adhere on one and not think about the repercussions.
To defend the basic human rights of a person – to live, to be not subject of extrajudicial killings, to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proven – does not in any way mean that there is toleration and condonation for these ‘branded or suspected criminals.’
What really springs forth in the rallies and cries of human rights defenders is that a man enjoys protection to his life, liberty and property. A man enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. A man has rights and he must be able to exercise and enjoy its fruits.
The cause of the law must never be used to cloak the violations committed against it by its wrongful enforcement. For where there is blatant and flagrant violations of the law in the guise of implementing order in the society, there is a fine line where sooner or later we will not be able to draw anymore between what is lawful and illegal. We may find ourselves or our nation as an illustration of the statement, “The end justify the means.” But, does it really? In the expense of derogating and violating our human rights? In setting a precedent for this country?
It begs to ask: Does this make us a better nation? Does this make us feel more safe in our homes and in our workplaces? Does this not even bother a nerve that we may be knocked on our door one day and be charged with something we didn’t do, regardless if it is proven true or not? That we the mighty Filipino people, who stood our ground and asserted our rights as against China, are also on the other hand, violators of our rights so guaranteed by the Constitution?
There is a reason why we have laws. Laws are not enacted to be merely a formal set of written words without any meaning or effect at all. Let us not get swept away and be blinded by the promise of change in exchange for a massacre of lives also entitled to the DUE PROCESS OF LAW. Let us not be a nation that does away with due process – which hears before it condemns; which proceeds upon inquiry, and renders judgment only after trial.
It is noteworthy to point that it matters not the administration nor the kind of government this country has. The RULE OF LAW must always be observed, that is the RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE be upheld – whatever the color of the party or flag maybe. The interest of the people must be served at all times by a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. If it is order that is to be achieved, it must be done with respect for the law. For it is absurd to think that violating the law will translate to peace and order. You cannot do one and expect an opposite result. And even if it is intended for the good, the law is still violated. The acts are still forbidden, illegal and punishable.
I say then, let the call for legislative investigation take place. There is a reason for the 3 branches of the government and each one performing a function of its own. There is a reason for the need of Checks and Balances. Let the investigation take its place and achieve its intent.
Violation of human rights under the cloak of enforcing the law, calls for misguided principles of leading and vigilantism. Vigilantism calls for taking matters on our own hands. It will not be long when the protection of the rights of the people are based and decided upon a group’s conviction and belief rather than how the Constitution enshrined it to be.