Heartbreaking stories of addicts turning themselves in at police stations only to be shot dead in their own homes weeks, days or even just hours later. A seemingly endless stream of accusations from the families of defenseless victims with the same narrative: the drugs and guns were planted after the murder. Over and over, we hear the painful cries from loved ones saying they didn't fight back and were never going to.
The biggest obstacle of the War On Drugs isn't shabu. At this point it's not even the drugs themselves.
It's the crooked cops.
It's the corruption in a national police force that runs so deep and involves officers on all levels who are now in an intense and desperate rat race to kill the powerless to self-preserve.
Such a tricky situation for Duterte because I know he's aware of this and hates it profoundly, yet is forced to speak in sweeping generalizations. He's forced to tell ALL policemen that he will always have their backs to ensure that the good cops don't get disheartened; don't lose sight of the goal. This is a war they're fighting, he says, and the very last thing he needs is deflated soldiers.
I think the Yellows are gross. I think they're a foul, archaic group comprised mostly of hypocrites, liars, incompetent freeloaders and well-concealed criminals. But in the ubiquitous, ever-pervasive, inescapable debate over the EJKs, I refuse to be Machiavellian (I can't do it) and I absolutely stand on the side which states that the loss of just one innocent life is too much. I've listened to and now completely understand the argument for looking at the big picture and sacrificing few for the sake of many...and am now certain that I can never agree with it. The moment we start looking the other way when it comes to matters of this magnitude -- matters that truly matter -- the bright and colored layers of our humanity begin melting away like chocolate-coated Peanut M&M's under the hot sun. I refuse to turn into an empty peanut shell of my human self. That's not what being an honorable person is about. Even more importantly, as a nation going through what is obviously a tectonic psychological shift, to even suggest that attitude, I think, is taking a step on to the most slippery of slopes.
That said, I ALSO understand how bad the nationwide methamphetamine problem is.
There's a mental phenomenon which states that two people can look at the exact same thing and leave having seen things differently. I see Digong and I see a good man. There is zero doubt in my mind. I'm also fully aware that so many of my readers and friends don't see the same thing.
The crux: I support his War On Drugs -- I always have (it's a good thing!) -- but what I'd like is a stronger, more concentrated effort to police the corrupt policemen. Clamp down, combat and catch the crooked cops who are obviously taking advantage of the situation to save their own (terrified) asses. Easier said than done? No shit, Sherlock. But we gotta do it. It needs to be done.
Because, ultimately, what is the point of a police force that is unwavering in presidential loyalty if so many of its pieces are disloyal to the people and ideals the President loves and has sworn to protect? I just want the bad guys blasted, regardless of whether or not they carry a badge.
PS - Shout out to all the good cops in the Philippines. Right now you're the bravest folks and my favorite people in the world.
Franco Mabanta as posted on Facebook.