By Oscar Picazo
Tone-deaf columnists and clueless netizens of a certain persuasion keep asking, Why is there no national outrage over the spate of killings in the war on drugs?
Quite simple, really, and it is almost laughable why these people don’t get it:
1. Most Filipinos obviously place priority on public order and safety, rather than the collateral damage of the war on drugs. If you live in one of the poor, congested urban districts where criminality is rife, you’d rather have peace and security, even at “martial-law-like” conditions. Why is it difficult for some people to understand that?
2. Some victims of the war on drugs, initially trumpeted as innocent and lily-white, turned out to be compromised. Sure, there may be some truly innocent victims, but media’s penchant for hailing many victims as saintly simply boomerangs in directions often contrary to what was intended, which is to gain sympathy.
3. Politicians’ uncalled for use of victims’ deaths for political ends dilutes any sympathy people may initially have of the victims and their families. Victims’ families should be well advised to ban any politician or celebrity from attending any wakes.
4. In the calculus of democracy for many Filipinos, the dangers of narcopolitics on our national life is far greater than the deaths of innocent victims.
5. In general, I think ordinary Filipinos sympathize with victims of drug addicts far more than they do the victims of EJKs. And EJK is even a very murky concept.
6. Also, I think that Filipinos still believe that EJKs are not systemic in the police and judicial system, but is rather the result of the complex forces at play as the war on drugs pans out. Indeed, this has also been borne out in the experiences of Mexico and other Latin American countries. (Read, for instance, Ioan Grillo’s “Gangster Warlors,” Bloomsbury, 2017).
These points, of course, are open to debate. But that is how I understand why there is no outrage.