Stop the killings, build the good institutions

We the women and men of Action for Economic Reforms express our indignation over the government-sanctioned killings of thousands of Filipinos.

 

The persistent and even surging increase in the number of dead bodies strewn all over, underscored most especially by the execution of Kian Loyd delos Santos, has deservedly triggered widespread condemnation from almost all social spheres and political colors.

 

The mounting deaths, at the very least, should have sobered President Duterte, who used the drug problem as a political campaign only to realize later that the menace can easily outlive his political term. That Duterte himself has acknowledged that he could not fulfill his campaign promise of ending drugs within six months of his term and could not lick the problem for his entire term already suggests a failure of his drug policy.

 

While we agree that the drug problem must be taken seriously, we strongly disagree to this government’s assertion that the drug problem is strictly a criminal issue, and thus also disagree to the government’s chosen policy of punishment and extra-judicial retribution.  The most rigorous of research and the most successful of anti-drug campaigns in the world over put forth one declaration:  drug addiction is a disease of the brain rather than a moral failing. As such, the government’s approach is myopic, reductionist, and destined to fail.

 

We state our position with no equivocation: We condemn the murders in the strongest possible terms. This culture of death and impunity has no place amongst a people dedicated to building a just and humane society, and in an elected government that is supposedly dedicated to a regime of truth and justice.

 

Duterte rails against a busted system, including a justice system that undermines justice itself. Indeed, we have to change our weak and corrupt institutions, but Duterte’s directives and actions are supplanting bad institutions with the worst kind of institutions. Any “second best” way to address bad institutions should translate into the  long-term development of good institutions, not the destruction of good institutions.

 

We welcome the call to investigate the killing of Kian, especially if it is to become a catalyst for the formulation of a better drug policy. The murder of Kian ought not be seen as an isolated case, but rather a piece of the fabric of our society that has been frayed and torn and bloodied. This probe therefore must be a first step in overturning the current violent drug policy, and ensuring that the perpetrators of extra-judicial killings, no matter what position in government they hold, are held accountable.

 

Any investigation must not lead to a whitewash, which will further destabilize our society. Remember, for example, how the whitewashing of the investigation of  Ninoy Aquino’s murder, (his martyrdom which we commemorate on 21 August) further intensified resistance, a resistance that transformed into people power that overthrew the Marcos dictatorship.

To quote President Duterte himself in his tribute to Ninoy Aquino, “up until the very end of his life, he inspired a peaceful revolution.” Let us protect the gains from this peaceful revolution. Fight for peace, fight for justice.

SIGNATORIES:

  1. Michael Alba
  2. Fernando Aldaba
  3. Cristina Morales Alikpala
  4. Felipe Buencamino
  5. Jessica Reyes Cantos
  6. Jenina Joy Chavez
  7. Jo-Ann Latuja Diosana
  8. Ramon Fernan III
  9. Fides Lim
  10. Joseph Lim
  11. Cielo Magno
  12. Arjay Mercado
  13. Victoria Viterbo Quimbo
  14. Rafael Paredes
  15. Rene Raya
  16. Rina Maria Rosales
  17. Joyce Sierra
  18. Filomeno Sta. Ana III
  19. Karla Yu
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