Crimes and human rights-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Monday, February 20, 2012
BETWEEN crime and human rights easily the choice is one's right to live in peace and quiet, dignity, pursuit to happiness and well being. Crimes and criminals have no place in a civilized society and therefore have to be abhorred and condemned in no uncertain terms.
Acting Mayor Rody Duterte recently called on all police station commanders in Davao City to confront them with the rising incidents of crime mostly involving minors. It has become an established fact that juvenile delinquents are being used by adult hoodlums to carryout criminal activities. It is a classic paradox that instead of deterring minors from being drawn into crime, the fact is that the (Kiko) Pangilinan law has encouraged them to live a life of crime knowing full well that they are not subject to punishment. Despite this inequity, Pangilinan who is an incumbent senator has lent a deaf ear to local government officials who raised the decibel of protests against the impact of the law and begging that this be amended. The senator is not prepared to revisit the law which was copied from New York state. He ignored the fact that the same law was later abolished because it turned out to be a shelter for criminal elements in the Philippines. Kiko Pangilinan remains insensitive to the negative influence of his law as he and his family are shielded from criminals, enjoying the security details that come with his position as senator.
But enough is enough. Duterte has given a marching order to the police force to run after criminal elements. "Shape up or ship out," he says. That's a strong message to the police which is now facing the challenge of going after the lawless elements. He even went to the extent of saying that should the law enforcers tangle with the law, then he will assume full responsibility for all their acts, for as long as these are in the conduct of their duty.
Even before the sound of Duterte's sermon to the police could die down a nurse was mercilessly shot in broad daylight by suspects who were riding in tandem. This is unacceptable. Already I hear quarters demanding for the return of the Davao Death Squads. But DDS cannot be resurrected because it is a figment of the imagination of politicians who imputes the killings of drug pushers and members of the criminal syndicates in the city.
But, since most of the recent crimes are drug-related, the renewed campaign against illicit drugs might result to the extermination of those involve in the trade to include the pushers. This normally is the consequence of the drive against drug-crimes when the drug lords eliminate those who might lead to his identity.
Crimes, among them akyat-bahay and bag snatching like what happened to the nurse, are likely drug related. The suspects, many of them minors, are forced to do criminal act to sustain their drug dependency. In the case of the nurse victim who was shot several times, the gun wielder is apparently suffering from the symptomatic mental freakiness like one who is high on drugs.
The human rights activists for certain are also on the alert for who will be the first and the next victim of the policemen. As Mayor Duterte puts it, these human rights watchers are just around the bend waiting for the policeman to fight it out with his quarry and if perchance kill the suspect make a report of another human rights violation to donor foundations.
Duterte hits the nail right on the head when he says that. HRW can even twist his counsel and cautions to minors: "Ayaw mo'g apil-apil diha kay basi'g mamatay mo og dili oras." Translated by a New York City-based Human Rights Watch who adopted the warped translation of the statement from the beneficiary foundations, the caution of Duterte came out to mean: "You can die any time in Davao City".
What is undeniably true however is that Davao City can indeed be a very dangerous place for criminals. After the death of the innocent nurse, which will never merit a line of concern from HRW and the Commission on Human Rights, the next victim will likely be one whom the human rights activists want to protect.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 21, 2012.