THE name “Kian” had been trending and has become the main topic in the news for the past week. He was portrayed by the media as the minor victim in the recent major drug operation of the Philippine National Police. The story immediately sparked outrage by the critics of the President against his war on illegal drugs. Known national TV reporters posted personal status on their social media account using the hashtag #justiceforkian. Some sympathizers overreacted to extent of “unfriending” those who do not share the same thoughts.
Let me be very clear. I am against the abuse of authority. I am against murder. If the officers who operated on that particular incident were really guilty of killing an innocent, they should be held accountable.
But I am also against politicking at the expense of the corpse of the young man. Capitalizing on this issue to get the sympathy of the people who mostly are not reacting violently but patiently waiting for the investigations of different agencies. If these politicians are really sincere, they should have also cried for justice to all those minors, women and senior citizens who got raped or killed by the criminals involved in drugs. These critics should also offer assistance to the family of those police officers who got killed and injured during operations or encounter.
Let me share to you part of Mark Lopez’ “Confession of a Killer.”
In his article, Lopez clarified that he wanted to be brutally honest with the issue. He does not feel the need to condemn outright the killing. He then asked “You decry the loss of humanity” You weep for the loss of life? Seriously? So did you cry when innocent lives are lost?”
Lopez added, “When farmers were gunned down because they want rice in a very iconic twist of fate, did you shout “Himagsikan!”? When a senior citizen collapsed due to heart attack because she was subjected to “tanim bala” did you rally your community to go to EDSA? When an 18-year-old architecture student was stabbed 11 times by two drug addled robbers, because he refused to part with his school bag, did you visit his wake?”
Mark Lopez went on about murder in all walks of life and said, “So here we are trying to feign righteous indignation and rage over the death of a teenager, and conveniently using his mortality to raise our so-called humanity.”
Arnel Patawaran, a lifestyle editor of a national broadsheet and author of “Write Here Write Now” shared a special conversation between him and National Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil Jose.
The national artist asked Patawaran, “Why do you like Duterte?”
The editor replied, “I don’t know if I like him, I liked him when I met him, but like is not the reason I support him. I’m not sure he is a good leader but through him I realize what we need is not exactly a good leader. What we need is a leader who inspires (or agitates) us to want something good for our country and countrymen to the point that we are now fighting among ourselves in pursuit of that good because we have dissenting opinions about what is good for us.”
He then asked Manong Frankie what he thought about Duterte. He didn’t say he liked him. He didn’t say he disliked him, either. Jose then said, “Look, I never met the man. But he has put us on the road to change. I just don’t know if he is leading us to a civil war or a revolution.”
Patawaran asked the difference between the two.
“A civil war divides us, a revolution, ultimately unites us,” Manong F. Sionil said.
“But Manong Frankie, don’t all revolutions devour their own children?” asked Patawaran.
Jose replied, “That’s why the challenge is to reduce the casualties to a minimum. But, you know, nation-building is a painful process. It is painful to be a nation. Some people think we are headed there at last.” With these exchanges, he felt relieved and terrified at the same time, but he then realized that “it is in this context that I understand why it feels like, as a country, we are going through a wringer, shaken, stirred, whipped to shape, battered and bruised, jolted out of our centuries-long reverie that had served not the nation, only a few people in it.”
After posting this gem on his social media account, international model Sarah Meier commented, “Bless you for always helping me find better words. Since moving to New York, I’ve been asked constantly about Duterte, and have struggled to explain the nuances of why outrage is not automatic for many of our people.”
If a different candidate won the presidency last 2016, how would he or she handle the crisis in Marawi City? How would he/she eradicate the problem on drugs?
Those who oppose will continue to make propaganda against the president. They will always find fault and declare that blood is also in the hands of those who continue to support Duterte. But who’s buying it? People are tired of the old traditional politics. Deep in our hearts we feel that this administration is moving us somewhere. There will be inconvenience along the journey. Try to study Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew. Change will not be a walk in the park. But we know somehow that Duterte will never back down on the challenges our country is facing.