BULLYING which involves physical or psychological assault against a person is both immoral and illegal.
In three separate videos that spread on the Internet last week, a teenager is seen kicking and punching a fellow student: inside the Ateneo de Manila University toilet, beating a second student in a fight and forcing a third to kneel in submission and touch one of his shoes.
The national condemnation of the heinous act was swift. But while others offered a soft approach to the problem, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. made a dramatic but illegal proposal: “The only way to teach a bully is to beat him senseless. Psychiatric help? He should get traction.”
Perhaps Secretary Locsin has conveniently forgotten that bullying at present is just a manifestation of the lawlessness that has engulfed the country as a result of a culture of impunity. The secretary is guilty of hypocrisy because the Duterte administration of which he is a part, is considered to be the top bully in so far as it deals with its critics and the advocates of human rights.
Sen. Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, has been incarcerated for almost two years on trumped-up charges based on the polluted testimonies of convicted criminals. Sen. Sonny Trillanes, another arch-critic of the President, has also been a victim of bullying through malicious accusations and the obnoxious revival of his amnesty proceedings.
Top officials of the Roman Catholic Church have not been spared from presidential bullying. Caloocan Bishop Pablo David, a staunch critic of Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, never capitulated when President Duterte threatened him with death.
No other President in our nation’s history has mastered the art of bullying to intimidate critics and yet meets the absurd applause from fanatic crowds.
This New Year, we must resolve to reverse this frightful trend with our collective vigilance. –Democrito C. Barcenas