The question is something hard to resist asking in the face of the intensified war against illegal drugs waged by President Rodrigo Duterte in the country. As most media reports present it, some elements of the government and human rights advocates claim extra-judicial killings are being carried out across the Philippines to eradicate drug lords and drug users.
As well as the ongoing Senate inquiry, the criticisms leveled against President Duterte’s actions have sparked debates both here and abroad, and in social media. But is the President’s way really to blame for the many drug-related deaths?
In a blog published last September 4, Bro. Eli Soriano argued why it is not wise to immediately jump into conclusion that President Duterte must be held liable or answerable to the killings allegedly related to the Philippine war on drugs.
“There is an international outcry about what are allegedly extra-judicial killings in Duterte’s war against illicit drugs,” said Bro. Eli in the blog. “I say “allegedly” because these are not considered a fact.”
Finding the Logic
With the title “Judging the Killings: Not to Blame Duterte but Sum up the Truth,” the international televangelist and award-winning radio-television host’s new blog told readers why it it is important to apply logical reasons before giving comments and criticisms about the war on drugs by the Philippine Chief Executive.
To lay down the context of his argument about the debate around extra-judicial killings and human rights, Bro. Eli first related the lessons from the biblical story of the difficult case that needed King Solomon’s wise and logical thinking.
According to Bro. Eli, “the fact is, there were two babies, one was dead and one was alive.” The two women in the story in the Book of 1 Kings were both claiming to be the biological mother of the live baby.
The televangelist said that King Solomon used logic to render judgment. “To solve and to render judgment in the seemingly difficult case, Solomon used logic,” wrote Bro. Eli.
Delicadeza in Reporting
As Bro. Eli noted, the media need to be more careful in their use of the term ‘extrajudicial killings.’
“Extra-judicial killings” must mean that the ones doing the killings are people in power!” explained the televangelist, then added, “It is most certainly lopsided to term “extrajudicial killing” in killings done by the criminals themselves!”
Moreover, the blogging preacher held that killings which emerged before Duterte officially took office in June cannot be blamed on him. He wrote: “How unfair it can be to attribute all the killings that happened since May 10 of this year to the administration of the seating President.”
The televangelist further stressed that both local and international press need to be more careful and to “practice a sense of delicadeza” when reporting that the president is the one to blame for any wrongdoings in society.
According to Bro. Eli, he believes that “all the killings that started since May 10 must not be imputed on the Duterte administration.”
He further added that what the Constitution indicated is clear and precise, “that Duterte took the reigns of power only on the last day of June this year,” hence, it is illogical to blame the president for all the reported killings that were allegedly caused by the war on drugs.
“How could anyone in his proper state of logic, conscience and mind, think that those who were killed in the last regime are to be blamed on the government of President Duterte? Isn’t this the implication we get from reports of both local and international press today? If one cannot reckon the beginning – and the time boundaries – very certainly he cannot also be sure of what will be the end,” Bro. Eli wrote.
Bro. Eli further wrote what could be possible reasons on the rise in the incident of killings.
The likely reasons for the killings that the author wrote include: criminals killing each other to protect their interests, police force trying to defend the Constitution, killings as a result of those who run amok thinking there is no future for their vices and illegal activities in the new regime, and killing, even the innocents, just to implicate others.
Bro. Eli further added: “If the answer to all these questions is yes, then it is illogical to blame and count the numbers of those who were killed and have died from May 10 to this day to the Duterte administration … How could you lump the numbers and attribute it to one and only one cause? Worse, you go forward and term them as ‘extra-judicial killings.’”
Deterrent to Crime
Bro. Eli explained that when those involved in the illegal drugs would see that pushers and users are being prosecuted and not tolerated, “they would think in pursuing their vices that are most certainly stupid. “Punishment is a deterrent to crime.”
While Bro. Eli thought human rights is a “very strong fiber in the fabric of Philippine jurisprudence,” it has its limits because, “it is also a part of the law of the land that while there are clear clauses that protect animals, there is no law or section nor article in the constitution that provides that to protect animal life, we have to sacrifice the life of a human being.”
“In the Bible, there are people who cannot be considered humans to enjoy human rights, let alone, convicted drug lords and pushers!” elaborated the Filipino preacher.
To make this point, the televangelist used the Second Book of Peter, 2:12, which reads: “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;”
Support for the President
In his previous blog articles, the blogging preacher has time and again showed his support to the Duterte Administration for its war against illegal drugs. One of his blogs discussed that hope and renewal is possible through Divine intervention. He has also written about true stories of transformations of former drug addicts.
(Video: UNTV Hataw Balita)
The preacher has also in one blog asked President Duterte to name the religious group that is a conduit to the entry of illegal drugs and prostitutes in the maximum security prisons in the Philippines. The blog’s title is “Dear Pres. Duterte: Please Name Religious Group Conduit of Illegal Drugs Inside Prison.”
The hashtag for the latest blog #JudgingTheKillings reached the No. 2 spot in the Philippine Twitter Trends on early Sunday morning.
Mr. Controversy, the moniker Bro. Eli uses in writing his blog, publishes an article every week discussing issues that range from religion, society and politics. He shares his blog articles on his personal, as well as the Controversy Extraordinary, social media accounts.
Written by: Ma. Therese Quita, RN
Illustration: Paulo Gaviola