Aug 30, 2016

    Mr President, Reign of Terror can also be Reign of Error

    IN A recent editorial cartoon on The New York Times website, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is shouldering a missile launcher, with "War on Drugs" imprinted on its side.

    He is taking aim at an apple positioned on the head of a luckless figure, with "Philippines" written on his shirt and his back to a tree.

    The allusion is of course to Wilhelm Tell, the hero of Swiss legend who successfully hit an apple placed on his young son's head, by order of a tyrant.

    Of course, with a modern weapon such as depicted in the cartoon, the apple will be obliterated but so will the man.

    So far in Duterte's war, the body count has been close to 2,000 casualties and rising.

    Who have been the victims?

    Mostly from the marginalised and the powerless folks. Killed not just by cops but also vigilantes, for being suspected drug dealers and/or addicts.

    The presumption of innocence until proven guilty has disappeared.

    Name and shame is the new game in town. Apologists for the government point to legions being shamed into turning themselves in to the authorities as proof that the war on drugs is a success.

    That being so, Duterte should consider expanding his war on drugs to other areas of public life and governance.

    Thus, he might encourage traffic enforcers to rid our mean streets of suspected traffic violators by shooting them on the spot.

    To root out corruption in government, as he has promised, list publicly all suspects.

    Name names, Mr President!

    Anyone living high off the fat of the land at these government agencies: Feed them to the vigilantes!

    If they were allowed their day in court, we would never get anywhere, as you, a former prosecutor, so rightly imply.

    While you're at it, Mr President, you might as well add a list of suspected crooks in Congress, even those allied with you.

    Just look to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution as an inspirational guide.

    Of course, by and large, the Reign of Terror was also a Reign of Error. Which seems to be happening now, and you don't wish this to continue, do you, Mr President?

    For the error of taking an innocent life can never be rectified.