"When the first drop of blood of the innocent cascades, and the dawn of understanding sets in, no, I won’t say ‘I told you so.’ I, too, shall weep."
The ballooning number of those killed in the war against drugs of the Philippines reminded me of this post I had on Facebook before the election. I deleted this post as soon as the new president was sworn in as respect for the 16 million votes he got which catapulted him in the position. It's a sad world we live in. One that is mostly decided by those in power. Now, six months after being sworn in and more than 6 thousand people were killed including children and innocent bystanders (in his words collateral damage).
I do not intend to sound so apolitical. After all, our Facebook timelines are already blitzed with countless articles and meme’s of this and that candidate. However, just as the suffrage is a right so is the freedom of expression.
Though I did not vote for Duterte, I believe that due respect must be accorded to those who remain strongly convicted that they should vote for him. If there is one thing I have realized reading comments and articles of those who are rooting for him, they really believe he is the most qualified to bring change albeit of the brand of leadership he portrays- that of extra-judicial killings.
Whatever will be the result of the election on Monday, I pray that it will be an honest and peaceful one. It is easy to be unperturbed because I am not in the Philippines but my heart will always be in the land where I was born.
There is probably no other election after martial law regime which seems to be so divisive and so wearying than this election. The spirit of reconciliation is far from sight for friends and families obdurately arguing of their chosen candidates. There is so much hate. There was a time that I was ranting frustrations just because I ardently believe that I was fighting for a great cause. Then, I realized that others are fighting the same.
In light of the different surveys, a part of me has already conceded that Duterte will really win as president. A part of me has conceded that the man who lauded himself as the Davao Death Squad with 1, 000 plus victims will really govern the Philippines. A part of me has conceded that the injustices done to the mothers whose children were taken with a victim as young as nine years old will never get justice. A part of me has accepted that the man who cursed the pope, who made fun of the PWD and LGBT, who said that while in front of the Australian rape victim with slashed throat, thought that, "I was angry because she was raped, that's one thing but she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.", will live in Malacanang (with his ex-wife, common wife, and two other mistresses) for six years. A part of me has conceded that in the spirit of progress that people are pushing, we are willing to brush aside the issues of corruption- lavish gifts, unexplainable bank accounts, undeclared properties, and ambiguous 708 million contractual workers.
A part of me has conceded that the man who claimed he can eradicate crime in 3-6 months will seat in the highest power, that he will change the form of government so he can deliver his cause.
The biggest part of me though is fervently praying that EACH and EVERY policeman in the whole country, is clean and just in exercising power. Remember, Duterte may be the tough presidentiable that you think but he is not a superman. He can not be in the 7, 100 islands of the Philippines killing criminals like he promised. Shooting them like what you have probably imagined. To borrow the mayor’s lines laced with profanities and populist tirades:
“Am I the Davao Death Squad? True. That is true.”
“You know when I become president, I warn you. I don’t covet the position. If I become president, the 1,000 will become 50,000.”
“One shot in the head will do it.”
“I will increase the salary of the policemen.”
“I will kill all of you.”
“I will pardon myself for mass murder.”
“I will also extend pardons to security forces who abuse human rights.”
“I will issue 1,000 pardons a day,”
“Pardon given to Rodrigo Duterte for the crime of multiple murder, signed Rodrigo Duterte.”
“If I'm the president, I will declare a revolution. I will rebel against my own government and close down everything except your businesses and make a body to take care of your expenses.”
“Barilin mo na agad kesa kasuhan pa. Tatagal lang ang kaso.”
“Expect more dead pushers when I’m president, build extra funeral parlors, please.”
“Diyan mo makikita tataba yong mga isda sa Manila bay. Diyan ko kayo itatapon.”
“I’ll pardon cops who kill criminals, civilians in line of duty.”
"I say let's kill five criminals every week, so they will be eliminated,"
Please pray that you don’t have brothers, uncles, husband, father, friends and relatives who might be mistaken as criminals. Don’t claim that they are not doing anything wrong. Remember, as the mayor said, there will be no due process of law. Remember, not all those killed by Davao Death Squad are criminals some are mistaken identity.
Sources (No ABS-CBN here and mostly international news publication/ networks only):