These days, to speak against extrajudicial killings is tantamount to speaking against the President and his 16 million supporters, which includes friends and some family members. This results in brothers and sisters thinking bad about, and speaking against us. To a considerable amount of people, we are just noisy, self-righteous brats who do nothing but complain.
Meanwhile, last night, a brother of my friend just got murdered, “execution-style” outside his home. The gravity of the situation is getting more and more undeniable and it’s getting closer to home.
Though I ache for lost friendships, my heart is pained infinitely more by the evil that is being allowed to flourish. By people who continue to stand by it, even.
Some may argue that not everyone is willing to fight for this, afraid to risk relationships or lives.
Yet, as I read through the history of the Holocaust, where the mass murders were on a “systematic, industrial level”, thousands of ordinary people took part in the genocide. At first, the Jews were “just” discriminated against–non-Jew neighbors no longer saying hi, and their businesses being burned down. It took years, but we all knew the ending which they aptly called, “The Final Solution”. Six million Jews were killed, with the aid of ordinary citizens who believed that these people, including children, were sub-humans.
These “ordinary people” were not forced into the mass murder program. In fact, there were recounts of groups of people being asked if they didn’t want to take part, and in one group, only 15 stepped up. More than 500 willingly joined that day to help the SS institute their “cleansing programs”.
And here we are in the Philippines, propelled by the same anger the Germans were, and lead by the same rhetorically-charismatic leader who promises change, and who kills without reservation. People applauding Duterte’s admission of killing, even while he was Mayor, and promising to kill all the addicts were reminiscent of Germans waving the Swastika while cheering the Nazis.
Truth is, were ALL subject to this temptation of thinking that we’re higher, better than others. Especially if were coming from an angry place. And I, too, was an angry and frustrated citizen and I had no faith in our judiciary system. There was so much wanting in our lives as Filipinos. Basic services did not work, corruption was rampant and politicians were blatant thieves. I wanted change as well. And I wanted to blame someone, and show some political will. I can completely understand why Duterte won.
But after six months, when the most prominent feature of his administration is the snuffing out of more than 6,000 lives amidst cheering and applause, I do not understand why he is not being stopped. Worse yet, he is being supported and applauded. I am disturbingly alarmed. My heart has not stopped beating fast because I know, instinctively that there is something gravely wrong. This is something more than human error. This is pure, intentional, insidious evil.
When his administration allowed the honoring of the late dictator in the place of heroes, it’s like he paid homage to an old evil, cementing its place in history with a lie.
There is something sinister going on here. And evil, though it may deceive, will always be marked by telltale signs: Does it bring malice? Does it kill? Does it steal? Does it destroy?
When one looks at the people who have staunchly opposed him, like De Lima, wasn’t Duterte the first one to mention that De Lima had an affair with her driver, thereby leading to the most malicious interrogation the public ever had to witness on live TV? They practically stripped her naked and humiliated her in front of thousands.
Kill? We have thousands accounted for, including children.
Steal? We have the office of the President allocated with 17 billion more than the previous administration’s. He has an account whose amount he refuses to disclose. He has allied himself with the country’s biggest thief family and has cleared GMA, one of his financiers, on all of her graft and corruption charges.
Destroy? Hasn’t this been a recurrent theme in his speech? “I will destroy you!” And he has done so with thousands of lives, and with the truth. He is seeking an alliance with two countries renowned for destroying lives and environment for the sake of “nationalism” and financial gain–China and Russia.
Is this the change that we signed up for?!
This is more than just bitter complaints against the administration, or being paranoid. And this is most certainly NOT a write-up by a “yellowtard”. I couldn’t care less about the Aquinos or the Roxases right now. The Philippines is in jeopardy. The Filipinos are going down a path where it will be very hard to turn back. If history tells us anything, hundreds of thousands more lives will be lost, and our soul will be the biggest collateral damage in this whole crusade.
We may have wanted change, and we may not have chosen evil. But in this pivotal moment in history, when we stand by and let others die, we are no different than the ones who pulled the trigger. When we stand by as he let others believe that killing others is NECESSARY, we are willingly revising truth to how it suits us. As we carry our children to bed tonight, sighing to ourselves just how “safe” we feel now because there are no more “salot ng lipunan”, try just for five seconds to put yourself in one of the 6,000 victims’ shoes. One mom or dad won’t be kissing his/her child ever again. Empathy–that’s a God-given trait to humans. If we have lost it too, then we can all but say goodbye to humanity.
As there is a dark side to humanity, there is also a good side. There is that side that clings on to hope. Hope in truth that there is a higher one who is sovereign, and who will not let evil win. But, we must turn our back on despair, for that is the opposite of hope. Hope or despair will lead our thoughts and action. But we have to choose, for light cannot coexist with darkness. There can only be one reigning in our hearts, in our lives–good or evil, hope or despair. Our humanity depends on it.