The premise that Duterte is guilty of the alleged ‘extrajudicial killings’ is, in nature based on perception. The intellect perceives based on Duterte’s statements in his speeches. The ever-popular ‘I will kill you.’ Do not destroy my country or ‘I will kill you.’
These words however, according to the speaker himself, do not violate the constitution. Nobody in the constitution that says it is illegal to say it. Nor it states in any bill that it is illegal to threaten people.
So, threatening criminals cannot be a basis of his guilt. Even if he said that he will kill, it doesn’t follow that he would really do it. Unless other information is revealed behind his admission after the crime has been done. Other than that, he cannot be charged with murder.
As he would always say, he did not order the police or the military to shoot a man tied behind his back, kneeling down. That it makes you wonder where the president get that picture in his mind while saying those words? Did this scenario really happen in police encounters? How did criminals’ hands tied behind their backs?
The opposition, regardless of self interest, whenever they theorize based on well-researched articles written by eminent journalists, or based on trust on Matobato and Lascanas testimonies, they would always base Duterte’s guilt on their own instinct. Probably a part inside the bowels of their gut tells that Duterte is the one responsible of, according to reports, for over 7,000 deaths in the country.
Contrary to this perception, Duterte supporters, for example, would argue: who do you sympathize, the innocents who lost lives because of criminals or criminals who commit crimes to innocent people? The argument is like admitting Duterte’s guilt.
The logic of the Duterte supporters is that: it is okay to kill so long they’re criminals. It is not okay for criminals to kill innocent people. Well, the moral is, it is never okay to kill a person, period. To kill a person, be it a criminal or not, is murder. To do it in self defense is a whole different story.
On the other hand, we cannot tell Duterte is guilty because, first, no charge was filed against Duterte yet due to the fact that he is immune to any suit. The president has impunity. Second, no other witness who appeared before the public that can tell that Duterte indeed ordered someone be killed while Duterte is already a president. The allegations against him by Lascanas and Matobato happened in the past, when he was still the mayor of Davao.
Even so, this will yet to be concluded if he really is guilty or not through an impeachment trial, or through proper courts when his term as president is finished.
The trouble is this: Duterte telling the public that he ordered the police to kill criminals should they resist arrest and show violent resistance, opens up to more questions. He goes on to say that he will protect the police and he is prepared to face punishment should he be found guilty. But he keeps on saying again and again that he did not order the police to shoot criminals with hands behind their backs. In short, he is implying that there always has been an encounter when criminals are being killed. As police officers and soldiers were also being killed during encounters.
Whether or not this be his strategy to instill fear to criminals, it confuses the minds of the bright-minded people of our country, the media and the elite. So, to get rid of their confusion, they would conclude that Duterte is very capable to kill and very capable to order to kill.
Let us say, he did not order the killings, but the words ‘do it and I will protect you,’ develops into even much worse scenarios, with or without violent resistance from criminals. Some police might see it as a license to kill a person whichever agenda they may have. Imagine this kind of protection to the experienced men in the police force.
Jim Paredes tried to dare this premise to a young Duterte supporter at EDSA in the recent anniversary: Look at me. Deny your conscience. Lie to yourself.
But Paredes’s guileless showed when he said to the young Duterte supporter at EDSA, is he not responsible for the 7,000 deaths? Paredes might now know in reality that killings always happen in political life. Extrajuducial killings and disappearances were taking place way long before Duterte became president. Duterte even revealed the killings the US have committed in the past, were much worse compared to what is happening in the country right now, according to Duterte. Either way it is wrong to kill.
The opposition wants to imply that killings should be absent on Duterte’s war on drugs. Due process should be followed and there should be no shortcuts. The rationale is like you go to a war and you kill your enemies, you are guilty because you kill your enemies.
Duterte is like burning a house to get rid of the maggots because the villagers did nothing but left their garbage to attract the maggots.
The two theories that contradict each other is way beyond the struggle at hand. The real struggle is unity.
Whichever you position be, you are always on the good side. Our country would have not gotten this far if we citizens have long ago realized that real change is a change within ourselves. Although we differ in opinions, we share the same goal, to make our country great and to make us Filipinos lift up our chins with the rest of the world.
Our country being divided right now is not a battle between who is right and who is wrong. It is a battle for change. A battle for a better country.
A man, as they say, does not choose evil because it is evil, he only mistaken it, the good he seeks.