One can simply link the term justice to humanity. Yet, in a more unusual and complex scenario, they could barely go together. One can favor justice over humanity, the other favors the latter over the former. It does not matter what is more important but what the situation requires.
I am talking about intensified extrajudicial killings where over 5,800 presumably drug pushers and users was killed to date. This is for the goal of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to terminate any illicit drug proliferation and transactions in the country.
Sometimes, it’s a big question for me why justice for the drug victims meant bloody fights, gun wars, and worst, leaders-subordinates conflict and global outrage. I tried to understand that drug menace in the country is alarming. It’s terrible, thus, the need to shrug it off the system. Horrifying as it can be, the uncontrollable rise in the death of the presumed drug pushers are still on-going. Even innocent and complacent people get so sick and tired as it is an issue that cannot simply escape one’s attention.
This is where the perplexity of the dire situation starts to bug me—that for every pack of chemical drugs, a person’s death takes place. I get it, for a mother, a father, for his or her brothers and sisters, this is inhumane because they are blinded by their love for their family. As punishable as their acts can be, taking other people’s lives is definitely not an epitome of humanity and should not be practiced.
On the other side, who else sparked President’s war on drugs? Who provoked the gun wars? The bloody fights? I learned to dig on the problem. And yes, I once stand by the president in his all-out campaign to eradicate and totally ban drugs in the country. Does that make me a bad person? Someone who lacks benevolence and who favors the bloody over the peaceful means? If you really think so, condemn me now. But it won’t change what I believe that saturating or shedding villainy with toleration makes a person a bastard, a traitor. Those who believe in the wrong meaning of humanity and those who do not really know how to be humane is selfish.
I admit that I had that kind of judgment until I browsed for photos depicting extrajudicial killings. They are like scenes of films no one would ever wanted to see. In fact, I would like to throw eggs and tomatoes on them except they are real. They happen so often. This is a reality no one can turn off with just the use of a remote control. Science and technology won’t help either. It pains and break hearts that I suddenly understand that everyone has conscience and that they understand that they always have options: to be a hero or villain. Whatever choice they have, it could be for the sake of the ones they love.
Does this make me a hypocrite? To suddenly bend my belief, I know, is cowardice. But to suddenly accept that each of us deserves a second chance, it is valiance. I haven’t lost anyone for years to say I understand those families who have lost ones but I would like to place myself on their shoes. What if someone I care about deals drugs? Would I forever hate him for that? Would that make me love him less? Even those who lost mercy in themselves are humans. Even the Lord forgives the most terrible sin. So who are we, really, to place ourselves in the throne of a King?
In a democratic country where everyone are free to express both true and false thoughts, these extrajudicial killings deprived them from speaking, from fighting. They are deprived of the due process every citizen of the country is entitled to and the chance to surrender and change their ways. This is to boldly say that to give judgment and practice unjust jurisdiction to those whose souls are improperly sentenced, tarnished the law.
Every time I see blood on the front pages of bulletins, on televisions or radios, I couldn’t think of regretting casting my vote to President Duterte or imputing these killings to his governance, but instead, let the day come that justice prevails for “humanity”, especially to deaths under investigation.