Yesterday was the first SONA under the new President Rody Duterte. And the internet, as usual, is polarized by the speech he made along with its script and adlibs. One of the biggest thrusts of his political agenda is eliminating the drug addicts in the country with a very aggressive strategy. My Twitter newsfeed is filled with people who are for and against the unorthodox methods of killing drug addicts who don’t surrender.
As someone who graduated from college and as a Catholic, I am not supposed to be happy about the barbaric #CardboardJustice and slew of extrajudicial killings that this may spur on. As a former neighbor of a drug addict who habitually beats his pregnant wife and starves his little children, I secretly looked forward to the cleanup drive espoused by this administration even if I did not vote for the man during the May elections.
There. I finally said it out loud. I looked at the viral photo of the wife crying over her husband’s dead body. And I do not feel anything. Maybe I should be alarmed?
I did not read about drugs in textbooks. I was not insulated from them. On a random day in my old home in Caloocan, my mom would tell me that a drug addict tricycle driver would come up to her and ask for Php 200 pesos from her. I would see neighbors on a high and stabbing each other and being dragged by the barangay tanod. I always had to go home early because if I walked in a dark alley, I may not turn up safe and sound. This isn’t Game of Thrones. This is real life.
I need not go far, in fact. Just one wooden wall away from the place I used to live, we had a drug addict there. My cousin was stupid enough to marry one of the most notorious drug addicts in the neighborhood. He gave her three children, a miserable life, and a constant black eye and other bloody handiwork on her face arms and legs. The “design” was so glaring and we often hear it when he imprints it on her body because we were only separated by a wooden wall.
Sometimes she would knock at our door and beg for food for her kids. She had to give birth during her 6th month of pregnancy. She had zero prenatal checkups and she only eats once per day. She would walk in broad daylight and one time, the guy even kicked her publicly in front of the neighbors. The premature child almost died and was in an incubator for weeks due to malnutrition, fetal distress, and many other complications.
Most nights, we could not sleep when the man is on a drug-induced rage and we hear him kicking her, screaming at her, spewing expletives at her. Did I tell you that they have two other children that are affected by this? They also get beaten up regularly. These are kids. A toddler girl and a 7-year-old, I think. My niece and nephew, to be exact.
“Report him to the police! Complain for violence against women and children. Go to the barangay.” That’s what most people would say. However, the guy had a history of stabbing his own relatives with a kitchen knife. Even if we already pushed my cousin to sign up for a blotter, she was conditioned to accept the beatings and sometimes we feel like she is even actively looking for the pain.
Also, if we meddled too much, we only live next door and we do not have a well-paid security guard to intervene if he decides to get his kitchen knife and stab us for meddling in their affairs.
Sometimes I want to ask people who advise against this killings: Have you ever lived with a drug addict? Talked to one? Saw one in your neighborhood and be close enough to be stabbed anytime on a random occasion?
Because I live just one wooden thin wall away from one. This was not Forbes Park, after all. And we are not from some prominent family. I wanted to rat him out. But I always ask myself: Can I still get my intestines back in my tummy if that guy randomly decides to pick them out with a knife? I am not perfect as peach but I am very much attached to my body parts most of the time.
I watch the news recently and see the cardboards and see the dead drug addicts. I feel neither outrage nor happiness. I feel bad for the innocent student who died in the line of the siege.
Call me evil or names, but I was secretly wishing that one day, I would see that guy neighbor’s name in the list of the dead reported in the news. I even contemplated calling up the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency directly to volunteer his name or sign him up for the next round of arrests. But my Catholic conscience keeps holding me back.
Sadly, I heard from relatives that my
idiot cousin took him to Masbate and saved his life from the current cleanup drive in the barangay. Among the reported deaths, his was the only one I genuinely looked forward to hearing. My cousin basically carried her torture device with her and dragged her poor kids along with her poor life decisions. The beating and bloody tattoos on her body and starvation continues to this day.
Is the ending happy? It’s not. Welcome to the thug life.
Sometimes, I fantasize about calling up the police in Masbate to tip them about his whereabouts and finally hear him erased from the face of the earth.
I am not saying that it’s right that people are turning up dead. I am just saying that it’s much easier for people to cry and whine on their social media accounts about “human rights violations” when they are not neighbors with a dangerous type of drug addict, when it’s not damaging their families, and when it’s not directly robbing them precious hours of sleep in the middle of the night.
All of them sheltered people can say “Oh, it’s wrong. It’s diabolical. It’s bloody murder.” And then they sleep in their air-conditioned rooms after, ensconced by their sheltered neighborhood.
If I am going to be completely honest, I don’t mind seeing the dangerous drug addicts wiped out.
This will deeply upset human rights apologists. Perhaps I have been made too jaded by my experiences. Fortunately, I am not in a position of power or political influence to make my opinions count. I am luckily a nobody and I do not have to make value judgments that affect a country. I can only blog about my thoughts. I am not some high profile journalist who will be shot for my opinion. So many hotshots are so quick to tell us about human rights when in fact, they haven’t lived near a murderous drug addict to see what it’s really like.
During yesterday’s SONA, when President Duterte said not to use human rights as an excuse to destroy the country, I wanted to bang my fist “YES!” in total agreement to that statement. He knows what they are and what they do to get their drug fix. Former presidents with their silver spoons on their mouths and their golden slew of bodyguards have no idea how these drug addicts operate. Of course, there are sosyal social users of the drugs in the rich circles. I haven’t seen them kill yet. Their high education probably gives them some sort of decency while they were drugging themselves.
I was mainly more exposed to the vicious types who don’t have money and can kill people randomly when they don’t get their shabu supply. You know, the ones who don’t eat three square meals per day.
There were also other things I liked. The departure from the stupid exercise of making the red carpet look like an Oscars awarding event was a welcome sight. People actually looked business-like. It was not an eye sore to watch that kind of austerity after all the pompous displays previous SONAs have done in the past.
Another part of his speech was about providing mandatory finance education to the OFWs, a thing which I truly wished my mother had before when she was in Saudi. There was that thing about not having to wait an eternity for government transactions. And then there was that thing where he began his speech about not finger pointing from past administration and wasting people’s tine.
I do not like everything he does, but I like those things.
Some of the armchair critics from the sosyal universities post-SONA said that there was no macro-economic policy. But he spoke to the masses in a manner we can understand. Improvements to the poor were instigated. Protocol of pomposity was broken. Rallyists were allowed near the complex without bloodshed. He spoke of providing comfort and basic services. And based on his track record in Davao City, it seems like he can actually deliver those things. In spite of me not voting for the man, I came to respect him for that speech. I came to respect the peaceful turnout. I came to respect the business-like approach. In a month, he has done so much more than what other people have done during an entire term. And the results don’t lie. It’s not a perfect administration. But there are results.
Those are just my impressions. Some people will say it’s a dumb assessment. That’s fine. We all speak our own truths based on our experiences in life. And this is where my experiences got me. I do plan to read up more on economic policies so that I can appreciate the rants of friends with their neoliberal upbringing. I know that I may have this opinion and this can be wrong to nurture in the long-term. But this is where I am now, for now.