The surreal surge of events happening across the world has showcased flaws within the law enforcement systems — with the recent death of George Floyd provoking outrage across the world, leading to protests and riots. Let us not forget our own, from the likes of Winston Ragos, who was violently killed for breaching quarantine protocols, to the thousands who fell under the “war on drugs” campaign. In the viral video of Ragos — a former military man was shot twice in the back, despite the witnesses in the area telling the cops that he had a mental illness — the cops later claimed that they had found a gun in the sling bag Ragos was wearing.
Some pointed out that the policemen had enough chances to subdue him without the use of violence with his back turned to them. Had it been really necessary for such escalation to be justified under the excuse of enforcing quarantine protocols — protocols designed to keep people safe — is a notion justified by some but has left me in disgust. Nevertheless, The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has concluded that the policemen planted evidence and on June 4, filed complaints of murder, perjury, and planting of evidence against the officers. This was done after reports of contradicting witness accounts were raised. A question is left in my mind on the kind of system we have in place. Are we building a force of policemen with the goal of societal peace? Or are we breeding an army willing to subdue and oppress?
On the drug-war campaign, The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) found that guns bearing the same serial numbers were recovered multiple times across different scenarios of supposed “nanlaban” cases. Each handgun is found to have been recovered in at least two independent crime scenes, and two appearing in five crime scenes. These were only from 25 operations examined. The official figure of police killings is around 5,000, and even that figure has been criticized as being “downplayed” by the UN Human Rights Council as well as the Supreme Court. Regardless of the true number, I find this inhumane. How low of a society have we become to normalize the sheer number of killings under a democratic system for peace? As Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. says, “But the use of unnecessary force or wanton violence is not justified when the fulfillment of their duty as law enforcers are effected otherwise,” in a decision where PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda, and PO1 Jerwin Cruz were found guilty in the murder of Kian Delos Santos, a victim of the campaign last 2017.
To those who support and justify the thousands of killings, would they have changed their stance if it was them, or their close family or friend, having to face down the barrel of the gun? I personally do not label every policeman as being corrupt, nor do I say that every victim is innocent. But I do question the severity of the means and punishments put down upon these people by the same people who promise to serve and protect. Do they truly serve and protect the people? Or do they serve and protect their motives?
LAYOUT BY: Chester P. Cortez