The choice is for or against our country
Ifirst learned about the danger of narcopolitics in a conversation with Retired Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus, former chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) some years ago. He was then already warning all and sundry that its dangers were growing rapidly unless it was tackled seriously using the powers of the state.
Corpus knows what he speaks of because he used to be on top of the drugs issue as chief of the ISAFP. At the time when I met him, the war on drugs was not a central issue in our politics. We knew it in bits and pieces and there was no leader who would drag it out in the open as a platform of government. He watched how it grew and should now feel vindicated for his warnings.
He has recently come forward to say that he fully supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“Nung nasa ISAFP ako, inumpisahan namin yung war on drugs. We campaigned against narco-politics,” Corpus told reporters in a weekly Kapihan.
He said “We were not able to do what the Duterte administration has accomplished so far in its campaign.”
“Hindi namin nagawa yung ginagawa ngayon ng presidente. Look what happened, lalong lumaganap ang problema,” Corpus said.
He said he supports the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign “100 percent.”
“Kung hindi natin gagawin ito, we will end up worse than Colombia,” he added.
Corpus used the illegal drug trade in Colombia which reached its peak between 1993 and 1999 when it was the world’s largest producer of cocaine and one of the major exporters of heroin at that time.
To date, it has been a fight for numbers. Depending on their position on the war on drugs they choose whatever numbers suit their position, more extrajudicial killings if you were against Duterte and his war on drugs. This position comes from local opposition the Liberals who want to return to power even if they did not do anything about it. It grew and grew especially in the last administration without our even noticing it. There were politicians who were even in cahoots with drug lords for their campaign funds.
Those who wish Duterte to succeed like Corpus et al use figures of what this government has done. It is succeeding because it has dragged the problem to the center of Duterte’s government agenda. More and more Filipinos have become aware of the drug problem. The figures from this side are 1,377 drug suspects and 22,503 arrested in 23,549 police operations. The figures come from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
There is another side to Duterte’s war on drugs and that is how it is being used to put down his government by the discredited Liberal Party who did nothing about the problem and yet now wants to return to power.
They are aided by international groups mostly from the US and other Western countries who are against Duterte for a different reason. They don’t like his separation from the US and the West. He said it bluntly without any pretension for niceties. I saw and heard him say it in China when he declared Philippines’ separation from US domination. He was wildly applauded by both Filipinos and non-Filipinos. But to soften the blow, he added that what he meant was to declare Philippine independence and that his government would now deal with other countries whenever it was in our interest.
I am committed to the success of this government. And so an overwhelming number of Filipinos.
If it is a question of taking sides between the universal language on human rights from former colonialists and the success of Duterte’s government in his war on drugs, I am on the side of what is good for our country. The two are not irreconcilable. Accusations of extra judicial killings must have a specificity. Each case must be taken on its own and put under the microscopic rules of law and evidence. Figures coming from this side come in unbelievable thousands but does not specify how and what the figures represent.
Their figures have lately ranged from to 12,000 and 14,000 that are then repeated and passed on by sections of international media without any details of how each case happened. Instead they use one or two cases and then use these as the basis of their huge figures as if these were one and the same.
That is using “language as a source of power, and perhaps especially so within the sphere of politics.” The team up of international NGOs and Liberals who want to return to power can be a formidable opponent. It has an infrastructure and money to use against Duterte’s government. As already written about by other opinion makers it has become a political tool. Aquino and Drilon may have support from international NGOs but Duterte and his government has an unbeatable advantage despite what SWS survey says – he has the support of the Filipino people.
Human rights has become important but it needs to be clarified as a discipline for international politics. But it can also backfire on those who use it for political ends. It especially true of the Philippines as a former colony of the United States.
Despite the human rights tradition having originated in the West and based on Western values, it should not be translated into a universal standard.
It has become a commonplace strategy to appeal to human rights in order to make a case for political change. This strategy is also what is behind powerful countries interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.
Filipinos must choose whether to be on the side of their government or foreign interference.
Human rights have been politicized and are being used to advance power. What is presented in defense of universal human rights is in fact done for selfish reasons.
This is why I address the issue as a choice between being for or against our own country.