Amidst the Crisis of Criminal Justice: UP Political Society Assays Duterte’s War on Drugs and Crime
Campaigning for change, Filipinos were promised a country of peace and order by the former Davao City Mayor, now the President, Rodrigo Duterte. And keeping true to his vision, alongside his rock, Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, set forth an aggressive campaign against drugs and crime. One by one, dead bodies of alleged drug criminals grazed the headlines. A horrifying purge transformed into reality as blood were splashed along our very streets, with duct tape and cardboard, bearing words of ironic vigilantism as numbers of extra judicial killings and summary executions continue to rise up. As of August 1, almost two months into the presidency, the number of killed suspects by both civilian vigilantes and the police already reached 465 – and no one sees the hope of the statistic curving down.
In a crisis were human rights seems to be a hindrance to the peace campaign, we bare this question, is the Duterte administration transforming the notion of the Philippine justice system into a justice void of courts, lawyers, and trials? A justice system where the gun arbitrarily dispenses justice and decides who lives and dies? With the rising death toll, a collapse threatens Philippines’ democratic hallmarks: rule of law, due process, human rights. The ugly irony of the Duterte anti-illegal drugs and crime policy rests on its express willingness to fight crime with another crime, masqueraded as justice.
In line with this, the UP Political Society (UP POLSCi), in celebration of its 13th – year anniversary, holds a forum titled “Pusher: Wag Tularan – A Forum on the Duterte Administration’s Brand of Criminal Justice” devoted to finding answers to this phenomenon, and exploring the characteristics, irregularities, and problems of the Philippine justice system during the current Duterte administration. It aims to contribute to the wide political discourse, spread political awareness, and inspire political action geared to help enhance our country’s quality of politics and governance.