Combatting the war against drugs
Human Rights Watch’s Report gathers information from its interviews with the families of slain drug suspects.
The narrative it puts forward is that almost all the families interviewed claim that their loved ones were either occasional drug users and former drug dependents or pushers.
Simply put, these are all criminals with whom some form of universal justice caught up with.
The way things go in the drug culture of Philippine communities, their presence as drug dealers is an open secret — their dealings are either known to everyone as a hushed trade in the shadows, or as an open market with displayed sachets of shabu.
For every drug dealer there are about 10 dependents supplied, families shattered and networks enlarged. With 1.8 million users, that means at least 18 million other victims.
That's a lot of people destroyed by this trade.
No wonder the PDEA said in 2015 that as much as 92% of Metro Manilas barangays were drug infested. In contrast, Davao City’s rate is about 30%.
That said, being part of a drug sales network means that prompt payment to suppliers and financiers matters, otherwise the drug networks' death squads are sent to teach a bloody lesson to the family and the others who want to delay payments. Many of these death squads are composed of cops, a plausible prospect.
Yet, these are the other realities that the HRW report does not discuss.
The main problem with the report is that based on its so-called findings, it calls for the President to be criminally charged in the International Criminal Court.
So, naturally, the president’s detractors will have a field day using the report against him.
But pillaging his work to put away drug dealers may only backfire, as it did during the Presidential campaign: the more hell Duterte’s detractors raised about killing drug lords, the more admiration he gained from the victims of the millions of drug users and dealers, which can reach tens of millions.
His survey ratings soared to a point where he remained inoculated against criticism in the homestretch of the campaign, eventually winning the race.