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July 27, 2016 / emmanintheworld

Irrational is Rational

Law and Order. Iron Fist. Emergency Powers.

Duterte supporters know that these are exactly what the Philippines needs. Corrupt authorities and incompetent leaders have done nothing in the face of drugs and crime. Pushers and addicts, along with the harm that they do to society, have been ignored for far too long. The drug lords that supply the poison that ruins each life it touches are allowed to live in luxury, whether they’re in prison or ‘the outside world’.

Don’t call them stupid for yearning for change. Before Duterte came, they have been slowly losing confidence in the ability of the government to provide a safe environment for their family. When others turned a blind eye, or perhaps took on a more active role, in the normalization of illegal drug use in the country, they resigned themselves to the fact that crime would be an inescapable fact of Philippine society.

That’s why Duterte is such an appealing figure for them. He’s not the usual politician who promises results. He’s the type of leader who will do everything, opinion of others be damned, just to provide results. For someone who wanted and expected change in a long time, this is something to look forward to.

Sure, they know that the vigilante killings are terrible. Innocents may have been shot and tossed aside. But, ultimately, the loss of some lives would be worth it if the hundreds saved from drug-related crimes are still alive and kicking.

Extrajudicial killings. Human rights violation. Martial Law.

Duterte critics, on the other hand, know all too well where this violence is headed. The blatant disregard for human life and dignity is familiar, especially for those who lived during the Martial Law. They know that if left unchecked, the Duterte administration would slowly turn into the Duterte dictatorship.

Don’t think that they’re just yellow zombies who are bitter about the May elections. For them, this goes beyond politics. Their protests should not be taken as a form of obstructionism to Duterte’s policies (a la Binay’s UNA during the Aquino administration) but rather as a defense of civilized society.

That’s why they’re so frustrated when Duterte supporters underestimate the effect of neglecting due process. It’s one of the few safeguards from injustice in this country and trivializing its importance would mean weakening our already vulnerable institutions. If Duterte supporters still advocate for the ‘iron fist approach’, then they’re just being zealots who refuses to think for themselves.

Sure, the government is finally having results in their fight against drugs. The mass surrenders and public naming of corrupt officials give Filipinos hope that a safer Philippines is within reach. Illegal drug use is shamed rather than tolerated. But, the senseless spilling of blood could and should have been avoided if the Duterte supporters took a moment to consider the consequences of their fanaticism.

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