August 14, 2016

Duterte’s War on Drugs anti-poor? Not necessarily

Recently, Ifugao Liberal Party (LP) Rep. Teddy Baguilat said [SunStar]:
“The rich and powerful are given deadlines to negotiate their surrender, are accommodated in the PNP White House, gets invited to coffee and are subject to an investigation… But the poor, the lowly drug pusher or the addict simply gets the bullet. It seems like the rules are different with the rich and the poor.”
This is statement is ridden with so many logical inconsistencies that I have to point them out one by one.

"Rich and Powerful"

The phrase “rich and powerful” means they have private armies or, at least, have the means to gain access to weapons. The "rich and powerful" are more capable than regular citizens to resist arrest. Hence, policemen face a greater safety risk when dealing with these people. Why would Duterte risk the death of PNP personnel right away when he can demand surrender first?

Moreover, many of these “rich and powerful” are judges, mayors, and even PNP generals [TP: List; TP: Robredo], who exercise influence over the police force, the same police force who will implement a prospective arrest order. How can a lowly PO1 or PO2 simply arrest a mayor? Would Baguilat rather have Duterte immediately deploy soldiers, then everybody in his party will scream “Overkill!”?

PNP Generals, LGU officials, judges, and even a celebrity have been publicly shamed, arrested and detained. What else do you want? You want Senators? Duterte has been president for barely two months, you will need to wait.

Rep. Baguilat, huwag kang atat. Iniimbestigahan na si Leila de Lima [MT].


When he declared his candidacy in December 2015, Duterte made it very clear that the war on drugs is part of the pillars of his campaign platform, and it was actually one of the reasons why he was able to get so many votes. Duterte reiterated his anti-drugs stance so often that smartass columnists even complained about this seeming obsession. I do not have to cite sources for that: it's common knowledge.
Duterte has been warning everyone involved in drugs to stop what they're doing as early as eight months ago. Not just the rich. EVERYONE.

So what's the problem?

Baguilat didn't think that Duterte would win so he asks for more time to adjust?

Sorry, Rep. Baguilat, pero pakyu on this point.

"Poor simply gets the bullet"

This is another hasty generalization as Baguilat implies that the police summarily executes “the poor or the addict”.

ThinkingPinoy agrees that there is a real possibility that some policemen are abusing their authority, and Malacañan is already investigating this angle [ABS]. This does not, however, discount the other equally plausible explanations such as (1) drug lords trying to clean up evidence; (2) drug lords killing non-performing assets; and (3) Inter-cartel violence [TP: 400 Deaths].

When there are at least four possible explanations for a certain phenomenon, one has to eliminate three of them before he chooses one of them as the underlying cause.

Actually, Rep. Baguilat's task is far simpler than that. He simply has the to do the following:
  1. Cite a particular instance where a poor alleged drug pusher (or user) got summarily executed.
  2. If executed by the police, show that the police is not a drug pusher himself.
  3. If executed by an honest cop, show that the suspect did not violently resist.
  4. If executed by vigilantes, show that the vigilantes have links to Duterte.
So far, all Duterte's critics could manage is Step One. It never got any farther than that.

The Liberal Party has massive resources, as shown by the magnitute of Mar Roxas', Leni Robredo's, and the Liberal Party's campaign spending [TP: SOCE; TP: Campaign Planes], and their network of political dynasties throughout the country [TP: Corruption].

Surely, if Baguilat is so convinced that what he claims to happen actually happens, finding one single instance wouldn't be that difficult. If I were the Liberal Party, that's what I would do.

Rep. Baguilat, Hitchen's Razor, a basic rule of logic, states that [Hitchens 2015]:
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence". 

All the evidence Baguilat provided was his word, so that means we can disregard his claim using nothing but our word.

Your logic and your party's diskarte is underwhelming.

"Different Rules"

ThinkingPinoy admits that most of arrests in this war on drugs involve the poor.

The problem, however, is the fact that poor drug addicts are more likely to commit crimes because they do not have the money or influence to sustain, manage, and conceal their habit. This is not a class war, this is a war against people who compromise public safety.

If a meth-head from Forbes Park runs out of shabu

The rich addict goes to the ATM machine, contacts his trusty drug dealer, go backs home, and sniffs the new packet. If he plans to go on a rampage, the security protocols in his posh subdivision keeps him in check. When rampages do occur, homeowners can cover it up, as suggested by what six exclusive Makati villages did last month when they declared that their area is “drug free” [Journal].

If a meth-head from Tondo runs out of shabu

Because he’s broke, he steals his neighbor’s new LCD TV, sells it in the black market, then buys shabu. If he gets too high, he can easily break into his pretty neighbor’s home and rape the shit out of her. Or worse, he can simply rape his one-year-old daughter, like what happened in Cagayan de Oro last week [SunStar].

Yes, most of the “victims” of this drug war are poor people, but this need not necessarily imply that the government deliberately targets the poor and ignores the rich. Instead, it’s because poor communities are more likely to suffer from the drug menace than wealthy enclaves. Moreover, when the vast majority of  the country is impoverished, wouldn't simple mathematics suggest that more poor people will be affected?

Ang mayaman, maraming pambili ng shabu. Ang mahirap, kailangan pang magnakaw muna. Ganoon kasimple. Hindi kailangan ng drama.


I strongly condemn extrajudicial killings, and I will support anyone who can provide sufficient evidence against the administration. Unfortunately, no one has been able to do that so far. Instead, critics of the war on drugs appeal to emotion instead of reason when hurling their accusations.

Surely, the Liberal Party has lots of high-profile lawyers on their payroll, so I wonder if Baguilat actually asked these lawyers if his arguments actually make sense.

Probably not.

Lastly, LP Rep. Baguilat's complaint about the "rich and powerful" being "accommodated in the PNP White House",  is a tacit admission that the the Liberal Party abhors VIP treatment.

Justice Sec. Aguirre, please take note that of that, as it may come in handy if and when you finally decide to put a certain babbling Liberal Party druggist senator to jail.[ThinkingPinoy]



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