THE 1987 Constitution, like all humanist charters, provides for Filipinos’ right to life, which comes first in the hierarchy of human rights. But President Duterte has shown again his twisted logic when he claimed in his state of the nation address on July 23 that more than human rights, he was concerned with “human life.” Thus, he declared that he would not be dissuaded by critics and human rights advocates from pursuing what he called his “unrelenting and chilling” war on drugs. “Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives,” he said. “The lives of our youth are being wasted and families are destroyed, and all because of the chemicals called shabu, cocaine, cannabis and heroin.”

The President’s claim that he was in effect “pro-life” stands in mocking contrast to the thousands killed in his megalomaniac anti-narcotics campaign. Did the President mean to say that the people who had been killed in the campaign should not be considered human lives?

Any one in his right mind could deduce easily from the President’s remarks that he was simply out of his lawyer’s wits, if not that he was a psychopath and a cold-blooded murderer. One need not read between the lines that he was basically making a distinction or Balkanizing—between human rights and human lives, and that he was contradicting himself when he claimed that it was in order to uphold “human life” that he was waging a “chilling” war on drugs: Chilling as in the stillness of cemeteries and killing fields.

Nothing in his address did it indicate that the President was addressing the concern that his campaign was fostering a climate rife for genocide. In fact, he seemed not to have addressed the concern that while many of the killings were claimed by the police as the result of intra-wars among drug syndicates, authorities had not investigated them or brought a single one of the perpetrators to justice. Moreover, he seemed not to have presented proof that authorities follow due process, a right enshrined the Bill of Rights. To the President, all of the victims were part of the “collateral damage” of his campaign.

Duterte’s distorted claim he was upholding human life in denigrating human rights was obviously directed at his fanatical followers who would do anything at his bidding. His following has a blood lust insatiably fed by their idol’s violent rhetoric. It would only be a matter of time to discover their blood lust would result in cannibalism of their own kind.

Duterte has shown no signs of humanity. This country will continue to lose its people, its youth, to a brutal campaign anchored on pathological narcissism, diabolical megalomania, and sheer irrationality.


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