TURNING POINT: Political Will in Fighting Crimes

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews /11 June) – The President had hinted recently on declaring national emergency to fight rising criminality. There are, accordingly, so many   crimes  that make people apprehensive in visiting the country, fearing that they might be kidnapped or killed. But has there  been  lately a surge in crimes contrary to the statistics the PNP has regularly fed the public?

But why are the human rights (Did he mean, the CHR Commissioners or human rights advocates?) being warned while making this threat?

Is this suggesting that the radical change against crimes would trample on human rights of citizens?

Of course, not just human rights group but all right-thinking citizens should be wary if we lose our freedoms to those who are tasked to protect them.

There is nothing wrong with the government’s waging war against crimes; that’s one of its responsibilities. But if the war is focused on the petty observable crimes in the streets, then it is of no moment. The worst of crimes that impact on everyone are not so much those committed in stinky dark alleys but in plush offices; not by sachet-peddling drug  pushers, petty thieves or armed robbers but by highly connected drug lords, untouchable smuggling syndicates, and corrupt government officials. These are the criminals that discourage investors from coming in, who damage the economy and impoverish the people with their greed.

The President made the threat after returning from South Korea where he reportedly inked a P52B loan and P4.9B business deals from said country. In granting the windfall of financial assistance, did SoKor President Moon Jaen advise DU30 to clean his front yard, reminding him, perhaps, of the gruesome plight of  South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo that was kidnapped and murdered right there in Camp Crame, the PNP national headquarters some two years back? That would have been very embarrassing for the visiting head of state that prompted him to announce in anger to make radical changes in fighting spiralling criminality immediately upon his return to the country. The connection between the Camp Crame incident and the sudden discourse on crimes and investment loss is too strong to be dismissed.

If President DU30 make good of using his emergency power he should address this to high profile but invisible, corrupting criminals, some of which are most likely within his arm reach.

Better still he should use this power to ease the grinding misery of the people by removing the excise tax on imported fossil fuels, thereby cutting off the power that drives the spiralling cost of basic commodities, if not of everything we touch today.  If he would use the emergency power to decommissioning the rampaging TRAIN law, so much the better; many will be out of harm way and be able to breathe with little ease.

If he would employ his emergency powers in above direction, I don’t believe the noisy human rights would make any sound.

Moreover, the Filipino fishers will be happy if an emergency power will stop the armed robbery  in West Philippine Sea, no matter if the robbers are Chinese coast guards who are divesting the fishers of their prize catch.  Such an act will be a showcase of political will greater than  the Boracay closure and rehab, that was unfortunately marred by the destruction of the remaining forest of the island, the insult of which, until now  has not been curiously returned. A show at the West Philippine Sea theatre will surely raise the political star of Digong not just in the country but in the entire South Asia Pacific region. He would become an adorable strongman.

Indeed, in fighting criminality or corruption real political will is shown when it is employed against the closest of friends. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)