THE PHILIPPINES is fast becoming a killing field as journalists and activists are being felled by assassins’ bullets faster than anyone can seem to keep track of them. The usual line mouthed by authorities that the media person killed may have been involved in some shenanigans resulting in his death, or that the activist killed was a leftist and was a victim of purge initiated by the communists not only confuses the issue, but moreso implies that the government does not really care if these people are killed. Maybe it is because most of them anyway had been against the current dispensation and their deaths simply mean one less “destabilizer.”
But this should not be the case. As the Commission on Human Rights aptly put it, the government cannot escape blame from these killings for as much as being protected by the state from lawless violence is a basic human right, it is also the prime responsibility of the state to see to it that its citizens are not slaughtered in the middle of the streets—or at their homes—in broad daylight. On top of this, it is also the duty of the state to seek justice to the victims of this senseless violence by making sure that they leave no stones unturned in the investigation and subsequent prosecution of these cases. However, it is because of the government’s action—or inaction—towards solving these murders that just seem to fuel the murderous rampage of some trigger-happy persons whose only concern is for their enemies—perceived or otherwise—to suffer a violent and absurd death.
And as the death till from this seemingly new past time piles up, several foreign groups, as well as the country’s big brother—the United States of America—had urged the government to do something—anything—to stop the killings. And as expected, the presidential mouthpieces vowed to do something about it—with one official going as far as saying that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes would be punished even if they come from the military and the police. These, however, are just being taken with a grain of salt since much of what had been said had already been uttered before with results that are nothing to really brag about, moreso since the killings had not been stopped and it only got worse.
What the government should do is to stop talking and start moving towards solving these murders. They have shown the vastness of their “intelligence” network by scuttling coup attempts, assassination plots and rebellion tries. And even if this network’s effectiveness remains highly suspect, they could at least train in at something more useful for the Filipino people for a change, instead of simply concentrating at those whom they have labeled as “destabilizers.” Who knows the vaunted network may work well this time if it is used for something good.
A time to heal
THE GOVERNMENT should also put its brilliant legal minds in the prosecution of suspects who had been caught and charged in court with murdering journalists and activists as these cases, which had been filed at various courts, had hardly moved toward any resolution of the issue.
The victims of these senseless killings are getting murdered twice over with the slow movement of these cases. And with the energy, wit, wisdom and creativity shown by the government bright legal minds in going after “destabilizers”, surely they could think of something to make these murder cases move faster. For it is only when the victims’ families achieve justice from our judicial system would the wound of losing a loved one senselessly begin to heal.