President Rodrigo Duterte took office in the Philippines on June 30, 2016. There is a lot of hype in the media (both Philippine and International media) that there have been thousands of deaths in Duterte’s “war on drugs”. I have seen and heard some people actually call Duterte a murderer. But, is it true?
Well, it depends on how you define murder. If you use the normal dictionary definitions, I don’t think he is a murderer at all. Most dictionaries say that a murderer is a person who unlawfully dills another person. There are, however, times when a person gets killed and it is lawful to do so.
For example, capital punishment is legal in some countries, including much of the United States. When a person has been killed under capital punishment, that murder, because the legal system has sanctioned the death.
Another lawful way that some people get killed is when they are acting illegally during police action. For example, if the police go to a person’s house to investigate the reported operation of a drug lab or some other illegal activity, and the person resists arrest, it is lawful for the police to defend themselves and sometimes it is lawful to use deadly force in this situation. As far as I know, the alleged “murders” have been the result of police action. Duterte is serious about cleaning up the drug and crime problems in the Philippines. He is sending police out to raid places where illegal activity is taking place. If those who are involved in the illegal activity resist police, I believe that police are fully justified to take the action necessary to stop them.
At a recent Senate hearing, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who ran for Vice President on Duterte’s ticket, showed statistics about the deaths under Duterte. The figures he showed revealed that there are no more deaths occurring now than there were under President Aquino. There is a striking difference, though… according to the figures shown, under previous administrations the people were being killed by criminals, including the drug syndicate. Now, under Duterte it is the criminals that are being killed! Big difference. Fewer innocent people are being killed now, and more criminals are paying the price.
I hear a lot of Americans telling me (remember, I am American!) that President Duterte is violating the Human Rights of the criminals when they end up dead during police action. Really? The President of the United States currently is Barack Obama. President Obama even won the “Nobel Peace Prize” shortly after he took office in 2009. President Obama has been vocal that he wants to talk to President Duterte on teh topic of Human Rights. Now, statistics show that Barack Obama is killing a lot of people with Drone attacks in countries like Afghanistand and Pakistan among others.
Some would argue that the drone killings are justified because it is part of the War on Terror, which President Obmaa has continued since he took office. Many thousands of people have been killed by American drone strikes.
President Duterte is also waging war. The War on Drugs.
So, if you consider President Duterte a murderer, do you also consider President Obama a murderer?
Personally, I don’t have a problem with the deaths caused by the drone strikes. I think that Obama is justified in fighting a war against terror, and if using a drone to take out the bad guys is the best way to do it, I have no problem with the results. Some innocent people die – sometimes there are families with kids in the houses that are hit by drone strikes – I feel bad that it happens, but it is part of a war. I certainly do not consider President Obama a murderer. I also did not consider President Bush a murderer. I believe that each of these men were fighting a war trying to wipe out people who are bent on killing innocent people.
But, I also have no problem with the way that President Duterte is waging his war on drugs. I believe that it will make the Philippines a safer place for those who live here. The statistics that I mentioned earlier kind of sum it up for me.. if the same number of people are being killed as in the past, but the innocent people are not the ones being killed, well, that seems like a win to me.
Personally, I feel that if you are against President Obama killing people with drone strikes and you are also against President Duterte killing people with police action against criminals… well, you ahve a right to believe that. I really have no problem, because by being against both of them, your position is consistent.
If you are in favor of President Obama fighting the war on terror, even if deaths happen, and you are also in favor of President waging the war against drugs and other crime in the Philippines, I am in agreement with your position.
If, however, you are in favor of President Obama’s fight, yet you think Duterte is a murderer.. well, I think that is a rather hypocritical position. We are all free to our opinions, but I just don’t think that position is well thought out.
I know that this article will be controversial with many. No problem. I am just speaking my thoughts (which I have a right to do, just as you have a right to your thoughts).
Truth is, what President Duterte is doing is making the Philippines a safer place for those who are law abiding citizens. The most recent polls show that 91% of Filipinos are in support of President Duterte’s policies. So, when you read in the Newspaper about how bad the policy is.. just realize that the vast majority of people don’t agree. In fact, the vast majority think that the way the drug lords are being handled is pretty much right on track.