Who encouraged them?
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
A spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte has told the media that the administration is itself alarmed over the rash of killings in the country that have been worsening ever since he took power.
Everyday, Filipinos all over the country read in their newspapers or hear from their radios or television sets that more and more “suspected” pushers, users and traders have bitten the dust, so to speak. The spokesperson, Ernesto Abella, claims the President is aware of all these incidents that appear to be summary executions without due process.
But are those really the concerns of the President, and not those of his spokespersons alone who are trying their best to present a different image of their boss, who has come to be imagined as a man who has no compunctions about killing those he perceives to have committed crimes, and have broken the law? Note that none of the statements are attributed to Duterte himself.
Reports say at least 23 drug suspects have been killed since the assumption of Duterte to the Office of the President on June 30. That is only five days up to Tuesday when the figures came out. And it is not impossible to imagine that the figures will continue to grow, with some policemen now feeling they have impunity to kill those involved in drugs in the pretext of having a shootout with them, or that the suspects resisted arrest.
The doubts that arise over the spokesperson's apologetic statements about the administration – who else can that be but the President himself – being alarmed by the killings cannot be brushed away. We still remember how he offered bounties to policemen who can kill drug lords, as well as medals and awards to those who eliminate such low-life characters in their neighborhood, and even saying he will protect them from prosecution.
Now his people are trying to paint him as a compassionate fellow who gets “alarmed” by the killings he had inspired others to do.*