Since he took oath as president, Rodrigo Duterte is always being blamed for extrajudicial killing related to illegal drugs. It even came to a point where some UN (United Nations) experts want to conduct some investigations here in the Philippines. But according to a Sociology professor in UP (University of the Philippines), the president is not to be blamed.
“Let me start by stating that drug-related extrajudicial killings have been occurring even before President Duterte was not yet the mayor of Davao City.” UP Diliman professor Lauro dela Cuesta told TN via an email interview. We chose him to give his opinion on this controversial issue because he used to work at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“Then, we must accept the fact that illegal drugs is rich industry in the Philippines, and no president has ever focused on it other than the current administration. In doing so, we can easily understand why reports of such killings are always in front of the newspapers, and on TV news as well. Fight against illegal drugs is the main target of Duterte.” He added.
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According to Professor dela Cuesta, there are two kinds of drug pushers – the big timers and the small timers. These big-time drug pushers can be an average law enforcer, a businessman who has a legitimate business, a known showbiz personality, or a trusted aide of a politician. He noted that these people make good money from illegal drugs.
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On the other hand, the UP professor small-time pushers are those living in slum areas, jobless, and cannot find a decent job or have no regular source of income. These people are easily tempted to join illegal drugs trade despite the danger of being caught. When we asked him why, Professor dela Cuesta tells us that these small-timers are being protected.
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“You see, big-time drug pushers cannot front themselves in public, so they need these small-time pushers to act as middlemen. Note that these small-time pushers may or not may not know the original source of illegal drugs they sell. But of course, the veteran small-timers may have already knew who the “big fishes” are.” He explained further.
So, why most of the pushers that were killed are the small-timers only? And who really killed them? And should President Dutert be blamed if they get killed? Here’s what Professor dela Cuesta told us.
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“Well, there are many possible reasons why. Again, illegal drugs is high-profile business, and those who already know a lot of the “big fishes” are a threat in the business, so they have to be eliminated. Secondly, some of them may have not followed the rules that could destroy the business. And third, some of them might have tried to cheat a transaction.
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The main problem of small-timers is that they have two enemies – the good cops and the bad cops. But for obvious reasons, the bad cops are the ones who are very much likely to have them killed. On the other hand, the good cops will them live so they can get more information as to who the “big” fishers are. Therefore, good cops killing them is not a good option, unless their lives are at risk.
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Note that President Duterte has been in his office for barely 50 days. He may have the list of high-profile drug lords and their protectors, but he has no idea as who the small-timers are. Note also that these rich individuals can pay bodyguards and lawyers to protect them. It is also very unlikely that they will fight back during a police raid or will resist an arrest.
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Having said that, it’s quite illogical to blame the president for all these killings. And as he has been always saying, “Don’t use poverty as an excuse to commit crime, or to sell illegal drugs and destroy the lives of others.” And mind you, these pushers know right from the start that they could get killed, but still, they took the risk. That’s the painful truth.”