Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter reflections: Celebrate life

Happy Easter!
For many of us in the Christian world, Easter is a celebration of life.
On Easter, Christians commemorate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Easter marks the defeat of death, and the victory of life.
In my personal reflections of Easter, I hope continually, that life, precious as it is, will continually be celebrated and upheld.
Those who aim to defeat life should be condemned.
Unfortunately, reality paints a different picture.
It seems there are quarters who aim to defeat life, instead of upholding it.
For instance in Davao City, the mayor there appears to be on the defensive in the wake of a string of condemnations by human rights institutions against the so-called Davao Death Squads (DDS).
Nobody has directly accused the Davao mayor of being behind these death squads in Davao, which has been tagged as responsible for more than eight hundred extrajudicial killings in Davao since 1998.
There are now unavoidable calls for a thorough investigation into these mysterious killings in Davao.
Leading the calls is the Commission on Human Rights, and even international human rights groups like the New York-based Human Rigths Watch.
Even before Holy Week, the Roman Catholic church urged prayers, and enlightenment against the continued extrajudicial killings, which aim to defeat life.
Sadly, there are sectors who condone extrajudicial killings.
Even politicians see salvaging as a convenient way of complying with their legal mandate to "maintain peace and order."
It is not surprising that local politicians---for their political and personal reasons---turn a blind eye to summary executions.
Dumaguete City is not far behind Davao City, when it comes to the proliferation of extrajudicial killings.
The Commission on Human Rights should also investigate the summary killings in Dumaguete City, if only to do justice to those who have been summarily killed.
There is no need to stress that extrajudicial killings, summary executions, salvagings---no matter how they are called---are illegal.
The legality of summary executions is not debatable.
It should not have any room in a civilized society.
But why do local politicians turn blind and deaf when it comes to summary executions?
The reason is obvious.
It covers their inability and incompetence to maintain peace and order in a lawful manner.
It is to the politicians' political (and personal) advantage to "see-no-evil and hear-no-evil" when it comes to extrajudicial killings.
Their principle is: If someone else sweeps the streets of dirt, why stop it?
The big problem is that salvagings, summary executions always target the poor.
Haven't you noticed?
These so-called drug pushers, criminals (already pre-judged as such) made targets of summary killings, always belong to the economically disadvantaged.
Many of them are people driven or forced to illegal activities because government has failed to provide them decent jobs to feed their families.
"Kapit sa patalim", in other words.
Have you ever heard of a millionaire drug lord being targeted for summary killing?
In the city of Manila, those salvaged are small-time snatchers, petty thieves.
But the big-time, white-collar criminals are never targeted.
Why is that so?
Those involved in big-time swindling of hard-earned peoples' money invested in educational, pension plans are never targets of summary killings.
Those corrupt government officials, who bleed our public coffers dry by exacting fat commissions from government contracts, are spared.
Government officials who incur millions of pesos of unliquidated cash advances are never targets of summary executions.
Instead, they are heralded as "honorable".
My opposition to summary killings is not only based on legalities.
For that would be a no-brainer.
My opposition is based on social considerations.
Extrajudicialy killings only manifest and magnify our social inequities.
I oppose summary killings because it is always aimed at the poor.
I condemn summary killings because they aim to defeat life.
As we mark Easter, please pray for the continued celebration of life, like we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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