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A Rose by Any Other Name

 

Oplan Double-Barrel Reloaded is the latest PNP brainchild that brings back Oplan Tokhang, apparently with a different perspective. General Ronald Bato said that this new version of the war against drugs will be less violent, and more open to groups who want to be part of the battle.

From the get go, the name does not offer solace. In language, semantics play a large part in meaning of context, and even without the value of inference, the name Double-Barrel Reloaded does not sound friendly at all. It is very literal, and very violent. To add “reloaded” to it does not tell us it will be “less violent” – in fact, it tells us that the operation would be the same, if not, more aggressive and ferocious. Like a Hollywood movie, it is intensely threatening and intemperate, as it promises in its trailer. Nothing, not even a new name, could make it less unbridled and uncontrollable.

To lessen the impact of the “new” program, the PNP sought the pastors and Catholic clergy to espouse the program, saying that their involvement in the program will be valuable to its success. First of all, the Catholic Church has already condemned the extra-judicial killings of about 8,000 so-called drug users as unjust, and therefore, unacceptable as a means to solving the problem. The PNP even mocked the pastoral letter read in all Catholic Churches in February, saying that the Church had no idea how bad the situation is, and so it had no right to speak of it in an ill-mannered way. The Church spoke about Oplan Tokhang for what it truly is – a shooting spree to some police scalawags and a useless approach to ending drug addiction in the Philippines, as well as an unjust means to diminish the population of the country. Out of the 8,000 or so dead in the program, a number of them were innocent bystanders, children and men and women their local police simply did not like, or with whom they had bad blood. The killing of Jee Ick-Joo while inside Camp Crame proves how a corrupt police force will never succeed in its undertakings because of the rotten roots in its ranks. In reality, the killing of the innocents have been ongoing for many decades – it was just formalized  by giving it a title, and giving the police the go-signal from the President himself to eliminate as many “drug users” as possible. Unfortunately, not everyone was born yesterday, no matter what Duterte and Dela Rosa think.

Second, dela Rosa and Senator Alan Cayetano say that drug abuse is on the rise again after Oplan Tokhang was suspended, and the latter begged the Senate to revive it. They claimed that when the killing stopped, the drug users took courage once more and peddled their wares once again. Anyone who hears this reasoning can easily scoff at the blindness of the statements. Obviously, the reason why the drug peddling has not ceased is not because they stopped killing the users, it is because they haven’t nabbed the dealers and the drug lords, who are in obvious cahoots with the current government. Plain and simple, and no need for a college diploma to conclude this line of reasoning. Even the Integrated Bar of the Philippines has declared that there neither seems to be a mention of the cases of these 8,000 dead men, women and children, nor their resolution. It is only a few high profile cases that are in the spotlight, and ones that the government and the lawmakers can manipulate. Dela Rosa and Cayetano need to take logic classes to aid them in analyzing the ills of the system, or they simply need to take their blinders off. They are making a mockery of logic, and Aristotle must be turning in his grave.

Romeo in Shakespeare’s play, said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. In the case of Oplan Double-Barrel Reloaded, a stink, by any other name, would smell as bad.