Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Constitution and Cardboard Justice - An Introduction

This post is the first in a series wherein my friend and churchmate, Goya Pableo, a law bachelor and graduate student at UP Diliman's School of Urban and Regional Planning, reflects on the recent streak of extrajudicial killings perpetrated under the Duterte administration.

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Have you thought of buying gravestones and what your epitaph would be like? Consider cardboards.

Recently, cheap cardboards are epitaphs for human lives. Nameless, they simply read, “Drug Lord Ako”, “Pusher Ako”, “Pulis na Pusher: Huwag Tularan”, or something similar that connects the unnamed dead with non-adjudged crimes related with illegal drugs. Are we willing to overlook the value of these lives for the sake of change?

Cardboard Justice has been used to describe the summary executions (averaging 10 persons a day, according to the Commission on Human Rights), of alleged drug pushers or users. Some of those included in the death toll, however, were innocent bystanders. Some of these killings were carried out by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), who were following their mandate and killed in the name of self-defense. Other killings were condemned by such law enforcers, who pointed to vigilantes as the perpetrators. Either way, whether by law enforcers or by vigilantes, the dead were killed under the same banner: the merciless war against illegal drugs.

(Another angle we need to consider is the victims of these alleged drug users and pushers. Weren’t they given justice through what was done to those who harmed them?)

The killings seem to ease their way into a normal Filipino’s information-diet as delivered by different media platforms. When news of Cardboard Justice pops out at us between photos of our friend’s birthday party and our crush’s recent vacation, or when we watch it in the news as we wait for our fave teleserye, how do we, as believers, react?

As those who bear the name of Christ, our reaction (or the seemingly absence of it) matters. This series humbly aims to aid fellow believers as it discusses the pertinent provisions of The 1987 Philippine Constitution in relation with the summary executions.

Thus, I ask for your patience as we process this information, with the hope that your prayers would be centered on the Redeemer Christ, that your reactions would be checked by the reality of Him being ever before you, and your actions would flow from your loving communion with Him.

This is a humble attempt for you and I to be Christian Filipinos at such a time as this.

Next time, we will be tackling the questions What were the dead (a common sense question, really) and What were their rights?

Even then, please pray that the summary executions would stop, that the Government would be able to handle the pressure of rehabilitating its surrendering citizens who are drug-dependent and that the Gospel would be made clear. You do not need to wait for the next post to do very well what is within your control.

Part 2: The Rights of a Human Being To Whom Legal Process is Due

  1. Roxas, Joseph Tristan. "CHR: Average of 10 Suspects Killed per Day under Duterte." GMA News Online. July 11, 2016. Accessed July 26, 2016.
  2. Cellona, Jonathan. "Tok, Tok... Bang, Bang: The Bloody War on Drugs #26." ABS-CBN News. July 23, 2016. Accessed July 26, 2016.


  1. Interesting. I've been pondering on the same thoughts just recently. Let's have a discussion on this next fellowship. I have questions to raise as well. Thanks for the tag. :)

    Counting you all joy,

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