Washington Square News

The U.S. Needs To Take A Stand Against Duterte

By Yasmin Gulec, Contributing Writer

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The concept of “the ends justify the means” has always been questionably applied in the real-world, but that doesn’t seem to stop some authoritarian leaders from trying to make it work. The Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, also known as “The Punisher,” has launched a violent war on drug users instead of dedicating policies towards helping them rehabilitate. His controversial policies include giving the police the go-head to kill anyone without questioning them and telling average citizens to “do it yourselves if you have guns.” He is essentially promoting extrajudicial vigilantism and violence to combat the country’s drug epidemic. Sadly, Duterte does not seem to understand or even care about the consequences of his ambivalence for the rule of law.

Declaring war on drug users is not only a grotesquely misinformed attempt at reining in rampant drug abuse, it is a serious violation of basic human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.” But the value of this declaration is lost on Duterte, who simply brushes off any backlash from humanitarian activists, saying: “I don’t care about human rights, believe me.”

Duterte’s method of stopping the drug exchange in the Philippines is blind to the reality of the situation. He cannot see — or chooses not to see — the abject violation of rights when he ordered police and citizens to murder drug users. His policy may have led to the suppression of drug users, but at what cost?

The extreme measures he is taking in order to stop drug use are violent, callous and ignorant. The U.S., which has strong ties to the Philippines, should pressure Duterte into halting his abominable war against drug users and support their right to a fair trial. Stronger actions than diplomacy are necessary, since Duterte clearly has no respect for diplomatic discourse — when President Obama publicly condemned his actions, Duterte called the President a “son of a bitch.” His crudeness towards not only the president of the United States, but also the United Nations should not be condoned. The UN should disregard Duterte’s empty threats about leaving the UN and act on behalf of the people who are suffering under his rule.

Duterte ran on a platform based on an incredibly cruel “war on crime” message, which seems to imply that Filipino voters are not only willing to turn a blind eye to the bloodshed, they endorse it. In this case, the international community has a responsibility to do something about this blatant violation of human rights. A UN member state, the Philippines has already ratified the Human Rights Declaration — it should stand by its word.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Email Yasmin Gulec at [email protected]

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About the Writer
Yasmin Gulec, Features Editor
Yasmin Gulec is the Features Editor for Washington Square News and loves using “I’m international” as an excuse for pretty much everything. She is from Istanbul, Turkey and has difficulty pronouncing the words cocoa, drawers, squirrel and comfortable. She is a sophomore in GLS double majoring in Journalism. She doesn’t really understand twitter but you...
5 Comments

5 Responses to “The U.S. Needs To Take A Stand Against Duterte”

  1. Cyrus on September 13th, 2016 12:32 am

    What is ignorant is this article. There are no human rights violation in my country as we speak. The international media are portraying that we are in chaos when in fact we never lived so peacefully in years. Deaths in the Philippines related to crime per day has gone down compared to the last 10 years. These are malicious news with no substance and proof. Out of the 50 Million how could they say there is Human Rights Violations? If there are? the people of the republic will the first to post and clamor for international attention or in social media. This is obviously political and full of thrash with no data to back it up.. 1 of 100 things the President does the medias focus on the 1 rotten news. But as a Filipino and else where some other Filipino will defend and speak out the truth.

  2. Jayson on September 13th, 2016 2:31 am

    Ms Yasmin Gulec, you do know how to write an article, but its content deserves only an applause for people with the same mindset as yours
    I must disagree with what you have indicted to my President, you are not a Filipino and you did not lived nor experienced living in the Philippines
    Your article is based on what you have read and watched in news, mixing it up with your personal vision in life and you come up with the conclusion that what the President of the Philippines is doing is wrong

  3. max on September 13th, 2016 2:44 am

    Yasmin, i think you need to get your facts straight instead of disseminating bias information. If you’re doing this to sell your article, I think you can do better than this.

    The Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, also known as “The Punisher,” has launched a violent war on drug users instead of dedicating policies towards helping them rehabilitate? – It only becomes a violent war when these drug lords/users resist during raids and buy bust operations. We have to be fair to our brave police officers too who put their lives on the line of duty. Rehabilitating does not really stop the root cause of the problem, though there are already numbers of projects for more rehab centers in the country.

    His controversial policies include giving the police the go-head to kill anyone without questioning them and telling average citizens to “do it yourselves if you have guns.” – Yasmin, if this is the case (police can kill anyone), the current death count is way too low, don’t you think? Where in fact, the numbers are historically low compared to crimes that happened in the past. Again, you are being bias here.

    He is essentially promoting extrajudicial vigilantism and violence to combat the country’s drug epidemic. Sadly, Duterte does not seem to understand or even care about the consequences of his ambivalence for the rule of law. – Duterte is using a hammer fist to strongly remind everyone to stop the illegal drug trade, now which part of that is extrajudicial killing? Drug lords kill their own drug pushers and users to avoid spilling of evidence. Policemen protect themselves when being engaged during an encounter. And don’t worry about lecturing Duterte on the rule of law, he once was a prosecutor so he has more knowledge more than everybody else.

    Declaring war on drug users is not only a grotesquely misinformed attempt at reining in rampant drug abuse, it is a serious violation of basic human rights. – Like everyone else, your making the human rights as an excuse. When these drug lords and pushers are being killed, it becomes a violation. But did anyone bother protecting the lives of innocent people whose lives are being put to waste because of drugs? The policemen who were killed when criminals resist an arrest? Again, let’s be fair here. With all these killings, which are by the way significantly low than in the last 3 to 5 years, we have never been more secured now. So bad people, it’s time to change.

  4. Farooque Khan on September 13th, 2016 5:05 am

    Time and again the connection between the drug cartels, the drug money, and the covert ops have come to light. A head of state such as Duterte risks shortening his career by trying to break it. An upcoming and ambitious writer such as you, Ms Gulec may try to advance his or her career by spreading falsehood, which fetches a much higher price than what he or she may get by telling the truth.

  5. Mark Cate on March 19th, 2018 6:09 am

    A moderator caution on this politically charged topic warns against hate speech. I only see posts purposed to support personal support, that one side or another can only interpret as hate. P
    perhaps this post that seeks only to define existing international response is what matters in the end. Duterte has chosen to spurn on criminal investigation, while actively devising steps to avoid investigation, an approach that can only further impoverish millions in The Philippines. So all I can post here is facts to date. Reading various intelligence reports, Duterte is spurning an epidemic of extrajudicial killing that especially in Muslim communities has turned into political and economic vendetta. It is no surprise to UN administration that the Duterte administration behaves like many criminal institutions of state before it, denouncing ICC. Casually Duterte is jailing political opposition and politically attacking female anatomy. This week he issued a formal invitation to China to invade The Philippines. His flight is memorable. But what is Duterte the man doing? Does he really see his flight as evasion of responsibility? Or maybe as suggested by senior UN administration, a sign of senility? Will Duterte simply walk away from the political, economic and moral chaos he has presided over, when his electoral term comes to an end? In any case, Duterte’s pleas for the ICC to execute Duterte aside, the iCC has launched a purposeful and just criminal investigation against a ‘running’ and “violent” administration. This action only indicates that 135 member nation states deem the Duterte administration to be incompetent in pursuing internal state justice, while human members of the state are being exterminated. Thus, and in time, International justice MAY prevail, or The Philippines will get its act in order, its own way. Personally. I find Duterte likable at times (response to Chinese fisherman taking Philippines harvest 2 weeks ago). Duterte could be turning into a pleasantly senile elder. That is a comment inspired by care, not hate. I have looked after many senile elders, that 20% of us turn into, and I know as a health care professional that it is wrong to assume anything about abnormal behavior as we age. Perhaps we should ask, who is really pulling the strings, pushing The Philippines into its internal “war”? ICC investigations always pull down corrupt generals. That is why those who favor Duterte should be thankful the ICC is involved, and not a Chinese military (or fishing boat) invasion. We could reflect on the very recent Marcos dictatorship, to understand where the ICC concerns are founded, and why 123 member nation states are now engaging the required preliminary to formal criminal investigation and charges. The Philippines is not a model Aristocracy. Not exactly an Aristocracy in Western Europe, but remember that The Philippines does offer all citizens a vote. For now, this vote mechanism elevates the suspect to status of Democracy, that is, benevolent Aristocracy. Dwell on that word “benevolent” as the Duterte regime responds to ICC criminal investigation. We live on a small planet. In the end, we are one people. The Philippines will now proceed to improve, though Duterte the man is loudly proclaiming that he would rather fight than face international legal responsibility. He presents to ICC as a human being crazed by killing and power. Nothing new on this planet, sadly.

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