The Specter in the Field

It has just been two weeks since Duterte took the office as the President of the Philippines and he has already become the conjectured shadow behind the massive murders of drug personalities. No other name can conjure such a terrible license to unleash this brutal superego, which unfortunately suspends the right judgment that operates gradually and that stands in the legality of presumptive innocence. The justification points precisely to the modern mentality of fixing things quickly – that is to say, to get things done by just a click away. But rather than assuming the character of a tragedy for the doomed criminals-by-suspicion, the current scenario that is opined as a “killing field” insurrecting throughout the country has instead become a comical interplay of power.

On the one hand, those who enforce the law now cease to be in their inscrutable right to be excused. The police umbrella covering the drug lords has to close: it has to undergo the tests themselves so that real quarantine must take place and the latter will slowly be revealed. The status of police power has been compromised and the law no longer holds a quasi-immunity upon those who are uniformed to impose it. Some are positive and more will be detected. This power-cleansing deserves a comic response and a self-serving guffaw at the exposure of the ones who are expected to arrest injustice behind bars.

On the other hand, the colossal coming of drug dependents towards police headquarters is almost ridiculously set. Their mercy-seeking march, pictured in the same manner as sweating profusely and trudging in shaky feet, is a scene of staged attrition – and isn’t it so always along with all of us under the guise of authenticity? Those who fight in the same line against these persons can easily serve a truthful laugh.

But while some escaped the instinctual verdict, some suffered their own demise: some lying dead with inscriptions “Wag nyo akong tularan, adik ako (Don’t follow my example, I am a drug addict) and the others are now hiding as they are hunted by vigilantes. Even suspected policemen, against the mistrusting eyes of citizens, are slain mercilessly. These killings, though not owned and accepted by the president himself, are ironically done under a psychological guarantee from him. The name “Duterte” warranted a green light for war instincts to emerge themselves through killing, and it has perfectly embodied the specter in this field. He has paradoxically become the drug itself producing the placebo of clandestine justice.

It remains however suspect whether or not this can go on throughout the administration years. The ningas kugon mentality is always lurking and no one knows what will really happen after the spell of the magical “3-6 months” vow will have already worn out. Syndicates in the drug commerce will have to play the bad weeds surviving this deadly calamity coming in their way: they have endured past administrations; what makes us think they are going to make this an easy win for the current one?

Change as is known has not just already come but is always going to be the way of things. Its presence sometimes appears as a surprise but also as the slow and patient process people nowadays are becoming rather petulant. What it means for the current administration however is misinterpreted by the executive bodies working along grassroots line as something one should swiftly kill for. And the people, in the name of democracy, are exercising a loutish brand of the name they respect so much. Here, the idea of change points back to the enduring reminder that generation and corruption co-exist, even politically, when the two sides of actions would haunt this sordid scene over and over.

In the rising but also diminishing effect then of the Duterte drug, this name will soon face the light of the future reality – and the dawn of a better or worse Philippines will either honor or blaspheme his omnipresent specter in the years to come.


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