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Questions on Amnesty International Report on Philippines War on Drugs

Amnesty International Philippines Killings

Amnesty International recently published a report on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. The report reveals how it seems that the war on drugs is targeting the poor. Whichever view one takes, it is likely based on perception as reported by the news media. But here, somehow, someway, we know.

For someone who lives in the Philippines, it is hard to dispute the report. In more ways than one, it might as well be the written version of the thoughts of many Filipinos. In other words, Amnesty International’s report is consistent with the people’s suspicions.

Questions for Amnesty International and Thoughts

What was the intention of coming up with the report? Was it to gather facts on what is happening here or to find proof of extrajudicial killings? From the report, itself, it appears that the purpose was the latter, rather than the former. For that reason, it may not paint an accurate picture of what is going on.

Polarizing issues make it hard to have an open mind. The Chinese philosopher said that to remain open minded, a person must not form an opinion. Once there is an opinion, then the bias makes it hard to see the same thing from another perspective.

Amnesty International could and should include interviews in cases involving policemen wounded or killed. Instead, the report’s intent is to show that the killings are state-sponsored. Even so, the fact remains that there are unlawful killings and that should stop.

Some of the local officials have spoken against the report. Show proof, they say. But what kind of proof could Amnesty International show? For instance, they interviewed alleged assassins but how do they know they are real? If for the sake of proving that the assassins are real, should the investigative team observe a murder?

Yes, there is a need to protect the identity of informants or sources. But knowing that there is at least one person claiming to be an assassin, and worse, knowing that if true then this person is going to kill again, should Amnesty International keep the identity a secret?

The job of Amnesty International is not easy. At times, they have to live in a world where there are no lines at all, even as they push for respect of human rights.