- in Opinion

President Rody Duterte is fighting a war on many fronts. But the most visible one is the war against drugs.
It is a war that many people wish they won’t have to fight. It is not only because it is dangerous because it means trading shots with criminal and drug syndicates.
It is also because this is a war without borders – and the “enemy” can be someone you dearly love.
And yet, notwithstanding the expected hesitation, it is a war that must be fought because losing it would mean practically handing over our children to certain perdition.
Pres. Duterte has been categorical about this even during the campaign. While other candidates would have simply played along and evade controversy, he waded right into it so many times.
“If I become president, there will be no such thing as bloodless cleansing,” he warned on many occasions, sending his media handlers cringing in fright.
It might have been a PR nightmare, but the man is no worshipper of PR. After the initial shock, more Filipinos agreed with the only candidate who dared to take the drug problem by its horns.
There was no mistaking the President’s impact as the tide turned swiftly in favor of the anti-drug campaign.
Even before he formally assumed office, self-confessed drug addicts and users turned themselves in by the thousands. And yes, bodies were turning up lifeless in drug-related incidents.
This is not to say the war has been won – or close to being won.
Those who benefitted from the drug trade, and those who stand to lose their privileges in a Duterte presidency, are not about to wave the red flag. Not in the near future.
No, it would be out of character for them to just roll over and die.
So the war rages.
The anti-Duterte forces scream at just about anything the President does – or does not do. While they could well cut their throats to deny malice and bias, there is no denying the consistent effort to embarrass, humiliate, mock, scorn, condemn or bad-mouth the President.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to prove the links between the drug syndicates and other anti-Duterte forces. We have to be give them more respect than they give the President to expect them to volunteer proofs of their collusion.
And it does not even matter if they work separately or in harmony with each other. What is clear is that they want Duterte out and they won’t stop at nothing to accomplish that mission.
Indeed, this is a war where everybody has a stake. After all, everybody contributed to the success of the drug trade – either by sin of commission or sin of omission.
The first by active participation, the second simply by indifference. Those who frolicked in the previous administration certainly have a lot of explaining to do but they go about as though they were the best thing that happened to this country.
There is no middle ground in the war against drugs. Either you’re for it or you’re against it.
It is not difficult to identify those who are for it. Aside from government workers in the different agencies, there are the non-government, volunteers and private individuals who do their share: from giving information to defending the Duterte administration from those opposed to the war against drugs.
It is not the same thing with those who are fighting on the side of drug syndicates. Obviously, no one would go as far as declare that.
Some say they support the war against drugs, BUT, it must not compromise human rights. More specifically, they don’t want any drug suspect killed. They shed no tears for lawmen killed, but raise howls of protest all the way to the churches when it is people in conflict with the law.
Others say they support the war against drugs, BUT, there must be due process. Yes, the same justice system that has not resolved not only the Luisita and Ampatuan massacres but even the daylight murder of Ninoy Aquino.
Still others say they have nothing against the war against drugs, BUT, there are also other concerns that needs the President’s attention and not just peace and order.
They are the honorable, pious, well-mannered and decent people, and all those scandalized by a “dirty” war that has no place in a civilized society.
Well, those who are fighting on the side of drug lords and drug syndicates need not identify themselves.
By their acts you will know them.
In fighting this war, Sun Tzu has interesting insights which can give us sound perspective.
“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”
Are we there yet? How we wish.

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