Human Rights Matter

Human Rights matter

There is no dispute that illegal drugs should be stopped by the full force of the law. The law cannot continue to stand still while the future is being ravished by conscienceless drug syndicates. Considering our present situation, a total war on drugs is imperative. This is the only cure to a horrifying disease that has embedded itself deeply in every corner of society today.

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Courtesy of CNN.com

Despite of this,  there are some basic principles which should not be disregarded if the Philippines is to remain a constitutional democracy. Among these basic principles are the rule of law and human rights. No constitutional government will have legitimate claim to history unless these two basic premises of democracy are upheld and protected.

The rule of law enunciates that everyone, especially those entrusted with governmental powers, should abide with the mandate and processes of the law. In general, political and administrative shortcuts are anathema to the regime of the rule of law. It is for these deviations that the law lays down the basic rules governing the exercise of public power and the conduct of official business.

war-on-drugs-2

Courtesy of Inquireonline.com

Meanwhile, human rights provide boundaries to the vast powers of the government. The government is too powerful to be left without limits. Human rights are the primary limitations to the vast powers of the government. In theory, the government may do everything it deems proper to promote the public good but in doing so, it cannot tinker with the rights of the people to be left alone, to be treated with dignity, and to participate in public matters affecting their welfare. In practice, officials and other state agents may use their powers to stop all things that maybe hurtful to the public but they cannot do this in oppressive, arbitrary, despotic, and unreasonable manner violative of the rights of the people.

With the public pronouncements of incoming administration officials that the war against drugs will be bloody, human rights lie on the precipice. The danger of the law enforcement pillar of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) becoming an executioner of private vengeance in the name of the public good is real. In the process, the police will usurp the legitimate powers of the other pillars of the CJS rendering them inutile and irrelevant.

For this reason, it is imperative that the pillars of democracy—the Church, the military, and the civil society—stand together in the defense of human rights and the rule of law. Human rights should prevail lest we all perish from cynicism and insanity of the time.

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