editorial.issue.no.36

Front page of The New York Times on Aug. 3, 2016.


WE, at the Filipino Reporter, welcome Vice President Leonora Robredo, or VP Leni as she is widely referred to in the Philippines.

The Vice President’s U.S. visit is private.

She is to address the delegates to the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) national conference in Pennsylvania on Aug. 5-6.

But, the visit is made more relevant by the front page picture in the globally influential and powerful New York Times (NYT) on Aug. 3 of a Filipina wife embracing her dead husband, a tricycle driver, who was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen for supposedly being a drug pusher, and a feature story about the extra-judicial killings (EJK) of alleged drug traffickers as an ongoing policy in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte.

Unfortunately, aside from the fact that the VP’s visit did not pass through established protocol, she will only be around for 48 hours.

Only few Filipino-Americans will have a chance to see and to meet her.

As the second highest official of the Philippines, she would have been in the best position to explain what’s happening in the native country.

(In an earlier speech in Manila, she has expressed her reservations to EJK and, at the same time, condemned it.)

The NYT reported the powerful remarks of the victim’s widow, “We’re small people, insignificant,” Jennilyn Olayres said through sobs as she stood next to her husband’s coffin.

“We may be invisible to you, but we are real. Please stop the killings.”

Most of those killed under the Duterte campaign are poor.

The Times also reported that since Mr. Duterte assumed office a month ago, over 400 suspected drug traffickers had been killed.

Now that the Duterte-sanctioned killings issue has reached mainstream U.S. media, Americans, as well as American officials may start a conversation or discussion on this matter.

We all know how life is regarded in America.

Intentional killing is a big no, no here.

Lest we are misinterpreted, we support the advocacy of President Duterte to end drugs, crimes and corruption in government.

We wish him the best.

However, we are opposed to extra-judicial killings.

The President and his executioners must adhere to due process and to the rule of law.

From the classroom to the Bible, killing is not tolerated and every life is respected.

Historically, people have refused to kill even when this could benefit the greater number.

Article II, Section 11 of the Philippine Constitution provides, “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.”

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

According to the Bible, the lives of all humans, both their own and others’, are to be cherished and guarded. Life is a gift from God.

The sixth commandment is “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13).

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