SOME world leaders misunderstand your president. One of them is César Gaviria, former president of Colombia who led a failed drug war in that country. On Feb. 7, 2017, the New York Times published an article by Gaviria. Excerpt:
“Illegal drugs are a matter of national security, but the war against them cannot be won by armed forces and law enforcement agencies alone. Throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users is not just a waste of money but also can actually make the problem worse. Locking up nonviolent offenders and drug users almost always backfires, instead strengthening organized crime.
“That is the message I would like to send to the world and, especially, to President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. Trust me, I learned the hard way.”
As it turned out, your president promptly called Gaviria an idiot, explaining that the drug problem in the Philippines is different from that of Colombia. He seemed to forget that in Sept. 2016, the director of the Philippine National Police, Ronald dela Rosa, went to Colombia “to exchange notes”.
So, your president sent dela Rosa to Colombia to study how the Colombian police dealt with their drug problem because the Colombian drug problem is different from the Philippine drug problem and because the former president of Colombia who led the Colombian drug war is an idiot.
If that sounds confusing, it’s because it is. If your president were correct, if war is the best way to deal with drugs, we would most likely have an international conference on extra-judicial killing today in Davao City, with policemen from many parts of the world participating — from Israel, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Japan, Australia, the UK, the US and Canada. They would be thankful to learn how our drug war can bring more peace and prosperity.
But until now, for 20 years since your president transformed extra-judicial killing into a cottage industry in Davao, no one has bothered to come to get educated. Instead, we have driven some foreign investors and tourists. We have attracted more journalists and human rights advocates. They are counting the bodies. And one of them has won a Pulitzer Prize. Almost every week, a reputable international news agency publishes another report of the butchery.
The latest of this is another stupid article by Gaviria, and he is telling the world that although your president won the 2017 most influential person poll by TIME magazine, your president is still very much mistaken.
What an idiot, indeed, this Gaviria. He should have asked Miss Colombia to go to Malacañang instead.