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Gloom, doom

by Jullie Y. Daza

HOLY Week takes care of the gloom. Whence the doom and where does it end?

For the families of the thousands killed – innocent victims, collateral damage, or they-were- asking-for-it guilty – life will never be the same, no matter how deeply the surviving kin realize, without the ability to articulate such feelings, that mankind lives with death every day. Small consolation, that.

Until those “deaths under investigation” are actually investigated and the results released, the police will continue to operate under a cloud and attract the unwanted attention of the international community and its media, who find the execution of the drug war so compelling that they attribute every single incident to the Duterte administration. PNP’s “Operation Tokhang” came and went, was suspended for a while, then resumed with a vengeance-seeking name, “Double Barreled,” and still the killings continued, following creepily similar patterns of victimology and modus operandi.

More than 7,000 dead and neither PNP nor the Commission on Human Rights eager to tell us who’s doing the shooting, cops or vigilantes or agents of the devil in the drug trade? Meanwhile, Bagong Silang in Caloocan and environs have been identified as a virtual killing field. After a visit to parishes there, Fr. Joselito Sarabia, CM, told volunteers of the Holy Eucharist Mass Action (HEMA) that in the Lourdes area alone, there were 100 dead; Mabuting Pastol (three parishes), 50; Waling-Waling sitio, 50; and Bagong Silang (in six out of 10 parishes), 150 – for a total of 350.

What are these figures telling us? Each death is a mystery, but broken down into smaller numbers and pinpointed by address, the killings become more than a mass of statistics, which may explain why photographer Daniel Berehulak’s coverage of the drug war won him the Pulitzer Prize – his pictures were not of a pile of bodies but of individuals, each bloodied body an untold story of its own, alongside the grief of a crying wife or child.

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