There is no doubt on the good news brought about by the lives spared by the National Leadership in commuting the death sentences pronounced on more than 300 convicts. What was done was but just and right. In no way has the State given life to any citizen and in no way too has it the competence to take away the life of any.
It is incumbent upon the government to serve the people who after all finance its necessities and conveniences through their payments of periodic direct and continuous indirect taxes. In fact, taxes in favor of the government are the constant accompaniment of every citizen from the womb to the tomb.
Service to people by the government comes in many different forms, ways and means. But killing citizen is not part of it. Convicted of big crimes, brought behind bars and rendered confined in their movements—it is incongruous if not atrocious to say that ending the lives of these individuals is serving them still. The government even prevents individuals from killing themselves. But how come the same government thinks it can do the killing?
That is why side by side with the number of lives of convicted felons spared by the national leadership is the very disturbing number of presumed innocent lives killed during the incumbency of the same administration. While more than 300 lives were spared, more than 500 lives were exterminated—and still counting practically everyday.
In other words, if the truth has to be said, the praise and admiration heaped upon the national leadership for sparing lives are much overshadowed by the anger it generated and the disdain it earned for the much bigger number of lives suddenly and unjustly terminated during the tenure of office of the same administration.
This is definitely not fault-finding but merely fact-finding. This is not to deny where merit is due simply to say where demerit is found. As negativism is wrong, neither is over-positivism right.
The point in all these is to ask the following questions: What for is the so-called “Bantay Laya” Plan? Contrary to it direct meaning of watching and thereby securing national freedom, does it imply the extermination of all those who dissent with the government? Does people’s dissent with the government now already constitutes a heinous crime?
5 May 2006