The Davao Death Squad is a vigilante group prowling the province of Davao, Philippines and reputed to carry out extrajudicial killings of criminals. Davao mayor and potential presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte has admitted links to the said squad. Consequently, he also warns of the consequences should he win the presidency: the extrajudicial killings which are currently limited to his province will extend to the whole country; if the present count of extrajudicial killings is at 1000 criminals, the number may go up to 50,000.
So, aside from the Commission on Human Rights, is anyone else complaining? The province of Davao has come to have one of the lowest crime rates in the country. If this can be attributed to the Davao Death Squad and if they can take their operations to benefit the entire country, why should anyone oppose the idea?
Oh, right, we have a constitution which advocates that no one should be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law. The imposition of the death penalty is also suspended which implies that it is prohibited to kill someone under the pretext that they committed a crime, no matter how heinous.
But what is there to do when the intended safeguards of the legal system backfire in the sense that it protects the criminals but in the process sacrifices the right of everyone else to a safe and secure environment?
Let’s take a look at some of the consequences of too much due process and the uncalled for suspension of the death penalty: court hearings can be delayed endlessly, so with the detention and conviction of alleged criminals. Meanwhile, such alleged criminals continue to enjoy the freedom to roam the streets. No one can stop them despite the underlying threat they pose because, as they have not been convicted, they continue to enjoy their liberty. Even after conviction for the most heinous crime, no one can demand for the imposition of the death penalty.
This article was not intended to justify the existence of the Davao Death Squad nor to support the possible candidacy of the mayor linked to the same. It was only intended to point out that sometimes the permanent expulsion of hardened criminals is the only solution to the peace and order problem. It is unclear if the squad carries out its own process to ascertain the guilt of their potential victim, but that is another story. Right now, the story that matters is that the Davao Death Squad has had a positive effect on a part of the country and, unless you’re a criminal, planning to be one, or related to one, their taking a prowl in the rest of the country should not be feared but welcomed.