Citizens’ rights or human rights? PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 November 2017 13:44

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

Citizens of a particular country have certain rights that they can legitimately claim as theirs because of their citizenship. These rights are stated in the country’s constitution or in particular laws enacted by the country’s law making bodies. An example  might be the right to vote for the candidate of one’s choice. But a right like this is still circumscribed by certain limitations. The right to vote for one’s choice in an election can have legal limitations, like the age of the voter or the place where one can vote.

Claims of rights being violated or ignored have been a thorn  in the flesh of this present administration, and have been particularly associated with the way  the war on illegal drugs has been carried out.  PRRD becomes a raging bull when he becomes aware that foreign nations or organizations have commented on the manner on how the war has been pursued. He loses even the most basic politeness to personalities who are his equals, using a vocabulary of profanities that would lead a mother to want to soap his mouth. Think US Pres. Barack Obama and  UN Gen Secretary Ban Ki-moon as examples of his profanity targets.

I would agree with PRRD when he becomes incensed with people who comment on the violation of Filipino citizens’ rights in our country. But those who have protested, Filipinos or not, are those who feel that it is not simply citizens’ rights that have been violated but the human rights of the victims of Tokhang or operations of the PNP in pursuing the war on illegal drugs.

Human rights are those rights that accrue to a person simply because s/he belongs to the human race. Those who protest the violation of these rights do so because they recognize that these rights are inherent to the person, regardless of citizenship.

I have a right to the preservation of my life and no state can ( or should) violate this even in pursuit of the  noble end of cleaning up society by   getting rid of people engaged in the drug trade in one way or another.

The shallow excuse for gunning down a drug user or pusher has been the oft-repeated “nanlaban” which made the PNP  shoot the druggie. Numbers we have come across as to how many have been killed in this way have not been consistent. Whether one  or a thousand makes no difference – it is simply too many.

The majority of  Filipinos are among the poorest in this part of the world. If they can’t have what many associate with a good life, at least we should  give them the dignity of being recognized as  members  of humanity and respect their human rights.