It’s literally all the rage right now that Senator Leila de Lima has been arrested for allegedly helping out the illegal drug trade in the country.
Yes, it seems like a bunch of toxicity happening on the national level, on the adult level, and it is. But it’s a huge deal symbolically. Regardless of how you might feel about her, this rather railroaded arrest means a lot of things to a whole lot of people. No further bullshit here, let’s just count the ways:
- You really will be a target if you make enough noise. This has been clear since the first time someone got shot down in Manila for being an alleged drug pusher. But the president’s made it clear that the good senator was public enemy number one. So if one of us noisy mosquitoes ever, ever gets taken away in the dead of night like the good ol’ days of martial law, you already know what it is. Anyone can now be a political prisoner.
- As a corollary, it’s getting real sketchy to be arrested at night. De Lima has expressed her wishes to have a daytime arrest, for reasons that should be obvious by now. (Hint: it’s got something to do with guns.)
- The government’s getting real good at distracting the people. So there’s a bigwig police officer testifying against Duterte earlier this week, right? This administration’s desperate to cause a huge diversion, even if it technically doesn’t hold up in court. At this point, you can only hope that the court is on justice’s side, too, because they’re real shaky on that part right now.
- Oh, and this is further dividing us as a country. Truth is, all this makes the administration look bad because what they’re doing is so plain, but obviously, those for the government are cheering this, and you’ll have a hard time getting through to a lot of those people. So if shit hits the fan any further, the social fallout may be a lot worse. (We just don’t want to imagine what that might look like at the moment.)
So if you’re mad about this, stay being mad. This isn’t a good look at all for a government and a country that says they’re styling themselves as a democracy. It’s starting to feel a lot like martial law without the label; all that’s left is for the ordinary Filipino to be next. If they’re still alive to be arrested, that is.
Photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer