Debunking Myths and the Drug War in the Philippines

In a Harvard Business Review article, Christopher Graves enumerates reasons why debunking myths is a very difficult task. Working from findings made by social scientists, Graves finds four major reasons:
  • Arguing the facts doesn’t help—in fact, it makes the situation worse.
  • Repeating the myth inadvertently popularizes it.
  • Affirmation works – but we rarely use it.
  • We consistently underestimate the power of narrative.
Above copied from Top Five Myths about Alcohol
Thus, with the above in mind, the previous post on this blog was really an exercise in futility.

So, below may be a more effective step. This is a narrative. It comes from the Kaibigan Foundation
Kaibigan Foundation (an NGO based in Manila) condemns the killing of Jefferson Bunuan, a 20 year old student beneficiary. Jefferson is a sponsored child of the foundation for eleven years. As described by Kaibigan staff, Jefferson is polite, soft-spoken, and has shown determination to finish his studies despite experiencing life difficulties. He was in fact a graduate of welding course last year and continued his studies in criminology. This is the reason why Kaibigan was so shocked upon hearing the news that he, along with other two suspected drug pushers, were killed in allegedly buy-bust operation in Sta. Ana, Manila.
As a child’s right advocate, we call to stop extra judicial killing and to follow due process and fair hearing on imposing anti-drug campaign.
Last Monday, July 18 at approximately 11 in the evening, three “suspected” drug pushers were killed in a “said” buy-bust operation in Raymundo St. Sta. Ana, Manila, namely Jomar “Totong” Manaois (20), Jefferson Bunuan (20) and his cousin Mark Anthony Bunuan (18). The police said that a gunfight ensued leading to the death of the three. According to Manila Police District Station 6 – Chief Superintendent Robert Domingo, their main target was Jomar but since Jefferson and Mark were there, they also shot them as they are Jomar’s “cohorts”.
One of the victims, Jefferson Bunuan is a scholar of Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation, Inc. (KEOFI) since he started his schooling. Jeff was the fourth of five children and became a fatherless at an early age. Jefferson perfectly understood the situation of their family that’s why he was very keen to finish his studies. As described by her mother, he is a diligent student. In fact, he sometimes goes to school even without an allowance.
For eleven years, he stayed as a beneficiary of Kaibigan. As a kid, he was very shy, but he participated actively in different activities of the foundation. Despite financial difficulties, he managed to graduate in elementary and high school. He also took up skills training course Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW).
Jefferson’s childhood dream was to be a policeman because he wants to give justice to his father who was killed when he was young. He is a first year college student taking up BS Criminology in Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST). He is also a volunteer of Lambat Sibat, a PNP program which aims to prevent crimes in the country.
According to her sister Lovely, it was 10PM when the policemen conducted their zoning at Brgy. 770 when in fact, they (policemen) were waiting for Totong to go home for them to catch-on-act the suspected buy-bust operation. Unfortunately, Jeff and Mark were sleeping in Totong’s house that time. It was because there was no space in their house since Jeff’s sister just gave birth.
After almost an hour, Lovely, with her relatives, came to Totong’s house as they had throbbed that something wrong was happening. The policemen inhibited them to get nearer to the said house and told them that everything was fine. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, SOCO team came and got the dead bodies out of the house. Lovely firmly went to a proximate distance to see the bag and saw her brother and cousin both dead.
Lovely contradicted the statement of Police Superintendent Robert Domingo that the group was armed as they entered the door so they just protected themselves and immediately shot them. According to Lovely, she talked to the three girls who were inside the house before the incident occurred. She was told that Jeff and Mark were in fact sleeping at that very moment. Supt. Domingo also said that there was a gunfight, but the three girls said that they heard the Totong (being the only one awake that time) surrendered and told the policemen not to implicate his two friends.
The three girls also told Lovely that before the said buy-bust operation, the policemen ordered them to get out of the house because they will conduct an inside investigation. The girls followed their orders while Totong remained inside and the other two victims were still sleeping. Policemen immediately entered the house and in just a few seconds later, they heard Totong surrendering, followed by 7 gunshots.
The dead body position of Totong signifies that he probably fell down backwards when he was shot from his surrendering position. This is all contradicting to the statements of the policemen that the group initiated the gunfight and a buy-bust operation was happening.
Due to this, Kaibigan Foundation raises its voice to the authorities to investigate this “unjust” killing of innocent people. This is discrimination and a violation of the human rights. We are after justice and we don’t want these things to happen again as we advocate human (specifically children’s) rights protection.