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Bayan Muna: Shaming is a violation of human rights, says it will not curb the country’s drug problem

MANILA, Philippines – Shaming of suspects is not a deterrent to crime. Suspect shaming is in fact a violation of human rights.
This is how Bayan Muna partylist representative and human rights lawyer Carlos Isagani Zarate reacted to the so-called “Flores de Pusher” in Tanauan, Batangas.
“Foremost, it is a violation of human dignity to display persons in such a manner. In our fight against drug abuse and criminality, we should not disregard the respect for human rights as it is our defense against the tyranny of those in power. Human rights should not be taken lightly,” Rep. Zarate said.
“Shaming is clearly anti-poor. In our flawed justice system, we see big time criminals and plunderers walk scot-free while the poor are taking the hardest whacks from the stick. The problem prospers amid social injustices,” the progressive solon said.
“Poverty, the greatest impetus to criminality, must be addressed to combat our nagging drug and criminality problems,” he stressed.
He noted that some of those who were made to walk in shame were not even convicted of peddling of illegal drugs.
“In our smug attitude against drug dependents and small-time drug pushers, we might be forgetting our humanity. The steam generated by the strong anti-drug stance of the incoming administration of President-elect Duterte should be directed into capturing and punishing the drug lords and their protectors, and not only focusing on poor people who are victims themselves,” Rep. Zarate further said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.