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Law of the silver spoon.

I feel guilty that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

Driving home at night, I see kids in the streets still wearing their school uniforms, selling sampaguita garlands. And it seems that the culpability is magnified. I buy some if I have loose change or if the traffic light permits. In the event that I don't and push the gas pedal instead, I feel their eyes perforating the car window, as if I owe them something. And maybe I do. Maybe there exists an ethical standard among the bourgeois to aid those who need it the most, to let go of their excesses.

I've nursed these thoughts ever since I noticed that apart from selling flowers, children have resorted to other means of commerce. Some diligently clean your car window, sing serenades using improvised instruments, or sell toy helicopters. Even after midnight, coming home after a night out with friends, I see the same children holding on to the last sampaguita garland.

These thoughts carry more heft than ever given the current milieu that the administration has brought about. Maybe it's even better if these kids remain in the streets where it never gets dark. Where car headlights and street lamps illuminate the roads until dawn while active eyes constantly survey the surroundings. Maybe secretly, I don't want their flowers to run out so they'll never have to go home.

Because at home they are never safe. Come nighttime, masked men who wield guns ride around on their motorcycles, traversing the narrow spaces between makeshift homes. Suspected drug addicts are gunned down. Even if you don't even know what shabu looks like, there's a chance you'll be on the receiving end of a gun. In this day and age, human corpses are accepted as collateral damage.

Is this really a war on drugs, or a genocide of those living on the margins? Those on the peripheries who-for the need of numbing hunger or a wish to forget all of life's struggles for just a few hours-douse their veins with an illegal substance, not fully knowing its deadly effects on their mind, body, soul?

But there is no doubt that some of them have killed, too. Maybe their murderous thoughts were lubricated by shabu. Whether it was done on their own volition or willed by drugs, a requisite punishment should be imposed. A punishment which, in spite of the blood on their hands, recognizes their humanity, their ability to seek redemption.

For as long as the heart is beating, there exists a capacity to love. The capacity to love is what makes us human. And all humans deserve to live. But the President doesn't quite understand this.

It seems that when you've held tooter, foil, lighter, and grams of shabu, then your history of loving is reduced to ashes. Pictures of you-together with your girlfriend, your mother, your father, your buddies, your tita-are frantically gnawed by flames as fast as the administration absolves the sins of those who killed you.

But what's the point of the law if it favors only a select few? Why can the law be stretched to protect those who have killed under a false pretense of justice? Why can the law be tweaked for those who have done you a favor in the past? How come a thieving despot can be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani?

How come the law favors those with a thicker wallet? Why does petty theft leave the suspect behind rusty steel bars, where he coils his body with so many like him on cold concrete? Yet those who have snagged millions of pesos are good as free and can even run again for public office?

How come it seems like the law can be bought? How come if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, the law turns coy on you?
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 10, 2017
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