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Justice for Joeffy
$2,785 raised
111% of $2.5k goal
57 contributors
91 Weeks running

Grief and darkness have enveloped my family and relatives right now. I’ve learned only recently that two days after I left the Philippines for Honolulu (where I'm doing graduate studies), my younger brother Joeffy was arrested by two police officers for allegedly using and selling drugs (but his drug test results: NEGATIVE). These two police officers have used my brother as exhibit in their “accomplishment” report. My brother, now in prison in Libona Bukidnon, is wondering what he did wrong. Truth be told, he committed no crime.

This is what happened: Joeffy was on his motorcycle and on his way back home from a nearby barangay. Two police officers stopped him at a rather quiet section of the national road. They pointed a pistol at him and was told to raise his hands. He complied. Then the female police officer rummaged in his pocket and “found” 2 sachets of shabu (meth) and 500 pesos. The report says my brother was caught in a buy-bust operation. But there was obviously no buy-bust operation. Again, he was alone on his motorcycle. The officers stopped him. Where was the buy-bust? There was no transaction between him and a buyer. Ridiculous!

Unlike me who’s privileged in many ways, my younger brother is a school dropout. He got into trouble several times when he was a teenager, but several (7?) years ago, when he began to realize how hard it is to earn a living, all of us in the family saw his change of character. When I was home during the summer, Joeffy told me he wanted to learn more and if I could please teach him to improve his reading ability, and so I did. We had reading sessions for several nights. Every time I go back to the Philippines, he humbly drives me to work or whenever I need to get a haircut or want to eat balut. He patiently cooks for us at home. Despite being a school dropout, Joeffy has managed to pull his act together. He earns a living by growing chickens and pigs. He doesn’t drink or smoke, much less do drugs. He doesn’t stay out late at night and is usually already home at 5PM to cook dinner or to watch the teledrama WildFlower. Recently, he took to driving a habal-habal. Joeffy is an avid supporter of Duterte’s war on drugs. When I was home for the summer, he told me how he likes the fact that now drug users in our barangay have already stopped using drugs out of fear that they will end up getting killed. I had to remind him about human rights. Sometimes we argued because he doesn’t seem to see how the current regime attacks and dehumanizes the poor, the vulnerable. I also had to remind him that Martial Law allows the police officers to arrest anyone without warrant.

A couple of months ago, I read an article that warns people about “Tanim Shabu” (planted meth as evidence, always 2 sachets!) which has become rampant during Duterte’s regime. I even posted it on Facebook, warning friends that it could happen to anyone. But I never really imagined it happening to my brother. Now the police officers have an “accomplishment” to show to Duterte and to PNP Chief Bato that they are “doing their job”. But at whose expense? They target the poor because they know it is financially difficult for us to get good lawyers. What has happened to our country? We have public lawyers who are afraid of Duterte. We have judges who are afraid of Duterte. We have lawyers who are afraid of being targeted by vigilantes. There is no safe place for anyone anymore, not even our sleepy town in Bukidnon.

Didn’t Pres Duterte himself tell his policemen on national TV that if a drug suspect has no gun, give him a gun and kill him by making it appear that he fought back? Didn’t Duterte himself admit, again on national TV, to planting evidence while he was a fiscal lawyer? And look at the spate of killings lately. Over 10 thousand killed and counting! Many of our police officers cannot be trusted. Recently, the murder of 17-year old Kian Delos Santos and many more who got killed because they “fought back”, when witnesses, including CCTVs, say otherwise shows that this government could have started the war on drugs by doing reforms in the Philippine National Police and in our justice system. Or that maybe a war against poverty is a much better route.

My family is afraid for the safety of my brother, especially that Duterte’s rhetoric enables our country’s police officers to kill with impunity. But it's exactly the silence of the poor that allows the abuses of many police officers. My family will not be silenced. We will use the amount collected from this fundraising effort and our family's limited resources (including my small stipend as a graduate assistant) to get good lawyers who can defend Joeffy. We are poor, but we will do everything we can to resist. Please help us pray for strength as we seek justice for my brother.

 

***For Philippine Peso deposit, send money via Western Union to:

Eleanor E. Parba

Contact #: 09260146164

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