216_7472POLITICAL VIOLENCE is not just physical violence committed by clans, dynasties, or ruthless politicians on their opponents; the fact that we have all accepted harassment, intimidation, and fear as “the new normal” shows that all of us are already victims of political violence.

With that statement, De La Salle College of Law assistant professor and human rights lawyer Milabel Cristobal wrapped up the overview she gave of the human rights situation in the country during the first day of the investigative reporting seminar conducted by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism for Visayas reporters.

Cristobal said that political violence has become so all-encompassing that it is no longer limited to those who are direct victims of violence by political forces.

“We as ordinary citizens, we deserve to be in a peaceful and orderly society. If there is a failure of government to comply with its responsibility to ensure safety, that is already violence on you as a citizen,” Cristobal said.

“It is not just about killings and ambushes, it is not just about government or politically powerful people,” Cristobal added. “Political violence is already structural in nature.”

Cristobal pointed out that the clearest sign of this is our present idea of what is normal. For example, Cristobal said people now assume that the bureaucracy will not work unless a citizen knows someone influential.

“This already warps our concept of what is normal. We already have the new normal,” Cristobal told the reporter-participants. “Kaya ang mga tao, naghahanap palagi ng kakilala, kasi it seems that nobody believes that anything will work unless you know someone or somebody. That is a warped way of thinking but that is how it already is.”







Comment Form