Hart’s and Callamard’s preposterous claims on drugs

By Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc May 18,2017


If I were one of those who personally heard the claim of African-American Professor Carl Hart as cited by United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard that there is no evidence that shabu leads to violence and brain damage, I would have fallen from my seat. Add to that the startling irony that she was invited as a speaker at the supposedly seat of intellectualism in the country, the University of the Philippines (UP).

Inside an academe, whether in UP or not, the basic demand is for one who makes a claim to at least show the data as being credible. Passion alone cannot stand the light of inquiry. The school is not called the marketplace of ideas for nothing.

It was a very shocking claim, and it insulted the intelligence of the Filipino people. It was used by Callamard to convey and support her message before her audience at the University of the Philippines.

Callamard, a critic of Duterte’s war on drugs, was invited by the local human rights groups and Free Legal Assistance Group to speak before an audience gathered at UP last, last week. Her background and credibility as UN rapporteur was in advance well hyped, apparently calculated at producing an effect of conditioning the mind of the people into believing her message to attack the Philippine president.

Unfortunately for them, however, the plan backfired. The substance of Callamard’s speech or attack against President Duterte and her tweet on social media quoting Professor Hart that shabu cannot cause damage to the person’s brain naturally and spontaneously resulted in the destruction of any credibility left in her person, if she had any. Even some anti-Duterte individuals could only shake their heads in disbelief.

I am inclined to believe that those who invited Callamard to speak were unaware of what was coming — the shocking and unbelievable content of her speech and the succeeding social media tweets. Maybe, by this time, they have already regretted having her as speaker. What a disgrace!

Callmard’s and Hart’s claim totally run counter to the findings of medical experts and even those observed by ordinary people about the huge damaging effect of shabu on the person’s brain and the domino effect it has on the life of Philippine society.

Ordinary people observe the effect of shabu on the brain of the users. In fact, countless incidents like theft, robbery, rapes of babies, murders of siblings, et cetera, are traceable to the use of illegal drugs. A lot of crimes, the police would tell us, are drug related.

To satisfy my radio listeners over dyHP RMN Cebu, I called up Dr. Rene Obra, a US-trained medical practitioner and the chief of VSSMC Center for Behavioral Sciences. He discussed the huge damage of shabu on the brain.

In fact, when I told him about the claim of Professor Hart, he could not stop himself from saying that the said person should be brought to his clinic.

With Hart’s and Callmard’s claim about shabu, I can now perfectly understand why they are very fierce critics of Duterte’s way of solving the drug problems in the Philippines because in the first place they don’t even consider shabu as a problem because they don’t believe it damages a person’s brain.

It is so natural that there is a collision of ideas in solving the drug problem because while Duterte, the medical experts and ordinary people see the reality of the huge damage of shabu on one hand, Callamard and Hart see and believe otherwise.

I hope that the critics of President Duterte will not be too blind or too deaf that they would believe in a claim which finds no support in science and logic.

Obsession blinds a person and makes him believe in a biased speech and claim hook, line and sinker. Thankfully, no one — or I have yet to hear one — buys the preposterous claim.

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