Operation Greyhound and male circumcision
The latest Operation Greyhound conducted at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) is inarguably successful if our only gauge is the pieces of contraband recovered from the inmates. For that I would congratulate Regional Director Yogi Felimon Ruiz of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
However, the “success” that Ruiz and his men are touting is clearly not enough to justify the cruel and primitive act that the more than 3,000 inmates endured when they were ordered to undress throughout the conduct of the raid inside the jail facility.
Ruiz recently told reporters that the human rights of the inmates were not violated by his order to have them stripped naked because he was putting a premium on the safety of the members of the raiding team who could have been mobbed and stabbed by the inmates at the height of the raid.
While Ruiz has some personal reasons to order the undressing of the inmates, the act is devoid of respect, class and civility because the directive is plainly “Stone Age” and is reminiscent of photos inside Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust before the people were gassed to death.
This is a classic example of the cliché that the end doesn’t justify the means because whatever reasons he would present still could not equate to the shame and physical anguish that the inmates suffered all throughout the dawn where they sat on the concrete pavement without anything to protect their butts from the cold pavements.
Like anyone, I hope that the one responsible for the directive to let the inmates undress could remember the day when he was brought by his parents to the clinic or hospital for circumcision, where most children are reluctant to follow the order to take off their pants to begin with the ritual to manhood.
Innocent as we were then, we already felt the shame of exposing our private parts and I just could not imagine how embarrassed and humiliated the inmates were in converging with other naked people around them, not to mention the physical anguish they suffered from enduring the cold dawn.
Ruiz lacks the moral ascendancy to say whether the inmates’ rights were violated or not because he was not the one at the receiving end of the order.
The right persons who can tell whether their rights were violated are the inmates themselves.
Granting that Ruiz has a good reason to order the undressing, he could have prevented anyone from taking photos of the hapless inmates and leaked it to social media for everyone to feast on. Being on top of the operation, Ruiz should be penalized for the leaked photos.
Ruiz could have at least allowed the inmates to wear their briefs, anyway I don’t think that this small patch of cloth turned into male undergarment could conceal a deadly weapon that could have been used to attack the members of the raiding team.
Guilty or not of the charges leveled against them in court, the inmates are already living in dismal conditions in jail, and subjecting them to strip searches is like rubbing salt to a gaping wound because that is a direct assault on a person’s dignity.
The order for a strip search on inmates is not only a physical but emotional assault that robs them of their self-respect by denigrating them to the lowest level.
It also causes emotional anguish on all the families who have relatives incarcerated inside CPDRC because it is a preview of how their loved ones suffered under the custody of government people.
I support the fight against illegal drugs, but please be humane in dealing with those involved in illegal drug activities because, like the PDEA agents and all those involved in the operation, inmates are humans as well who have families who love and care for them.
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