Justice for Rowena: Reaping what we sow from the Philippine War on Drugs

Just last week, we faced with the news of the death of Jefferson Bunuan, a scholar of the Kaibigan Foundation and an aspiring policeman who was shot in the middle of a buy-bust operation gone wrong. Bunuan had of course, nothing to do with the drug trade yet he was still treated like he had something to do with it.

This week, another innocent soul has fallen victim to the Philippine War on Drugs.

Meet Rowena Vergara Tiamson. A college student and active member of a church choir. She had no connections to the drug trade in the Philippines at all yet she still fell victim to either of the two vigilante groups (Pangasinan Death Squad and Dagupan Death Squad) who claimed to have killed six alleged drug offenders in the past week.

According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the 22-year old college student is not on their “drug watch list”. Also found along with her dead body was a cardboard placard bearing the words “Huwag tularan, pusher” (Do not imitate, pusher).

Family members of Rowena and netizens are now fighting for justice to be served on her wrongful death through the hashtag #JusticeforRowena.

These days, no one is really safe from these killings that have been perpetuated by the ill-meaning frustration of our President. Yes, we need to do something with these drug offenders but killing random people because “they look like drug pushers” without actually checking if they are actual drug pushers is not one of the necessary actions we need to take in order to rid our country of drug offenders.

Now, we would like to end these post with words from Jamala that are really relevant to what is going on with our country these days:

We could build a future

Where people are free

to live and love.

The happiest time.


Where is your heart?

Humanity rise.

You think you are gods

But everyone dies.

Don’t swallow my soul.

Our souls.


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