Drugs, Human Rights, And Pillars of Criminal Justice “La Verdad Nos Hara Libres.” – Holy Scripture
When Licenciado Rodrigo Roa Duterte was exalted to the highest position of the land as President by the people of the Republic of the Philippines, the first in the program of the Government was his war against illegal drugs and corruption in the government service. He gave shoot-to-kill order only when there is resistance from the person to be arrested armed with a deadly weapon for self-defense on the part of the police. He vowed to introduce execution by hanging as a part of ruthless law and order crackdown, asking congress to re-introduce death penalty which was abolished in 2006 for a wide range of crimes, drug trafficking, rape, murder, robbery and kidnapping for ransom and the like. He prefers death by hanging rather than injection or firing squad because he does not want to waste bullets.
Is death penalty a cure to illegal drug and other high crimes? What are human rights? What are the pillars of criminal justice?
President Duterte disclosed list of top person in the government including congressman, judges, police and soldiers, linked to illegal drug trade. The list was referred to the PNP Chief Director General for them to profess their innocence and seek due process. Mr. Duterte said due process and the rule of law are uncompromising. He himself has given directions on what to do with the “war” against illegal drugs as the Philippine Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB), the policy-making body for drug prevention and control, have not fully eradicated the drug problems under the previous administration.
HUMAN RIGHTS: Generally, human rights are those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we cannot live as human beings (Human rights Questions and Answer, United Nations, New York 1987) Human Rights are enshrined in the Philippine Constitution under the State Policies and Bill of Rights in accordance with the Universal Declarations of Human Rights (1948), the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights (1966), and the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights (1966), both covenants ratified by the Philippines. In 1986, President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 27, requiring the Department of Education, Culture and Sports to include the study of human rights in the curricula of all levels of education and training in all schools in the country, Likewise, the Civil Service Commission was mandated to include basic knowledge on human rights in its qualifying examination in government.
The International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensoda, a lawyer from Gambia, warned the Philippine Government over alleged extrajudicial killings and might be prosecuted before the Hague Court. The ICC had conducted investigation in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Durfur, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, Cote d’lvoire, Mali and Georgia. It is still conducting preliminary examinations for human rights violations in Afghanistan, Burundi, the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece, Cambodia, Colombia, Gabon, Guinea, Iraq, Palestine, Nigeria, Ukraine, and United Kingdom of Great Britain.
Mr. Duterte has repeatedly announced that he is willing to submit himself to an investigation before anybody. He has publicly invited to come to the Philippines human rights advocate, particularly, UN Human Rights Rapporteur, ICC Chief Prosecutor and European Union Experts to look into a thousand killings since he took office on June 30, 2016.
The Philippine is one of the few countries that enacted domestic law to implement the ICC Statues, Republic Act No. 9851.
“An act defining and penalizing crimes against international humanitarian law, genocide and other crimes against humanity, organizing jurisdiction, designating special courts, and for related purposes”. Approved on December 11, 2009.
NARCO Testimonies at the Congressional Hearings indicated that drug money was being used to election, campaigns. Mr. Duterte believed that narco politics played a role in two elections, 2010 and 2016. Before Jueteng money or gambling source financed the campaign of some candidates.
PILLARS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The first pillar is Law Enforcement – the police under the Executive Department. But the police enforcer would not be truly effective without the cooperation of equal branch of the government the Legislative Branch (Montesqieu). The problems are the alleged judicial killings and the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
THE SENATE: Congressional Hearings were conducted by the senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights under the chairmanship of senator Richard Gordon, a seasoned government officials (his first cabinet post was Secretary of Tourism wherein the first Miss Universe contestant was held in the Philippines, Miss Spain won) Mr. Gordon emphasize there are no indication that such killings are state-sponsored and only a “fool” would say there are. The President was inspired to eliminate illegal drugs because he really meant to eradicate them.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali, Chairman, and Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro, 2nd District corps of the House Committee of Justice conduced through hearings, not only in aid of legislation but to uncover the real issue of the proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). The inquiries dug into the relationship of former Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima and her bodyguard and closed-in security Ronnie Dayan. When Mr. Dayan was asked as to the relationship he revealed that there was “wagas at dalisay na pagmamahalan” (pure and true love -which love? Characters in “Casa Blanca”. “Sunflowers”. Or” Titanic”).
Subsequent Hearing: Another hearing were held by the Senate Committee on Dangerous Drugs, chaired by another seasoned Senator Panfilo Lacson because of the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. inside his prison cell. A drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa and driver Ronnie Dayan were examined by the members of the committee, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senator Richard Gordon grilled Dayan and Kerwin Espinosa on their testimonies. Because of the inconsistencies of the answer of Dayan. He was cited in contempt ad detained at the Senate (at this writing).
SENATOR LEILA DE LIMA: On her part admitted that as a woman she had her moments of weakness, “the frailties of a woman”, but receiving drug money and sleeping with drug convicts were not among them. She asked the Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre III should inhibit in the prosecution of the case because he is a bias and be referred to the Ombudsman.
SECOND PILLAR THE PROSECUTION: The Justice Secretary stated that there is no valid reason to grant the bid of the Senator De Lima to stop his department from proceeding with its preliminary investigation on the four complaints filed by the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the National Bureau of Investigation, former NBI Deputy Directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and high profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian.
The third and fifth pillars of criminal justice still continue – the Courts, Community and Correctional Institutions Under the present dispensation the wheels of justice roll so swiftly, President Duterte vows to eradicate the last illegal drug lord until his last breath and to change corrupt government officials.
Atty. Alonzo R. Tinagan was a former Head of Consular Post and OLC Ambassador in the Chile. He was a scholar (the only Asean) at the Curso de Altos Estudios Internacionales (MA in International Relations), Madrid and Curso Universitario en Derecho Parliamentario Comparado, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico.