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Don’t mess with the Law, Sir!

RRoy’siPadDon’t mess with the Law, Sir!
Ronald Roy — Aug. 10, 2016

When then campaigner Rodrigo Roa Duterte, aka Rody, Digong and DU30, identified himself as a certified socialist, he clearly meant he would hunt down oligarchs, i.e., those “people who support governments run by a few who are dedicated to corrupt or selfish purposes”. He recently pointed to billionaire-industrialist Roberto V. Ongpin as a “supreme example of an oligarch”.

Ongpin may be a U.S. dollar billionaire, but that doesn’t necessarily make him an oligarch. Unless the President had any evidence that Ongpin’s wealth had come from corrupt practices, it was wrong of him to tag the latter as an oligarch. The trouble with Rody is that his acerbic language cuts too thin and, when it does, some people bleed, figuratively and literally.

Intimidated?
It’s quite possible that Ongpin resigned his crown chairmanship for fear of being liquidated. Many have been killed after defying Digong’s warnings, like: “If you don’t surrender in 48 hours, you’re dead”…”If you destroy my country with illegal drugs, I will kill you”…”If you resist arrest, I’ll bury you”…etcetera…so we now shudder wondering if we elected a president or a hooligan.

It’s gotten so bad that the human rights-sensitive United Nations is now breathing down his neck…and ours for our seeming apathy. Are we ready to be labeled as “the land of killing fields”? Don’t be surprised if some quarters are planning jugular methods to spare us from this inglorious epithet. But the big puzzlement is that DU30 couldn’t care less because, as he professes, he loves his country so much he’s ready to die for her.

I submit that: whether he’s a hero or a heel is an issue determinable by the Law, and not by his countrymen who, only recently, gave him a huge trust rating of 91 percent. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: Despite his good intentions and whether he likes it or not, the President is vulnerable to impeachment for, say, breach of public trust, the core offense being his failure or refusal to administratively, if not criminally, sue policemen engaged in questionable arrest-related operations.

Presumption of regularity
As explained by Rody, Solicitor General (Solgen) Jose Calido, and all their legal advisers, the official acts of policemen relative to their arrest activities are presumed regular. They proceed to argue that: e.g., where a handcuffed suspect has grabbed the sidearm of a cop, the other cops are justified in shooting dead the arrestee in defense of themselves and others, and ergo, they are not criminally liable. Correct, provided murder or homicide cannot be proven!

In this case, however, the cops who gunned down the arrestee would still be administratively liable for either Gross Negligence or Simple Negligence.

Simple Negligence can draw penalties like “suspension, demotion and reprimand”, while Gross Negligence draws the collective penalty of “dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all retirement benefits, and permanent disqualification from holding public office”. This is like the death penalty, as far as the professional life of the accused is concerned. Pretty harsh, but that’s the law (sed lex dura lex).

Why negligence?
Policemen are taught that arrests are made in order to place suspects under effective control, and that only reasonable force to effect such control can be employed. Thus, assuming that a handcuffed suspect has somehow managed to grab a sidearm and is consequently killed by lawmen acting in defense of themselves and of others, the arresting cops would still be held administratively accountable for their laxity.

Please note some distinctions. In criminal cases, the quantum of proof required to convict is “proof beyond reasonable doubt”. In administrative cases, mere “substantial evidence” — a quantum lighter than that of “preponderance of evidence” which is required in civil cases — will suffice. It is therefore very easy to convict erring cops in administrative suits, but we haven’t seen any taking place. Biased justice?

Dual personality
Solgen Jose Calido appears to favor these errant cops. He has given them his fullest support in their anti-crime sorties, and has even urged them to carry on provided they observe the strictures of due process. Whoa…what double talk is this?! Instead of parroting his boss, he should issue the warning that, in his capacity as the People’s Tribune, he could sue them criminally or administratively.

In numerous cases, the Supreme Court has recognized the Solgen’s double personality as the lawyer of the government and the people, and that: in any litigation between them, such as in a tax case, he may, in order to prevent a grave injustice, choose to represent the taxpayer.

Flashpoint
The Supreme Court has the exclusive authority to discipline magistrates. Accordingly, CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno ordered a probe of four judges already identified by the President for alleged involvement in narcotics-related activities. Irked, the President warned her he would order his Cabinet to defy her Court or declare Martial Law if she continued to meddle. By doing so, Digong may have hastened his downfall.

Don’t mess with the law, Sir!

09186449517 ronald8roy@yahoo.com
musingsbyroy.wordpress.com @ronald8roy

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