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The contradiction between Kian and Polong

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Kris-Crossing Mindanao

The contradiction between Kian and Polong

I am pleased that the vice mayor of Davao City, who goes by the pet name Polong, will be given due process. I am happy that no less than Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella has spoken in his behalf to say that those who have linked the presidential son to drugs should produce “documents like one duly signed by the vice mayor or by his representative; a log book showing the name of Paolo as among those receiving payola from the [Bureau of Customs].”

This tells us that Paolo “Polong” Duterte is part of the official family of Malacañang such that the allegations against him would merit an official statement by the presidential spokesperson. More importantly, it manifests the Palace’s predilection for due process and the rule of law.

Readers will recall the younger Duterte’s name being linked to the recent shipment of shabu from China that went through the green lane of the BOC. That shipment was worth P6.5 billion, a staggering amount. Money in that amount can buy hundreds of school classrooms and probably build hospitals for the poor.

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A whistle-blower had intimated during the Senate hearings that the shipment was allegedly facilitated by a “Davao group” led by the President’s son.

Immediately after his name was circulated on social media, Polong Duterte issued the following statement on Aug. 8 in his Facebook account: “(Marc) Taguba admitted that his testimony against me was based entirely on rumors. Why would we entertain or believe hearsay? One does not dignify lies with a response.”

I am elated that someone accused of such high crime — drug trafficking — which carries a penalty of life imprisonment under Philippine laws, was able to issue a statement that was reported by mainstream and social media. It should be worthy of adulation that any Filipino accused that way is given his day in court with a public explanation. It reinforces the belief that indeed the law favors no one, rich or poor, powerful or not.

His alleged cohort, the man said to be responsible for that enormous drug shipment from China and who goes by the name of Kenneth Dong, was also given his day in court. Dong was investigated by the Senate and as we must have seen in television footage, was given ample time to answer allegations. Truly, our laws are working and it is safe to say that we are operating under a regime of law.

But, sadly, that is not the case.

The same due process that Polong Duterte was given eluded 17-year-old Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was suspected of being a drug courier. Despite his protestations to apprehending police that he was to have a school exam the next day, he was manhandled and brought to a dead end of a dark alley.

Kian was not accorded the same privileges of a Polong Duterte — an official defense for due process by a high Malacañang official no less, and a statement of his innocence that was relayed by all the big players of mainstream media in this country.

I saw the CCTV footage myself. Two policemen in plainclothes dragged Kian, his head covered with a jacket. Was it to cover his identity and blur any evidence that it was Kian?

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The sworn protectors of ordinary citizens — the police — snuffed out Kian’s life in a matter of minutes. And yet what do Kian and Polong have in common? Both are alleged to have been involved in the drug menace.

I do not wish the same kind of death on Polong Duterte. But I wish that all the Kian Loyd delos Santoses in our country be given the same due process as a presidential son. Otherwise, it can only mean that we have the same kind of governance that is anti-poor, is pro-oligarch, and is just like any other traditional politics — the law applies to all except to a politician’s family.

If drugs are truly a menace, how come it is not nipped in the bud? Why are there ifs and buts? If there is freedom for high-profile suspects such as the Polong Dutertes of this country, why is there none but absolutely none for the Kian Loyd delos Santoses?

Killing Kian doesn’t make things better. It makes things worse.

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TAGS: Antonio Montalvan II, Customs shabu shipment, Kenneth Dong, Kian Loyd delos Santos, Kris-Crossing Mindanao, Paolo Duterte, war on drugs
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