Duterte can’t ‘protect cops’ after his term
The Statute of Limitations for crimes for which a court’s sentence is life imprisonment or death is 20 years. President Duterte keeps saying he will protect and give legal assistance to policemen and even soldiers who kill suspected drug pushers/sellers/manufacturers.
The President seems to be of the mind that people who “resist arrest” deserve to be killed even if they have no weapon that would pose danger to the arresting officers. And he keeps saying he is willing to go to prison for whatever he orders his policemen to do.
From media accounts it seems that many of the summary execution victims were reported to be asleep in their shanties when they were killed. So far, no victim came from the financial elite as policemen seem to stay clear of them.
So what are the surviving relatives of the victims who were not facing any charge, or not in prison, or not under trial, or not convicted and sentenced, supposed to do? I can only advise them to write down the names of the policemen involved and a narration of what they saw happen (necessary since time dulls memories of just about all); and to keep those notes in the safest place they can secure them.
Why? After six years Duterte will no longer be president and he will then lose his immunity from suit as president. He will hire lawyers to defend him—and, to be sure, he will be charged by many, many people.
But what about the policemen who did the killings? There will be no more President Duterte to protect them from being charged with a felony. They may not have all the money to pay the best lawyers. And even if President Duterte has a lot of money to hire the best Philippine lawyers, will his money be of much use when he faces the International Criminal Court? He might be given lawyers, pro bono; but will he take comfort in being included in the short list who have been accused of crimes against humanity?
There is one thing that saddens me in the questionable killings: Are these policemen brainless? Are they really that stupid? Does President Duterte really expect that with his methods he will significantly reduce or even wipe out the drug trade in this country? Will drugs manufacturing in China, Mexico, Afghanistan and other drugs-producing countries stop their business of sending and selling drugs to the Philippines because Duterte is on the warpath against illegal drugs? President Duterte deserves support from all decent and law-abiding citizens in his war against drugs.
But the law-abiding citizens expect the President to do his duties and promises within the confines of the law. True, Philippine laws and the mechanism for the administration of justice here are full of holes, and these can be fixed only by Congress and the judiciary, not by any president.
ROCKY B. DENOGA, firstname.lastname@example.org
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