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By Conrado de Quiros
As impunity goes, the murder of Rubylita Garcia ranks way up there. Garcia was a 52-year-old reporter who had worked for Remate for more than 20 years.
Last Wednesday, the Abu Sayyaf struck again. The bandit group, or one of the many gangs that occasionally or opportunistically form part of the kidnap-for-ransom enterprise, raided a diving resort in Semporna, Sabah.
So, as it turns out, fugitive businessman Delfin Lee was hiding in plain sight. Despite a P2-million reward offered since August 2012, one of the country’s most wanted men continued to live, more or less, like a free man, or at least like a man who had nothing to fear from the authorities.
By Neal H. Cruz
I received a letter from the Supreme Court commenting on my Feb. 24 column titled “What’s happening to the Supreme Court?” The column was about a 26-year-old double homicide case that has been thrown from one judge to another. Eight Court of Appeals justices, one after another, inhibited themselves from the case without explaining why. The defendant, Licerio Antiporda III, former mayor of Buguey, Cagayan, was eventually convicted of two counts of homicide and one count of frustrated murder. The conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals, then by the Supreme Court and a warrant of arrest was issued for Antiporda and his bail bond cancelled. Antiporda filed a motion for reconsideration; it was denied by the Supreme Court. He filed a second motion for reconsideration and, suddenly, the conviction was suspended, his bail bond restored, and the warrant of arrest lifted. Isn’t that strange?
Republic Act No. 9165 (the Dangerous Drugs Law of 2002, which radically amended RA 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Law of 1972) was enacted to curb the menace of illicit drugs in the country. It is a draconian law because it increased a hundredfold the penalties for drug offenses, and it eliminated the mitigating circumstances that could have reduced the sentences of convicted drug offenders. Thus, its immediate and dramatic effect was the imprisonment of an unprecedented number of Filipinos, mostly young Filipinos from the poorer class.
By Neal H. Cruz
What’s happening to our justice system and to the Supreme Court? Strange things are happening in the highest court of the land. Here is one very strange case.
By Solita Collas-Monsod
Senator Tito Sotto’s proposal to reinstitute the death penalty is premised on his claim that the crime rate in the Philippines has increased. That apparently is inaccurate, at least concerning the heinous crimes for which the death penalty is proposed. Senior Superintendent William Macavinta showed me the data for these crimes, and they show a decrease from 2012 to 2013 (they increased from 2009 to 2012).
Sen. Tito Sotto is seeking the reimposition of a bill that would mete out death as the ultimate penalty for heinous crimes. For him, there is no conflict between his defense of the unborn and his disdain for the lives of convicts. “I am prolife for the unborn and the Filipino family. I am prodeath to heinous criminals,” he says.
President Aquino should look around more closely. Every day, crimes are being reported and criminals are on the lose. It is as if nobody is in charge. Gone are the day when the Philippine National Police chief was hands-on in trying to solve criminality in our country. These days, crimes are addressed by letting the PNP spokesperson face the cameras.
By Conrado de Quiros
I can’t let it pass without comment. That is Rodrigo Duterte demanding to know: “Is there a law preventing a public official from threatening criminals? My threat is only against criminals, not against innocent civilians.”
Ramon Tulfo, in his Jan. 21 column, reported that Pasay City chief prosecutor Elmer Mitra has been replaced. The report is grossly erroneous. Mitra remains chief prosecutor of Pasay.
“Riding in tandem” has become a media catchphrase to signify driving a motorcycle with a pillion rider who executes snatching, shooting or various other criminal swipes. The ease with which the driver can weave through any traffic gridlock to get away with the crime has made it the preferred modus operandi. As a standard measure to ensure anonymity and impunity, criminals use stolen motorcycles or spurious plates.