His two critical admissions
President Duterte has made the following public admission: “Ang kasalanan ko lang ’yung mga extrajudicial killing (My only sins are the extrajudicial killings).”
There are essentially two critical admissions made by Mr. Duterte in the foregoing statement: 1) That EJKs have in fact taken place under his watch (debunking the consistent official police version that EJK victims were killed because they resisted arrest); and 2) That Mr. Duterte bore responsibility for the killings.
It is beyond cavil that EJK involving the death of thousands — mass murder, in effect — is punishable under the penal laws of every civilized society.
The president of any country, or any thinking person for that matter, could talk about it flippantly only at the risk of being seen as bereft of any moral compass.
Here’s why Mr. Duterte could be held liable as principal by inducement for the EJKs that are being perpetrated in the Philippines.
Note, for example, that during his inaugural address, Mr. Duterte said: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself.”
As President, he also offered immunity to police officers for carrying out his signature antidrug campaign.
Mr. Duterte similarly encouraged ordinary citizens to engage in vigilantism: “Kayong nandiyan sa neighborhood ninyo (Those in your own neighborhoods), feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support.”
It bears reiterating that EJKs, or the execution of a person without due process of law, is not only a sin but also murder.
If the inducement is uttered by someone who is the president of a country and is held as the cornerstone of his government policy, that rises into a state-sanctioned case of mass murder, a crime against humanity.
And if it’s true that Filipinos are really “satisfied” with such atrocities because victims simply got what they supposedly deserved, one can’t help but be utterly distressed about the clear and present threat of Philippine society falling over the moral precipice.
ABE N. MARGALLO, firstname.lastname@example.org
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