“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Scare tactics do not work

Atty. Ceferino Baquilod

THIS administration’s solution to our drug problem was too simplistic. Kill and scare. To date, there had been thousands of people killed because of their alleged involvement in illegal drugs. Proponents of the drug war thought that sowing fear among the people would easily and quickly solve the problem. Well, apparently they are all wrong. After all those killings, the proliferation of drugs became even more rampant and shipments of illegal drugs worth billions of pesos continued to pour in. This clearly proves that killing does not deter the commission of crimes, especially in this country. So why is Senator Bato de la Rosa insisting on death penalty? Well, for one, maybe he really does not value life that much. Consider his reaction when a child was killed in a shootout involving a drug suspect. He said ‘shit happens’… it is collateral damage. De la Rosa is a now a senator and people expect him to at least, be sorry or sympathetic to the family.

Back in the days of old, scare tactics worked with little children. Nowadays, children are not easily scared. Because of easy access to a lot of information, they are now smarter and more knowledgeable and at times they become too scary to deal with. Same with criminals and criminally minded people.  They have evolved and scare tactics do not frighten them a bit. It is time to stop the killings.

The secret contract

Because of the recent ramming and sinking of the Filipino fishing vessel by a Chinese boat which made a lot of noise on TV, social and main stream media, the president was forced to disclose his ‘secret contract’ with China which allowed the latter the use of the waters within our Exclusive Economic Zone.  One wonders why this country’s foremost public servant would enter into a contract with another country involving a constitutionally protected property right of the Philippines. And why make it a secret? Was is he hiding?

Unexplained wealth

Based on news reports, there are allegations that the President and his daughter Sara have several bank accounts containing billions of pesos. The sources of these amounts have remained undisclosed or unexplained. Moreover, these amounts were not reported in the President’s 2014 SALN, hence then Senator Antonio Trillanes, filed a case before the Ombudsman. Consequently Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Carandang initiated the investigation. Obviously not too happy with the investigation, President Duterte fired Carandang, making as ground therefore his alleged disclosure of the information to the media. The Supreme Court however has made it clear in its ruling way back in 2014 that the President has no authority to dismiss officers of the Ombudsman as it violates its independence, a principle enshrined in our the constitution.

Our constitution

Speaking of the Constitution, we all know that it is the basic law of the land. It is from where all authorities emanate. All laws which contravene any of its provisions are considered unconstitutional and hence, invalid. The constitution is the law which creates the structure of our government and provides for the various functions of the highest officials of our country. No one is above constitution. Not even the president. It is ironic though that the president has made pronouncements recently to the effect that our constitution is nothing but toilet paper, and the provisions relating to our exclusive economic zone are for the thoughtless and senseless. The very law that created his job and gave him power and authority as head of this country, is now being treated by him like dirt and garbage. Something is very wrong somewhere.

Recently, there had been allegations of serious violations of the constitution by the President. Some quarters believe that the president has committed offenses which could be grounds for his impeachment. These offenses include his controversial and confidential agreement with China on the use of the waters within our exclusive economic zone. The thought of him being impeached must have really affected the President that he publicly threatened to arrest anyone who would dare file the case. As a lawyer and a prosecutor, the president knows there is no legal ground for the arrest. Mere filing of a case does not constitute a crime. He must be joking (again). But anyone who saw him on tv witnessed how serious and angry he was. Well, I am told it was just another scare tactic. 

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