Rappler Talk: Justice as the missing component in fighting coronavirus


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Rappler Talk: Justice as the missing component in fighting coronavirus
Aside from human rights, arrests and charges related to the lockdown also affect the overburdened court system

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s national plan to address the problems of the coronavirus pandemic revolves around two main things: health and order. It missed a crucial component – justice.

As of latest police data, 19,997 people have been arrested nationwide for violation of lockdown guidelines. President Rodrigo Duterte went on national television late Wednesday evening, April 1, to say that he will order troops to “shoot dead” violators of the lockdown.

Justice reporter Lian Buan talks to human rights lawyer and former Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te on laws and rights in the time of the coronavirus, and how the government’s justice cluster can actually exert its power and influence if it wants to.

“You are already overworking an overcongested court,” Te said, saying there must be a top-level policy from either the Supreme Court (SC), Department of Justice (DOJ), or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), or all of them, ordering ground personnel not to arrest and charge people for light offenses. 

The SC, DOJ, and DILG form the government’s Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC).

But with the DOJ and DILG’s track record of arresting based on the “dangerous” theory of a continuing crime, is the ball in the court of the High Tribunal?

“It’s high time the High Court revisits that justification (of continuing crime) becaue it’s very very dangerous,” said Te.

 Tune in Thursday night, April 2. – Rappler.com

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