[Newspoint] Condemned by crowd acclamation
Philippine society has slid back a couple of millennia to ancient Rome's standards by which justice was dispensed according to the crowd's level of lust for blood.
Not unlike Pontius Pilate washing his hands off, and passing to his subjects, the responsibility for the execution of Jesus Christ, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II called out to tens of thousands gathered at the Luneta on the evening of February 25 and asked them whom they wanted targeted next, possibly to join Senator Leila de Lima in jail, and they shouted back, "Trillanes!”
Antonio Trillanes IV and De Lima are President Duterte’s sharpest critics in the Senate. Aguirre came to the Luneta basking in a sense of achievement: just the day before, he had put De Lima in jail.
She was not condemned by crowd acclamation, as was Trillanes, but all the same the circumstances of her arrest raised questions of law, judicial process, and motive.
Charges were brought against her on the word of convicts who confessed they continued to deal in drugs from inside prison and accused her of extorting protection money from them when she was justice secretary.
Of course, you’d wonder why they did such a thing, and of course you’d be hard put believing that these convicts, mostly life-termers, just wanted to help in the search for truth and the dealing out of righteous consequence.
Instead of going to the special court that deals with graft cases, Aguirre went to a regular court and quickly got an order for De Lima’s arrest and detention, even while the issue of judicial jurisdiction remained unresolved.
Of course you’d ask why he took that unusual route, and of course you’d be told, just as incredibly, that that route is quick and justice cannot wait.
But not to forget: De Lima made herself a sworn enemy of Duterte when, as chairman of the Commission on Human Rights before she became justice secretary, she had investigated accusations that Duterte, as mayor of Davao City, ordered murders by death squad.
Aguirre apparently had not done any prosecutorial groundwork against Trillanes, but justice, he might tell you again, cannot wait, and he was not about to pass up an occasion and opportunity for a nice shortcut.
The government herded partisans for an extravaganza of song and dance by entertainment celebrities to mark the 31st year of the EDSA people power vigil that ended Ferdinand Marcos’ 14-year dictatorship.
Ironically, Duterte is a professed Marcos idolater himself, but that’s small matter in the great plot of his justice secretary. Here was a chance at hitting two birds with one stone – not only does he want things done quickly, he also wants things done economically.
Apart from getting the crowd riled up against Trillanes, he and cohorts whipped up a new fervor for Duterte's war on drugs. The war defined Duterte's mayoralty for more than two decades in Davao City and now began to define his presidency. It had been going nationwide at a ruthless run of a thousand killings a month when, just as it had totted up over 7,000 drug dealers and users dead, it was derailed.
Widespread outrage here and abroad at "extrajudicial killings” did not do it; what did it was police roguery, like kidnapping for ransom, extortion, murder, and trading in confiscated drug.
The national police chief, General Ronald de la Rosa, said the pause in the war on drugs would give the police time for "internal cleansing.” He then proceeded to deliver about 300 policemen to Malacañang for a televised presidential dressing down before their deployment to Basilan, the Mindanao province most notorious for Abu Sayyaf brigandage and Moro rebellion.
In lieu of criminal prosecution and administrative action against the roguish officers, their deployment appears intended to constitute the cleansing De la Rosa spoke of, itself another form of extrajudicial sanction. And so, the war goes on.
In the meantime, what does Aguirre intend to do with Trillanes? With nothing on the senator, Aguirre appears to have gotten ahead of himself; his choir, after giving him a screaming mandate to get Trillanes, will be disappointed. – Rappler.com