Duterte and the Law Enforcers’ Code of Ethics

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WE deplore the mentality of lawlessness and vigilantism exhibited by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the Philippine Senate the other day.

We are glad that the President’s Office, the Philippine bishops and several human rights activist organizations made their voices heard condemning the Davao mayor’s despicable words.

“If this guy would go to Davao and starts to unload (smuggled rice)… I will gladly kill him,” Duterte, who is proud of being nicknamed “The Punisher” by his fans, told the Senate on Monday. He was referring to Davidson Bangayan, also known as David Tan, who has been arrested for being a large-scale rice smuggler and perhaps the rice smuggling kingpin in our country.

While we want Bangayan/Tan and all other smugglers to get the heaviest punishment they deserve for enriching themselves by ruining the Philippine economy and adding to the hardships of our farmers, we also want the rule of law to be observed in every way. Mayor Duterte’s threat to Bangayan/Tan is an immoral, illegal and sinful invitation to our countrymen to ignore the rule of law and employ criminal means to achieve good ends.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President and the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan Socrates Villegas, reminded the people that killing is against the Ten Commandments. He said the sin of killing can be done, as all sins, “by thoughts, words and deeds.”

Villegas urged the government to act not just against rice smugglers but also to make sure that the rights of people accused of illegal acts are not violated. “We all have the rights and so we should not suspend the rights of these accused persons for any reason,” he said.

Malacañang deserves praise for coming out against Duterte’s declaration.

“Killing a person is against the law. The President has been firm in the belief that no one is above the law. We must not resort to extralegal methods,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Tuesday.

This was not the first time Malacañang upbraided Mayor Duterte for being too precipitate in his desire to rid the world of criminals. In July last year, he gave an order to his police force to shoot-to-kill the criminals tagged as kidnappers who had engaged the police in a shoot out. The Palace stopped his order from being carried out, telling him that it was illegal.

Human rights activists and groups in the Philippine and abroad, outraged by Mayor Duterte’s words, warned he was abetting the country’s culture of impunity.

This culture is what makes people in power, whether officially or as private warlords and businessmen vigilantes, dare kill persons they believe have done them wrong. They kill journalists exposing corruption and human rights activists exposing abusive police and military men.

US-based Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have been reporting for years that hundreds of petty criminals, including children, have been summarily executed by the so-called “Davao Death Squads” linked to local officials—including Mayor Duterte.

He denies any involvement. Human Rights Watch said in a 2009 report that he had openly supported the death squads.

Carlos Conde, the Philippine-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, said Tuesday Mayor Duterte’s latest comments showed him to be an “incorrigible human rights violator. He cannot be allowed to get away with these threats. Given his history in Davao, it would be foolish to dismiss all this as an empty threat.”

The CHR plan to charge him
As her job requires her to do, Commission on Human Rights Chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales condemned Duterte for uttering his murderous words.

“His statement, made in the halls of an institution that makes laws, encourages this culture of impunity,” Commission on Human Rights Chairman Loretta Ann Rosales said. She also said that her office would see if it could initiate a criminal charge against Mayor Duterte for “issuing grave threats.” A person found guilty of committing that crime can be imprisoned for up to six months.

However, it is not easy for the CHR to have the Davao mayor indicted. He is widely admired for his zealous law-enforcement posture. It is possible that no prosecutor would agree to file the charge against him.

Fans all over the country, specially people in Davao City, adore Mayor Duterte for his vigilantism, which they say has rid the city of criminal gangs.

In social media, perhaps as many Facebook and Twitter users have praised Mayor Duterte for promising to kill Bangayan/Tan as those who have condemned him.

This issue makes us wonder what has happened to the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics that officials are supposed to follow.

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9 Comments

  1. Ito bigas lang sana sabihin din niya it2 kay Pnoy pag hindi ka nag bago at patuloy mo inapi ang mga pinoy buburahin kita sa mundo

  2. If it is “immoral, Illegal & sinful”, the sec. of justice was there, why doesn’t she sue Duterte and put him in jail. For me the answer is very simple, POLITICS!!! sAME THING WITH cHAVIT!!!

  3. I forgot to include no evidence also against Napoles and husband, no evidence also against Mike Arroyo, no evidence also on JPE fooling the public on his being ambushed daw in 1972 etc…., no evidence din against ERC’s Dukot being a captive regulator and no evidence din of Patilya knowing nothing about Energy and lastly no evidence din that Roxas and Jun A are grossly Incompetent.

  4. The prevailing Rule of Law in the Phil is no Law at all. Up to now there is no evidence that Marcos and his Cronies looted the country for 15 years, no evidence or very weak evidence against Gloria, Corona, Abalos, Ampatuans, Atimonan Massacre, Ruby Rose Barrameda, Reyes Bros, Tanda, Pogi, Sexy and other pdaf boys, euro generals, helicopter generals, pabaon generals, among others and pleas include the new kid on the block Cedric Lee.

  5. renato carrillo on

    tama si mayor duterte scrap na kaya hrc, nagiging kanlungan lang yan ng mga criminal at magiging criminal pa lalo na yong mga ika nga high n the mighty, ang kalangan sa pilipinas ay kamay na bakal para tumino…..

  6. These overwhelming crises happening in the country one after another, is enough to drive the citizens crazy, fearful and desperate thinking of possible solutions, to allay their fear and anguish, concern for their beloved country. When they heard the Mayor of Davao talked as a witness during the recent senate hearing about the rice smuggling, among others, majority thought that they liked him to be the next President, when President Aquino’s term ends in 2016. If you think that he is not the right person to lead the country, I think you are in the minority. The issue of Davao death squad, there is a difference between linked to and support of. He had been investigated by the present Justice secretary before, result-0. He already said that he is not qualified to become President, so I think you guys will be relieved with that, another thing, he said that if he becomes President, he will be against his own government, this sounds like a Dictatorship to me. There is such government called Benevolent Dictatorship like the late Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, the country was peaceful then when he was alive, and the rest is history. I for one is against killing, but just think of what would have happened if Hitler of Germany and the Imperial army of Japan won the war? what I am thinking that God will allow a person to defend his country against evil forces like the Jewish people in its history, going back to King David before he even became a king. May God have mercy on us all to make the right decision at the time when needed.

  7. Just wondering… do most government officials live by the Code of Ethics and do they understand them? If they do observed them during the last decades or so do you think we would have these kind of problems today? It seems to me there is not much morale attributed to our leaders both on government and private sector nowadays and it may be sipping down to our society…it is a sad commentary but that is how I see it..thanks.

  8. Napoleon Abando on

    Do you think “David Tan” follows the code of ethics? Why not make laws that
    will make all criminals guilty of crime against the country be punishable with
    death penalty including smuggling,plunder or abuse of public trust.
    We must reform our judicial system. As of now justice is blinded or smothered
    by money.

  9. yan ang hirap satin mga pinoy eh..every time na meron tao mag step up to be strong and depends the Filipino people, eh lage na lang may mag step up dn para mambatikos..yung sinasabi niyo bang human rights eh na aapply b yan s lahat ng filipino n na violate ang knilang pagkatao?kung kasalanan man para s inyo ang ginagawa ni mayor Duterte, eh problema n niya un..alam niya kung ano ang mga ginagawa niya at para s kanya un ang tama..which is talagang may point dn nmn talaga siya…kaya nga marami siya naging supporters kahit hindi mga taga davao, kasi nakikita ng maraming kababayan din natin, na ang ginagawa ni mayor Duterte eh naayon at tama langpara maging maayos at maunlad n ang bansang pilipinas…now, ang dapat gawin ng ibang government officials or government agency eh gawin na lang nila kung ano yung tama at makakabuti s sambayanang filipino…kasi ilang dekada na tayo paulit ulit s mga ganitong issue still wala pa din naman nagbabago…kaya kumilos na lang dn kayo kung ano sa tingin niyo ang dapat at tama para s ikakaganda ng bansang pilipinas….