Highest two officials of the land don’t respect the rule of law



WHAT kind of country have we become that the two highest officials of the Republic don’t respect the law, and even flaunt their disdain for it?

President Duterte the other day made his curses and rape jokes during the election campaign look like convent talk when he said: “I will not allow these police to go in prison. Kahit sabihin ng NBI na murder (Even if the NBI says it’s murder),”

The NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) had concluded that about two dozen policemen led by Chief Inspectors Marvin Marcos and Noel Matira and Chief Inspector Leo Laraga were indictable for the killing of Albuera mayor and alleged drug lord Rolando Espinosa and his fellow inmate Raul Yap—in what the victims had probably thought was the safest place on earth, a tightly guarded cell in Baybay City.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that Duterte even said that he is willing to go to jail in place of those policemen, whose arrogant impunity (Marcos had nothing to do with Espinosa’s case) was matched only by their cowardice (their killing team numbered 21).

I suspect Duterte’s workload has become unbearable. How can he claim, as if he was just being rational: “Who would you believe, word of a criminal or of a police?”

But it wasn’t a criminal, presumably Espinosa, who claimed from his grave that he was killed by the policemen. Several senators—especially Senator Panfilo Lacson who was once national police chief and Senator Richard Gordon, whose father was assassinated— said that it was “clearly a rub-out” while veteran NBI investigators heroically did their job even if Duterte had announced his backing for the ruthless policemen.

The NBI was so meticulous in its investigation that its investigators even found that the witness, one Paul Olendan, who Marcos claimed had told them about the guns and illegal drugs in Espinosa’s Baybay City jail cell on Oct. 28—which became the basis for the search warrant they used to barge into the mayor’s cell—had made it all up. He was almost a hundred kilometers away on that day in Tacloban City, where he was assistant principal in one of the schools there.

How can a President forget that his main task, under the Constitution, is to enforce the law?

CASUALTIES OF WAR. One of the haunting photos in the New York Times photo essay on Duterte’s war vs drugs entitled “They are slaughtering us like animals.” There are more horrific photos there.

CASUALTIES OF WAR. One of the haunting photos in the New York Times photo essay on Duterte’s war vs drugs entitled “They are slaughtering us like animals.” There are more horrific photos there.

The rejection of the rule of law is really as worse as Vice President Leni Robredo’s labelling the Supreme Court ruling allowing the burial of former President Marcos’ remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani “immoral”. She has joined the demonstrations against the ruling, in which protesters hurl invectives at the high court justices.

Doesn’t the vice-president, a lawyer, know that our rule of law is based not only on the body of laws Congress has passed, but on the Supreme Court, which is the last body to decide what is legal or not?

Robredo’s disdain for the rule of law is also evident in her statements that her rival Ferdinand (“Bongbong”) Marcos, Jr. will be “stealing” her post, the vice presidency.

Doesn’t the vice president know that the body which will decide if Marcos’ claims that he was cheated are vaild or not is the Presidential Electoral Tribunal consisting of all 15 members of the Supreme Court, and also chaired by its Chief Justice?

Rather than denigrating the integrity of the Supreme Court, aka the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, why doesn’t she just make sure, with the billions of funds her Liberal Party has, that the alleged evidence of cheating Marcos presents are proven false, rather than declaring again and again that her vice-presidential position will be stolen by her rival?

Pandora’s box
As I wrote here several months back, Duterte’s call to the police to “slaughter them all,” referring to those in the illegal drug trade, is like opening the Pandora’s Box. The term refers to the ancient Greek myth that all the evils of the world were contained inside a box, which the first woman on earth opened and released to the world—defying the chief god Zeus’ warning for her not to do so. Even the all-powerful Zeus was powerless to put back all these seven demons back into the box.

That term has come to mean an action taken in the expectation of some good, but turns out to have several unintended, detrimental and far-reaching negative consequences—which becomes nearly impossible to stop or reverse.

Duterte’s war against drugs, which he said would save generations of Filipinos from misery is indeed turning out to be a Pandora’s box that he has opened. To call on the police to dispense justice on their own has been to allow them to go on killing sprees of suspects, or just “bad characters,” in their areas of responsibility.

They justify such executions on the ground that they have all too often experienced arresting, at the risk of their lives, hardened criminals, only for the latter to get judges to set them loose. They simply post bail or get the charges dropped after witnesses don’t appear in court because of fear of reprisal, or out of mere aversion to the bother of going to hearings.

Such police killings have been going on but kept secret as far as I can remember, and I learned about them from joining other reporters in their police beats. Unlike in American movies, a suspect surviving a police chase, handcuffed, and read his rights is a very, very rare instance. Police almost always shoot dead suspected criminals they corner, after a chase.

However, these police killings have been at a low-level intensity, to use that term, as there is, after all, an announced rule of law. These were also significantly reduced after the establishment of the Commission on Human Rights under Section 18, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution; the conviction of a number of police officers for human rights violations (mainly in cases of political activists);and the establishment of the Internal Affairs Directorate at the PNP.

Duterte simply told the police to forget this human rights thing since more important was his war against drugs, as this was necessary to liberate our nation from this scourge. He opened the Pandora’s box and released the extra-judicial executioners.

The irony is that out of the 3,500 killings in the streets (as reported by the police) since July when Duterte assumed power, probably 90 percent were killed in some slum area or dumped near there, and were all wearing slippers or cheap basketball shorts— sure signs that these were poor people, hardly drug lords, the lowest level of pushers, or mere addicts who take shabu to forget their utterly miserable lives.

Even alleged drug lord Espinosa was killed in shorts and slippers, indicating as in the case of those other mere users, his utter helplessness when he was killed. Many were reportedly killed by the corrupt police who wanted to clean up their involvement in the illegal drug trade.

An alternative narrative for the war vs drugs would be to read every day that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, with a battalion of NBI investigators and police special action force troopers assigned to it, raiding a shabu laboratory or warehouse, and arresting—okay, even killing—drug lords wearing expensive shoes.

Enough is enough, and a recent New York Times photo essay entitled “They are slaughtering us like animals” shows the horror of what Duterte released from his Pandora’s box. If you’re not convinced, check out that essay (http://nyti.ms/2gCyBBl). Not just because of the horrific photos but the high quality of its journalism, it will become viral not only here but throughout the world, and shaming us as a nation.

What a country! From a do-nothing idiot to a slaughter-them-all president. There must be an alternative.

Fb: Rigoberto Tiglao AND Bobi tiglao
Archives: rigobertotiglao.com


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  1. Those killed wear shorts and slippers because that’s what everyone is wearing in this tropical country! Also, shorts and slippers are casual wear: the wearer is in an unguarded moment and that’s precisely when one is easiest to kill. If you are suited up, then you are alert and ready to command your minions. At the very least, if you are wearing rubber shoes, you’d be equipped to run when they come for you.

    Of course dead bodies will be dumped in the squatter’s area! Would they rather dump in chichi areas full of CCTV?

    Strange that the leftist media narrative does not like to investigate on who are really doing the killing and who are getting killed, but would be content to barrage us with emotionally driven images. It’s even baffling how smart people like Tiglao is still buying it.

  2. Jaime Dela Cruz on

    But who really obeys the law in our country? We all, at a certain degree disobey our laws. Be it traffic violation, tax evasion, and even the simplest law of “NO LITTERING”. It will only appear despicable when elected officials are involved, or the very people who are suppose to implement it, the PNP.

    Why do we give so much weight on what the “international expert” say or think of us? Yes we are a member of the international community but our problem and the reasons for it is culture based. There is nobody better to solve our problem than us.

  3. My reading on DU30’s mind since election up to now has never changed: he is the same bad-max who does things from his ego and not who does things from the eyes of the law. The Law and Order for which he asked the people to follow have now replaced by DU30 himself: He is now the Law itself, and he thinks therein an orderly society would follow. That is quite contrary from what we know in the history that when the law is replaced by the leader’s ego itself: it is shortly lived and experimentally lived only by a few some. People will have to be tired seeing the dead bodies on the streets; they will have to look for alternatives and alternates.

  4. Very accurately written, Mr. Tiglao.

    But you should have dig deeper and informed the Filipinos what are the remedies now.

  5. If you have an army fighting a lawless entity , will you urge your own army to follow the law? If you did , your lawless enemies can easily annihilate your army because you are handcuffing the hands of your men by the restricting power of the law. You weaken your own army by restricting their movement through the law while the enemies are having their heyday because they are free from the shackles of the law. The lawless wins the war!

  6. Rule of law is always good, but another question is “what’s the bigger picture?” or simply put, “why is he/she doing it if it’s against the rule of law?. I think the president defended these bad policemen because he wants the entire police force to feel that he has his full support. He has to do that because, as he says repeatedly, “wants to save the next generations of Filipinos”. If you destroy his country, he will destroy you. He needs the entire police force to do that. That’s his bigger picture. It’s that simple for that guy. As for the VP, it’s hard to imagine her motive except that it seems to be all about the Liberal Party’s interests.

  7. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that Duterte even said that he is willing to go to jail in place of those policemen, whose arrogant impunity (Marcos had nothing to do with Espinosa’s case) was matched only by their cowardice (their killing team numbered 21).”

    Mr. Tiglao, no need to read what the president said as you know that media likes to twist the context of the whole speech. My suggestion is to look for the video recording and do your assessment from there. We all know that we have manipulative the media is in the Philippines.

    And with regards to your last statement, I think there’s something wrong with it. The government clearly is not behind the killings my goodness. Where have you been lately Mr. Tiglao. A better alternative? Don’t tell me it’s Leni? You think she can do what Duterte has done so far? Now your being a A-hole journalist.

    And how about the achievement Duterte had? Not worth to be reported? Maybe I should now stop reading your article and buying this newspaper.

    • The alternative could be Bongbong winning his election protest and taking over when Duterte resigns,

  8. If truly his stand is on the side of the policemen found to have executed Mayor Espinosa. I don’t think people with conscience will still support him in that stand. Expect falling out of support from some.

  9. I agree fully with you, Sir ,especially on your last two sentences.The last one never more emphatic or we face either a totally failed state and a punishment of biblical proportion.Peace and stability is never a matter of political partisanship.It is a matter of existential importance.

  10. I agree with your opinion.
    But who is best to serve the country for Legislative and Executive branch? A candidate who just promises and do nothing or a candidate with big mouth who does good things.
    Most of our sitting elected representatives are good in “destructive criticism” but could not offer “constructive criticism”.
    Sadly we do not elect Justices to the Judiciary branch that has become political bipartisan.

  11. hold yer horses. we need him to make it look like he is siding with the cops long enough so he can observe them and their other narco-cohorts carefully.

    in psychology, the subject changes its behavior upon knowing that it is NOT trusted and is in deep surveillance.

    so, let the cops temporarily believe they have won the day.

    • Yes , Joe , you have a keen observation. I have been observing this kind of move from THE MIND—I call him THE MIND because he is playing mind games real good. He is very effective and very successful in this aspect even from the onset of his presidency.
      Being the master craftsman , he was able to bring forth the fools out of de Lima and trillanes. These two were “quick to shed blood” upon hearing the pronouncement —bringing to the fore their criminal minds.
      The mastermind of the crime got stalled by the master craftsman.

  12. Why not also include pictures of victims attacked by criminals, snatchers, kidnappers, etc.? – everybody suffers, not just those in the few pictures, a lot more.

    What if the laws are “the best laws” that money can buy – it will be very expensive that only the moneyed can afford.

    Who are these moneyed, who gets rich in an unproductive country, while the rest is depraved and bled? – and how do they do it? – by unfair methods!, while using “the laws” on their side.

    Selling the interpretation of human/pinoy laws, creating laws for extortion and for protection of interests for those who can afford – is the major industry here. How can there be productivity for everybody to share in a country run by lawyers/liars, “honorable sages”/judges who are no more honorable, moral or wiser or productive than a bunch of savages.

    Following the “rule of law” in such a case is like following a rule of hygiene – wash hands before eating, but eating shit anyway – doesn’t make sense.

    Iron hand implementation of simplistic rules, or laws not created by humans (particularly not by pilipino congressmen and senators who create laws for themselves and their buyers) might work. But more important, being productive, practice hard work, real-sweaty-deed, rather than talk/b.s. but actually being lazy and unproductive is the key difference. This is a direction worth considering. And so is eliminating the obstructions – bad education, promoting vice, practical ignorance, premature consumerism and hedonistic outlooks that promotes crimes have to be addressed, and replaced with more competitive traits and values.

    The “so-called rule of law” does not work as intended – that is to promote a fair, productive, civilized society, if their interpretation is subject to “auction”.

    The “best laws” that money can buy, and only the evils doers can afford.we have to change this first, before anything else..

  13. In the meantime , traffic remains as awful and unresolved as ever , infrastructure development has not gone beyond big words and promises , the MRT continues to fall apart , Manila airport terminals continue to be messy and chaotic , Abu Sayaf has dramatically stepped up its piracy and kidnapping operations which have gone multinational ( Vietnamese , Koreans , Indonesians , Malaysians , European victims ) ,the Maute group has sprung up as another terrorist outfit in Mindanao , Metro Manila is under a red terror alert , Senate and house are turning into a circus of the absurd , the rule of law is seriously threatened, the country has never been so polarized and divided , FDI is not increasing and quite a few foreign medium / small companies have backed down , the cabinet appears rudderless and as divided as the country , fear is widespread , and the Philippines / Filipinos hard earned reputation abroad as a gentle , civilized , friendly, and fun loving but hard working country/people is going down the drain ( the recent NYT photo piece is not going to help ). Fighting drugs is good and must be done but has turned into a brutal one track quasi pathological obsession at the expense of everything else , and whilst we should all wish Pres. Duterte and therefore the Philippines to succeed I am afraid that the first six months of his administration do not augur well . What a pity !

  14. Everyone are stunned, our leaders/government/police before failed to immediately address the problem on illegal drugs. Now, they’d probably realize the problem is now very serious and uncontrollable – so they let a wild beast or bad guy (PDu30) to clean the mess they intentionally created or had made profit or they had neglected for many years.

  15. Yes, I agree….

    But illegal drug is really a BIG problem – drug lords, pushers or even the victims are hopeless case na po, based on my first-hand observation/experience of shabu addicts – a family member.

    And only recently my neighbor was stabbed many times on neck by his own brother – a shabu addict he was trying to protect or help put in rehabilitation center.”

    Kung addict ako or mahal ko sa buhay – I would rather be a victim of EJK than spend my life in jail or rehabilitation center, brain dead and a big problem to society/country and endanger lives of my family/community.

    Every Sunday I visit a family member detained @Bicutan and I don’t really see any improvement on his condition and I actually think he’s getting worse due to very bad environment/system, goons, physical/mental health, vices (cigarettes, gambling, drugs?) inside jail. Mas gusto ko pa maging pulubi kaysa makulong (see link below).


  16. PDu30 explicitly said he will not Interfere/stop anybody (media, CHR, advocates, Senate, Congress, NBI, PNP, etc.) to conduct an investigation, find the truth, or file complaints and proceed with the protocol of file charges of murder or human right abuse (EJK-extra judicial killing) .

    Of course PDu30 will always side with the Policemen because they are his men in the front line of his war on drugs. Also, as COMMANDER IN CHIEF, PDu30 need to show his full support/trust in order not to demoralized in general our policemen/soldiers. And nobody is denying na marami talagang bulok sa PNP at AFP noon pa.

    PDu30 unwavering show of support may have to do with the understanding that things happen in the heat of his war on drugs that President would rather keep it a personal or secret. Another reason why PDu30 is hesitating to go against police scalawags is not to challenge the long-standing traditions and feelings of brotherhood within the institution (PNP/AFP). The fear of consequences may play a large role as well, namely:
    – being shunned by PNP/AFP,
    – losing his War on Drugs,
    – losing back up support against Coup attemps
    – receive physical threats against his family
    – or having one’s own misconduct exposed.

    Tywin Lannister: You really think a crown gives you power?
    Tyrion Lannister: No. I think armies give you power.

  17. Beware of officials who do not respect the nation’s laws and encourage the executions of alleged criminals without trial or sentencing.Once blood is tasted, it becomes easier, and there is no telling what groups of “criminals” or “enemies” will be next.

  18. The Aquino administration spread corruption to every corner of out society. The President even led the way with taking government funds from departments and spending it for bribes. Now what would have be so much easier 6 years ago, becomes an almost impossible task. We found out that drug people are also into buying the DOJ and a Senator. Are some drastic actions needed? Of course they are. We are finally taking some action.

  19. Where is the article about the mega rehabilitation center in Nueva ecija that can cater10,000 drug addicts? Jeez

  20. A question for the16 million Filipinos who voted this small town hic (clown) into the office of presidency, was this your vision of a change comming? And despite this clown’s lack of know how and credibility to run and lead a country, still has a very high percentage (90%) of support from the populace. Only in a banana republic like the Philippines.

    • Duterte is employing what is termed as UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM. This is the reason why many cannot grasped what he is up to because people are used to thinking in the Conventional way. Conventional Wisdom is the certified Wisdom of the whole world. Through this lowly wisdom , the whole truth cannot be attained.
      We must raise our awareness that A Wisdom higher than the conventional is present—hidden but ready to be tapped by those who pursue the truth without let up.

  21. There is a judicial process before people can be convicted. The president has to support the accused police to see that they receive appropriate legal representation. The DOJ has done its investigation and is proceeding with the charges. The CIDG 8 team has been charged but the trial has not started. The PNP and the DOJ are under the president and he is supporting them both and allowing this to play out according to the rule of law. They are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a competent court. The senate is not a court of law. If and when the court finds them guilty, then they will be sentenced.

    On the other hand, the position of the VP is under review and a case has been filed with the PET which is comprised of the full membership of the Supreme Court. Saying that the position will be stolen from Leni Robredo is like saying that the Supreme Court will just follow the wishes of the complainant not the law.

  22. Greetings from Singapore.

    You are a courageous man sir.
    God bless you for sticking up for what is right.

  23. While I agree with Mr. Tiglao’s assessment of the Chief Marcos suspension imbroglio as definitely faulty and questionable, his conclusion as to the vice-president’s stand is unconvincing. Granted that the Supreme Court is the last bastion to interpret laws of the land, it is not infallible. They differ in their personal views and sometimes the minority views have a more persuasive position. In the Marcos case, the difference is not outstandingly one sided. Moreover, the Philippine society as a whole is still tottering on unsettled ground and with corruption coupled with power and influence, no branch of the government is impervious to its deleterious reach- not even the highest court of the land. So were they bought? It’s hard to prove. But is it possible that they have been persuaded to lean on his side, even a little. Well, we never knew but in the Philippines it’s never difficult to imagine anything is possible. So one has to be careful ( including Mr. Tiglao ) to hyperventilate on superfluous conclusion.

    • The Supreme Court bases its decisions on the wisdom of the majority. It’s a matter of opinion, and yours is not important.

  24. I’ll wage my war in the spiritual..
    .”Any kingdom that is divided in itself will not stand”.
    Lord, as you heal our nation, heal the hearts of our leaders. That every stronghold of division will go down in your most Precious Name. That the strongholds of corruption, drugs, violence in the land of the Philippines, the love of money will all be trampled down. That a righteous generation of media people shall rise up that will be committed to Your pursuits of sowing righteousness, goodness across the land. Captivate the hearts of every fathers and mothers, sons and daughters to cry out to You, to yield to You, to trust in Your Word as You only can do the supernatural restoration of our land. So be it Lord! In Jesus Name I pray. Amen!

    • The bible is a divided kingdom being divided into two opposites , the old and the new. Look at how divided the kingdoms of the bible are—the proliferation of different religious denominations having diversified doctrines and beliefs. The bible is like a harlot having many husbands.

  25. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Du30’s pronouncements/statements are still premised in the rule of law. He said among others that while he takes responsibility of the actions of the police who were instructed to kill when their lives are at stake that he will not interfere with the NBI findings when brought to court in the furtherance of the rule of law. Leni on the other hand has no basis at all in saying the her position as VP would be stolen from her. It is only the PET who could decide on the matter raised by BBM. The Philippines still subscribes to democratic principles, more importantly the rule of law. God bless the Philippines.

    • I agree, Du30 had not, in fact, interfered in any NBI investigations or any filing of cases. He has the right of free expression and consider innocent until proven guilty. So it is premature to judge Du30 as a slaughter-them-all president. It is SHAME ON YOU MR.TIGLAO.

  26. What kind of wind has changed the direction of your mind towards this regime Ka Bobbie? What I would like to read from you is “what is to be done?” in this scenario fraught with real and present danger to our national security but to our national sanity. And yoiur comment when former PGMA compared PRRD to Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew.


  27. What can we expect from a society with a damaged culture? You can observe that behavior from the ruling elite down to the hoi polloi.

  28. It is about time the President leave everything to Sec. Aguirre and Gen. Bato, and stop speaking or commenting about drugs..or drug related problems, he already set his strong policies about Drugs, it is about time to tackle economy, graft and corruption, and job creation!

  29. Your last sentence ” from a do nothing president to a slaughter them all president ”
    is as vivid as the photo essay of the New York Times.

  30. The upholder of the law is now the breaker of the law. Mr. president you are, now like them (!the likes of Marcos and the killer cops)

    • Yes , God appointed a time for everything , in fact He made everything beautiful in its time.
      There is a time to be subservient to the law ; there is also a time to disregard the law just like what Jesus did in the gospels when one time he broke the law of sabbath. This law was highly revered by the Old Testament practitioners.
      He drew the ire of those people , but Jesus reprimanded them by saying—if your son has fallen into a pit on sabbath , will you not pull him up? They were thus embarrassed. So he broke the law and yet remained righteous.
      So this goes to show that righteousness is not achieved by obeisance to the law , rather by doing the right thing apart from the law.