• Judges’ killings mock Aquino’s governance record

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    WHILE committing our country to the global war on terrorism, President Aquino will do well to also devote some of his attention and energies instead to stopping the wave of killings and assassinations of the nation’s judges—a problem that is as real and immediate as the latest reports from Paris and elsewhere.

    This menace at home strikes at the heart of President Aquino’s claim of good governance under his watch. It has sown fear among our people and local communities because it is the nation’s magistrates and justices of the peace—the men of the law themselves—who are being gunned down in broad daylight and whose murders cry for closure.

    The assassination last Sunday in Northern Samar of Judge Reynaldo Espinar, presiding judge of the municipal circuit trial court of Laoang and Gamay, Northern Samar, brings to three the number of judges who have been murdered this year alone.

    Before Judge Espinar’s murder, gunmen ambushed and killed earlier this month Judge Wilfredo Nieves of the regional trial court in Malolos, Bulacan while he was on his way home from work.     (This case had a strange twist this Monday when the arrested suspect was shot dead when he allegedly tried to grab the firearm of one of his police escorts.)
    Last September, another RTC judge, Erwin Alaba of Baler, Aurora, was murdered by still unidentified gunmen right outside his office.

    Alarmed by these naked assaults on the judiciary, the Supreme Court, through Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, has decided to launch its own investigation into the wave of killings and assassinations. It has named its youngest member, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, to head a body to investigate the recent murders of judges.

    Leonen will join forces with appropriate agencies of government in addressing the problem. He will discuss with them the creation of a task force that will spearhead the investigation of the killings and assassinations, determine the root causes behind the violence, and effect the arrest of the perpetrators.

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will constitute a key part of the task force. It has named the deputy director for regional operations as head of the task force.

    The NBI’s probe will seek to determine the motive for Espinar’s murder, look at the cases he was handling, and reports that he had been receiving death threats before he was killed.
    The same in-depth attention should be given the other murders.

    The high court has understandably condemned all the killings and called on law enforcement agencies to arrest the perpetrators.

    But clearly mere condemnation of the murders is not enough. Beyond solving the killings individually, greatly needed is a deeper understanding of the problem and of the underlying reasons why violence against magistrates is more rampant today than in the past.

    This is why President Aquino must himself address the problem directly, instead of just assuming that our law enforcement forces and criminal justice system will do the job of stopping the menace.

    At a time when he is much concerned about his presidential legacy, we submit that he should be more concerned about proving himself.

    Until Mr. Aquino became President, the nation had not faced the kind of crime wave and as many murders with impunity as we are facing now.

    Besides the assassination of judges, we must also decry the appalling murder with impunity of journalists under this Administration.

    In a word, law and order is breaking down across the archipelago. Criminality is on the march.

    Our citizenry, and members of the government service, especially members of the judiciary, stand helpless before the menace.

    President Aquino has often boasted to the nation and to the world that “good governance” is the chief achievement of his Administration. That claim is given the lie by the panorama of crime hounding our society.

    Maintaining law and order and keeping the peace is the first duty of government.
    Governance fails when there is no law and no order. Government and the people together must address the problem with a sense of urgency and outrage.
    The problem must be faced down and subdued.

    The requisite campaign for law and order should be sweeping and unsparing. It should beware of speaking of the comparative importance of the different victims of criminal violence. All the victims and their families cry for justice.
    All deserve to find closure.

    This campaign, we dare say, is more urgent and worthy of action than the President’s proclaimed interest in joining the war on terrorism. This is where we should spend our money on first.

    Responsibility begins at home.

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    7 Comments

    1. Emilio Marayag on

      What is 3 judges compared with say 500-700 (?) judges nationwide? Like the lag-lag bala victims our ill-protected judges will continue to dwindle in numbers unless we prevent the media from sensationalizing the issue. In this country all subjects are mere statistics like the GDP, Yolanda victims, Mamasapano, Luneta hostages, etc.

    2. Venerando Desales on

      I think the solution to the prevention of the killing of judges is structural redesigning. At present design, judges are really vulnerable because they get the brunt for every decision they make from disgruntled litigants. The result: a spate of vendetta and violence as judges will arm themselves in self defense against unknown criminals, then violence begets violence.Why don’t we adopt the jury system where judges only guide the members of the jury as to the procedure and evidence while the jury themselves make the verdict?It has to be a modified system than in the U. S.A. With our penchant for vote buying and vote selling, our think tanks must brainstorm to prevent it. The Rule of Law, not necessarily technical aspects but cultural one, must be included too in the curriculum in the elementary and high school.

    3. apolonio reyes on

      This not to mention rampant almost daily murders by riding in tandems, rampant street drugs, smuggling at BOC and JUETENG all over the country. This is the reason why the people does not believe the mantra ” TUWIND NA DAAN ” and prefer Rod Duterte than administration candidates Mar Roxas and Grace Poe.

    4. According to Sir. Tiglao. Pnoy is a DISASTER president. Therefore his presidency is an Absolute Disaster to our country. Multi killing of Media people, Multi killing of our SAF, we called it MASSACRE, Multi Killing of our judges, Multi killing of Lumads , etc…

      Who Installed this Disaster President? Whoever installed this Disaster President, they are the true Disaster in our country.

    5. He is a vengeance president reluctant to face and solve the country’s problems on record. He is bragging much on his initiative to have put the Three Senators in jail for alleged corruption including the respectful ex president Gloria Macapal Arroyo but failed much in solving the human and natural calamities had happened in the country. He is a very dangerous president in whose eyes reflected his cruelty if not in his good mode. Never try to cross his path to avoid him by pushing you down into the abyss.

    6. All we hear from PNoy are his boast about the economic “miracle” telling lies and defending his allies from corrupt and illegal activities. Just wondering how many percent of law abiding Filipinos believe in PNoy nowadays.