Because you swore, Mr. President, to do justice to every man

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YEN MAKABENTA

YEN MAKABENTA

First Word
In his speech before local executives in Makati on Tuesday, President Duterte declared rhetorically: “This is my country. There is no law which says I cannot threaten criminals either as a mayor or as President. If anyone disagrees, give me the provision or law.”

Sir, I believe there is a law. It is reflected in the very words you swore to at your inauguration as our Republic’s 16th President on June 30.

You solemnly swore to Defend and protect the Constitution; Execute our laws; and  Do justice to every man.
In saying “every man,” the Constitution does not exclude the 3 million drug suspects in the illegal drugs trade. Or criminals as you call them.

Doing justice to all is a command


The provision “do justice to every man,” according to Jose N. Nolledo (a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the Charter in 1986), means: “The President is enjoined to do justice to every man. He can do this by executing the law and judicial decisions with fairness and equal treatment to all, regardless of their status or standing in life. He must see to it that abuses of human rights are prevented and if abuses are done, the guilty ones should be duly punished.”

“Enjoined” means the President is ordered and required to do this by the law of the land.
Furthermore, the Constitution restrains the presidential power through the Bill of Rights (Article III), which says in sections 1 and 2:

Section 1. “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath…”

Further on in Article III, Section 12 (2), the charter provides: “no torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.”

Nolledo explains: “Any governmental acton in violation of the rights declared in the Bill of Rights is void, so that the provisions of a Bill of Rights are self-executing to this extent.

“The provisions of the Bill of Rights are primarily limitations on government, declaring rights that exist without governmental grant, that may not be taken away by government and that government has the duty to protect.”
Even in just issuing threats to kill drug suspects, it can be construed that the President is already violating the spirit of the Constitution. It vitiates due process.

Complaining against the law

While he heralds his war on drugs as a campaign for law and order, the President has lately professed impatience with the law and lamented the technicality of the laws of the land.

He says now that he might have misjudged the severity of the drug problem. Consequently, he will need more than six months to solve the problem.

He said in Makati: “The problem now is that drugs are within the government. Listen, all of you, there is not much trade now outside. But if you want to buy shabu, if you want to do business, you need to go to penal colonies.”

So he himself is getting confused on how to deal with the situation. He averred that his moves are being constrained by the technicality of the laws of the land:

“You cannot convict, apprehend, or prosecute a person…. That makes it hard for me to deal with the problem.”
So then he issued a warning: “They [the drug suspects]should just pray that I keep my sanity. Because if I go crazy, I will bring an M-16 myself, maybe two patrollers with me, and I will end this problem once and for all.”
This confession of impotence sounds like desperation. And therein lies the danger for the nation.
He might break the law to enforce the law.

A mayor, not a statesman

To get around the law, Duterte is trying every tactic, including self-deprecation:

“I can only act like a mayor. I’m not ready for the big league.

“Never mind my mouth. I never aspired to be a statesman.”

“They said I should stop making noise. No, I cannot stop. I’ll lose momentum.”
But law and justice are not a matter of momentum.

It’s significant that some of the President’s allies in Congress – Senator Dick Gordon especially – have come around to the view that the President’s position on the drug war is indefensible.

Gordon says the President’s repeated endorsement of the killing of drug suspects is being taken to mean that he is sanctioning extrajudicial killings.

“The President is too noisy. It is all right for him to show that he loathes drugs, but he shouldn’t say ‘I will kill you.’ That’s not right. He is falling on his own sword, tripping on his sword because he talks and talks so the country is accused that that’s what is happening.”

No escape from due process

Noisy or not, there is no escape from due process for the President.

The purposes of due process are as old as the Republic itself. They are:

1. To prevent improper government encroachment against an individual’s life, liberty or property;

2. To prevent arbitrary exercise of governmental powers; and

3. To prevent unjustified confiscation of property.

Daniel Webster provided the most enduring definition of due process when he declared that due process of law meant “a law which hears before it condemns; which proceeds upon inquiry; and renders judgment only after trial.”

Alas in the war on drugs, the President has condemned without hearing, proceeded without inquiry; and has already rendered judgment on 3 million of our countrymen without trial.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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8 Comments

  1. This column is well-written and to the point, citing existing law. Laws are for everyone to follow, and if there are lawbreakers, there is an established system of justice to deal with them.The danger of allowing unbridled executions on the spot is an obvious one: where will it stop and who else will be targeted for whatever reason, whether real or fabricated?

  2. Amnata Pundit on

    This is an indication that intellectualism and common sense are poles apart, and never the twain shall meet here in the Philippines, at least not in the foreseeable future. Did the Americans follow the law when they incarcerated all the Japanese-Americans during WW 2? If there is a danger threatening our people like this drug menace, I will always go for common sense.

  3. the President has condemned without hearing, proceeded without inquiry; and has already rendered judgment on 3 million of our countrymen without trial.
    —————————————–

    Anyone and everyone can see that even Duterte himself, He doesn’t care and has given his permission to the police, army and vigilantes to also not care.

    The question is, Will the Philippine Congress allow the President to continue ? Will they defend the constitution or allow Duterte to do whatever he wants.

    I think Congress will not act against Duterte no matter what he does.

    All that evil needs is for good men to do nothing which is what Congress is good at.

    • It`s either you are a Duterte hater or with kins/ relatives who are into drugs that you feel sorry of this 3 Menace. Our streets are better off wiith out this cockroaches. Just ask an ordinary Pinoy in Manila who come home late at night from doing a living to fed his/her family. I think you live in a House made of glass..16 M who voted and thousands of Pinoys aboroad to like and love this pres. won`t let it happen..We don/t care about his mouthing words…

      We won`t go back to dark ages of yellowtards regime…

    • only addicts, drug lords and their protectors will not want the president to continue…
      ———————————————-

      Typical response from a supporter of Dexter Duterte.

      Only addicts and drug lords support the laws of the country and the constitution.

      “We have our right to kill anyone we want and the rest of the world has to respect our right to deny others their rights.”

  4. There’s such a thing as SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY A FEMALE BOSS IN A WORK PLACE. That is what the DeLima-Dayan is all about. Why shouldn’t there be a violation of DeLima in this regard?

    • Naku naman sir Mark hindi naman siguro ma classify na harassment iyon kasi they are at a consenting age – nag susubuan pa nga nang saging – that means may relasyon po sila ni Dayan. Nasira po si Delima sa pangangailangan sa katawan ano ba yon sa englis bodily needs or physical wants in other words kung minsan talagang kinakati po siya besides her status as Department of Justice secretary – kaya toyboy po niya si Dayan. At dito natin makita that the President is right is saying that she destroyed her reputation by getting involved with Dayan.

      And to your sir Makabenta or Makasale – dont try to analyze every step, move and every words that comes out of his mouth – masisiraan po kayo nang ulo. Presidente po siya – s*ck it up for six years – unless something happens to him – pwera usog he dies – and you will be lucky. So, sa ngayon – ipigil nyo muna hininga ninyo on Duterte at saka easy po kayo on hating him – kasi you are so contrary on what the majority of opinion think about Duterte. He is placed above everyone – kaya no matter what you say as a journalist – saya lang po ang English ninyo at analysis ninyo as it seems that Duterte seemed to be doing right. Most foreigners will not be sensitive to his swear and directness – most probably even prefer him in this way – if you have listened to Peter Wallace the Australian businessman – he wasn’t concern about it – kaya relax po kayo sir and he is doing a good job. Sana if you think you were better than him – you should have run as a president too.