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In defense of Rody Duterte

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The accusation by Palace spokesperson ABIGAIL VALTE that the “shoot-to-kill” order of  Davao Mayor Rody “Digong” Duterte is ‘ILLEGAL’ is a knee-jerk, irresponsible statement coming from one whom we expect should be more circumspect, her words being presumed to be those of the Philippine president.  Her statement was published on Page 2 of the Manila Bulletin,of yesterday’s  Sunday issue captioned “DUTERTE’S ORDER IS ILLEGAL — PALACE.”

I have listened closely in many instances  when “DIGONG” would spew “fire” and expletives when making public statements. I have always noticed that he makes his statements, although at times  bordering on the unconventional, closely hueing within the bounds of law.  Case in point: when he makes statements about shooting to kill the criminals, he carefully prefaces his words by saying to the effect that  they should be shot if they  fight back. Or resist.  Or words to that effect.

Don’t be overwhelmed by his bluster and “f——king” language.  Don’t misread him. Go listen closely to his spoken words.  He’s more astute than you think.

I have known him for a long time. He knows his law. He was one of the city prosecutors in Davao. And was doing a regular radio program on legal aid and legal information in the Cebuano dialect with our Integrated Bar group as a public service program when I was IBP head in Davao.

DESERVE TO DIE — Yes,  criminals who will shoot it out with the police  are  not safe in Davao City.  That botched ransom payment  where a kidnapped  Manila matron was rescued with  the death of 3 suspects is a recent example of this. Those armed and prepared to shoot it out with the authorities put their own lives on the line. Physical extinction can be the logical next step. If the suspects are armed to the teeth and are dangerous, policemen are not supposed to wait  for  the hoods to open fire first before they are mowed down.    They deserve to  BE SHOT  at the first instance. If they die in the process, then so be it.

MURDER?  —But wait! Those physically neutralized, like wounded suspects or surrendering need not be shot to finish them off. That’s plain and simple murder.

This seems to be the reason why Human Rights Commissioner Etta Rosales, while watching a video of the “high noon shooting “  in the Allied Bank incident, exclaimed: ‘THAT’S MURDER’. The rules of engagement require  that those wounded or  effectively neutralized or surrendering (with his hands up) should be handled accordingly.  And not finished off with  a “coup de grace.”  I am  not yet sure what actually happened.  I have not seen the footage. So I reserve comments on this for the moment.

SUMMARY EXECUTION — In the same vein,  I worry with the resurgence lately of gang-land type of killings. We should not always rejoice if some known criminal is summarily   shot and killed, as many  seem to now relish and welcome.   Only  after legal processes are observed should one be made to pay for his crimes. Not by summary executions by some motor-cycle riding,  hooded hoods who “play god’!

Lest we all forget, let’s apply the rules  to others what we want to be applied to us. Meaning, suspects and criminals, even the self-confessed ones,  like you and me have rights too. Many of us may be fascinated by summary killings because they bring swift justice. But what  if we are the ones on the receiving end? Shall we allow others to do this same swift-justice treatment to us, our relatives or friends and those close to us? I doubt it!  Let all, abiding and non-abiding citizens,  equally  go  by the same  rules. That’s what democracy is all about.

KIBITZERS — Here’s one interesting note on that incident.  My teen-aged  grandchild ELIZA was watching from the top floor of the Ateneo when the shooting  was taking place down below at the CM Recto Street fronting the Allied Bank.  She observed that while people near the area scampered away when  the shooting erupted, many  people also from the outer perimeter were seen  rushing towards the scene to see what was happening.  There were more rushing towards than those fleeing from the venue. Kibitzers are aplenty everywhere, unmindful of the dangers. Most often, their presence muddles up the police operations resulting to the escape  of the suspects. We never learn!

CALL FROM FVR  — I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from former President FIDEL ‘FVR’ RAMOS  a few days ago after he read my article entitled ‘PHILS vs. CHINA?CRAZY!”  He offered a formula. He said all the countries, the Philippines and   China included, must come together and organize a multi-lateral group to form a maritime coalition. No, not to fight against each other. But to unite and fight together in a big war against a common enemy of mankind: poverty, global warming,terrorism, etc.

Indeed, why can’t we shift the discourse from territorial claims to joint ventures?  Or joint utilization?

FVR is still in his elements! Never too old!   We should all listen to him.

THE BOTTOM BILLION —I am now starting to read a book entitled “THE PLUNDERED PLANET” given to me by a friend,  Ms. ELVIE ‘BING” GANCHERO, whose passion is  “development”.   The   author, PAUL COLLIER (who also wrote “The Bottom Billion” which is  all about the global poor)  tells all on “why we must — and how we can — manage nature for global prosperity”.  Yes, indeed. Earth has so much resources for mankind. It’s a pity there is no equitable and sustainable use and  sharing of these God-given blessings. Thus,  we still have the bottom billion of poor people who need deliverance.

NOT SAFE ?— If you are neither an American nor a Canadian, nor an Australian for that matter, you need not worry about the travel advisories their respective embasses issued against travels  in some parts of Mindanao. Fact is, those advisories are ONLY FOR THEIR OWN CITIZENS.  So, no worries for you and me.

But I have met this Canadian friend who insisted to   me that he is ALWAYS SAFE in Mindanao.     Why so? “Because I use condoms,” he said with a big laugh. (oooops! hahaha!) 30-

by Jess G. Dureza




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