A free and democratic society can only be possible if its laws are strictly enforced, its citizens adhere to them, and the common good prevails over the interests of the few.
This was the observation of former PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, who said popular observance of the law was a cornerstone of some of the world’s most recognized democracies like Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, and Australia.
“The Philippines is currently in a position to even more strengthen its democracy by simply implementing what’s stipulated in the law,” he said in a statement.
He said criminality can engulf a community if law enforcers shirk from their responsibilities, or “obviously when its residents flout the law with abandon.” This has been happening in cities across the country with respect to drug abuse and its concomitant repercussions in public safety, family relations, and mental health, he added.
Dela Rosa cited the recent killing of party-list representative Rodel Batocabe in Albay, who was repeatedly shot during a gift-giving function. His bodyguard was likewise gunned down. A last-term congressman, Batocabe was slated to run for mayor of Daraga, Albay in next year’s midterm elections.
“Whatever may have been the motive of the murder,” Dela Rosa said, “the incident betrays a practice of impunity among some people pretending to be powerful. Whether the victim is a politician or a humble citizen, the guilty must be hunted down and made to pay. The majesty of the law must prevail at all times, otherwise we as a nation will go to the dogs.”
Dela Rosa continued that even in Malaysia, one of Southeast Asia’s longest-running democracies, “crime doesn’t pay,” recalling that newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced a top-to-bottom review of alleged crimes that transpired in the previous administration.
He also said that Timor-Leste, another Asian democracy, has named law and order as a top priority, beefing up its police capabilities and better engaging its civilian populace for mutual cooperation and long-term security.
“When we work together, we keep the criminals at bay. And, thus, we are freer,” Dela Rosa said.