It appears that this administration’s passionate pursuit of justice is selective. In other words, “may tinitingnan at mayroong tinititigan” as we say locally.
Take the case of the Marcoses.
Despite well-documented gross abuses during Martial Law in terms of thousands of human rights violations , torture, and killings; despite the riches here and abroad that the Marcoses impossibly amassed based on their earnings as public officials; despite the millions of dollars worth of valuables recovered from them; despite the many court cases faced by the family a number of which were settled ‘amicably’; despite the findings that Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the soldier faked his medals; despite the fact that the dictator was ousted by the sovereign Filipino people through the peaceful Edsa revolt, this administration chose allow FM’s burial in the hallowed grounds of the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Despite the public uproar created by such decision, this administration, using the people’s Armed and Police forces, accorded the dictator’s remains with the 21-gun salute, and like a thief in the night, furtively went on with the interment.
Despite the fact that there is a legitimately proclaimed sitting Vice President, President Rodrigo Duterte, because of his alliance with the Marcoses, still chose to introduce Bongbong as the ‘possible VP’. The introduction may have been because of an ongoing electoral protest by Marcos against Robredo lodged with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). Could not the President exercise some prudence and wait for the PET’s decision?
It is no secret that despite having a different vice presidential candidate during the election period, Duterte’s true preference to win was BBM. His calling the young Marcos as probable VP in the middle of election protest case plus his position on the LNMB issue gave credence to talks that he may in fact be preparing the way for an eventual Marcos victory in the PET.
People’s protests against the Marcoses is understandable given the way the president has been openly favoring the Marcoses. The Filipinos’ long struggle against dictatorship and plunder under FM is set aside in the interest of friendship.
More disturbing is the perception that the president himself is bolstering the possibilities of the Marcoses’ return to Malacañang.
If such perception is true, the president may be doing an injustice to the victims of Martial law and those who fought against the Marcos dictatorship.
Now, take the case of the war against drugs.
Duterte won on an anti-drugs campaign. He said he would be relentless and ruthless against drug pushers and drug lords. He said he would kill those associated with the drug menace. He warned that this war would be bloody and told people to not vote for him if they were not ready.
Indeed, in the first six months of his presidency, the Filipino people have witnessed how ruthless and remorseless this administration is against those associated with drugs. To date, more than 5,500 mostly poor and small-time suspected drug users and/or pushers have been mercilessly killed. I underscore the word SUSPECTED because all those killed did not have any chance to defend themselves in the court of law. Their right to due process has been totally violated.
More than half of those killed were gunned down by members of the Philippine National Police. Most were accused of engaging in gunfight against the uniformed men, even those already handcuffed, in custody, and in jail. A number of those killed have earlier surrendered and released.
It is very noticeable that while poor suspected users and pushers are killed, the drug lords like Peter Go are at large, or in the case of Kerwin Espinosa and one of his suppliers, are under protective custody of PNP officials. There is injustice in the treatment of poor and rich drug personalities.
There is no doubt that because of Duterte’s war on drugs, syndicates are trying harder to cover their tracks. It is very possible that a good number of those killed were murdered by these syndicates. However, recent developments and some cases have pointed to the involvement of some PNP officials in narco politics.
No less than PNP Chief Bato dela Rosa said that Supt. Marvin Marcos is involved in drugs. Marcos was also implicated by Kerwin Espinosa whose father was killed by Marcos’ team while in jail. Like many others, the late Mayor Espinosa was said to be armed and had fired on the police first. Even before any investigation was done, the president already said that he believed the police’s story.
Chief Bato relieved Marcos but was ordered by President Duterte himself to have the Superintendent reinstated. The president had to own up because Gen. Bato said that someone higher ordered him to do as he did, and Senator Leila de Lima divulged to media that it was Secretary Bong Go was the one who called Bato on Marcos’ behalf.
The thing is, the National Bureau of Investigation released its findings that Mayor Espinosa was not armed in jail and that his case was a rub-out. In response and in true Duterte fashion, the president said that he will not allow the police to go to jail.
This is another clear indication of selective justice. If the country cannot expect the president to implement our laws, especially when law enforcement themselves violate what they should implement, who, then, can people turn to for real justice?
The president cannot practice selective justice. He cannot favor some at the expense of the Filipino people’s interest and lives lost due to his war against drugs.
People protested against the previous administration’s ‘tayo-tayo’ mentality. Former President Benigno Aquino III was heavily criticized for his loyalty to his friends. The Duterte administration is showing signs of the same mentality.
This time may even be worse because in favoring the Marcoses, injustice is done on the people’s democratic struggle. In favoring the men in uniform, injustice is done on those whose lives were lost.
Where there is selective justice, there is no true justice. We must say no to this.
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