Impunity and discretionary justice

Rodrigo Duterte, Ronald Dela Rosa, Manny Pacquiao, and Koko Pimentel

The phrase “heinous crimes,” for which death is their preferred penalty, falls often from the mouths of the advocates of state-sponsored murder, whether capital punishment, or the use of extrajudicial killings against suspected drug users and pushers as well as lawyer, student, farmer and worker activists and regime critics. Include in this lot certain senators and congressmen, the police and military, some judges, and, of course, the current president of this endangered republic.

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) complaint of sedition/inciting to sedition, cyber libel, libel, obstruction of justice and harboring a criminal against lawyers, priests, Vice President Leni Robredo and several opposition candidates for senator last May is likely to make it to the courts. If it does, it will be one more instance critics of the Duterte regime can cite to validate their view that only an international body can check human rights abuses in the Philippines because the justice system is not working as it should.

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Politicians and other vermins

Some Filipinos probably thought that the family members of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. were speaking metaphorically when they complained about the infestation of “rats and roaches” in Revilla’s detention cell in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center. But they were being literal, and were not referring to other politicians, Revilla being the first pol to be detained there.

They were also said to have complained about “the heat,” to which Joseph Estrada, who was himself convicted of plunder, but was pardoned by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and who’s now mayor of Manila, proposed the obvious solution: he’ll have his son Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s cell, and probably Revilla’s too, air-conditioned.

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