Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is there such a thing as judicial killing in the RP? and blah,blah,blah....

Every time I hear  the TV network's hourly news, I watch out for updates about the senate hearing on extra judicial killing. I am specially interested on who would be the next witness or witnesses.

Motabato, the latest witness, was an interesting one. His statements were a little off the norm and though both senators Delima and Trillanes thought he was reliable and credible , his narratives were a little too tall even for me, like shooting someone with 200 rounds yet still lives, or ripping a salvage victims stomach and feeding the innards to the crocs, killing 50 up to a thousand people, etc. 

I don't know if I am making sense when I say that in order for lies to be believable it must at least be believable. He should have at least put an effort to camouflage his stories with a little logic and a semblance of consistency. I don't know how lawyers appreciate a witness' statements but even an uneducated tambay knows when he is being taken for a ride.
I have followed a lot of senate hearing and the last major hearing-in-aid-of-legislation was the blue ribbon committee hearing about the Binay family, the plunder case, which everybody knows was really a demolition job against presidential candidate VP Binay. That hearing was a prime time hit because of the publicity created by the tons of money and people involved, the intricate money laundering operations, and the various conspiracy theories floated around.  

I remember how Senators Cayetano and Trillanes worked harmoniously in tandem to prosecute the Binays. Tons of documents have been photocopied and distributed and scores of experts called upon to swear and tell the truth and nothing but the truth but after a prolonged and sometimes heated exchanges, the issues suddenly died out without any proper closure.

I have yet to hear any law or laws that have been crafted as an output from that hearing. 

Now, another senate hearing-in-aid-of-legislation is being conducted by Senator Delima's Justice Committee that seeks to dig deep into the alleged extra judicial killings (EJK) brought about by the government's anti-drug war.  

In one of those twist of fate, like in an inter-generation Michener novel, but in this case it's just a few months time difference, the senate's dynamic senator-prosecutor duo find themselves on opposing sides. what was once a lovey-dovey duo are now hissing rival cats out to kill one another's microphone. In a show of childishness, Trillanes tried to bully Cayetano into silence and when it did not work, Trillanes shut off the latter's microphone. Trillanes behaved badly but Cayetano overplayed the victim part, I think. 


Like many of my fellow countrymen, I am interested with the hearing. I was, admittedly, taken by Sen. Cayetanos PowerPoint presentation on the term "extra-judicial-killing". His argument was that under AO 35 there must be certain qualifications before a killing could be labeled "extra-judicial-killing." The media has been reporting a lot of killings and most of these deaths are simply labeled EJK even though some are obviously common-crime related .

But I was thinking, if there's an animal called  "Extra-Judicial-Killing", there must be an anti-thesis, an animal called ''Judicial-Killing." It follows then to ask, what is judicial killing? I searched google but there was no hit. So, using my knowledge of basic English, I could only surmise that judicial killing is a killing of a person or animals even plants that is sanctioned by the law--a legal execution. Of course, this is a layman's definition, there could a three-thousand-page-Latin laced definition of Judicial Killing, but, heck, I'm just a grade school music teacher.

The next question, is there even such a thing as judicial killing here in the country. The death penalty has been indefinitely suspended since 2006 by then president Gloria Arroyo and the last judicial killing was the case of convicted rapist Leo Echegaray in 1999. 

I mean, just follow my meanderings here, so if there has been no judicial killings or legal executions since 1999, it must follow then that every killing from self defense, to homicide, to rodenticide, to insecticide, to parricide, to murder, to massacre, to fighting insurgency, in the Philippines can be technically classified as EJK since these killings are not sanctioned by law. 

The legal semantics must have driven former President Aquino's legal team into crafting AO 35, which defines EJK and distinguishes  it from common crime related and non crime related killings.


Anyway, the hearing is really about Delima vs. Duterte. The bad blood between these two have been going on for decades now and there's little chance that both will back down. Even though I am a pro-Duterte guy (but not a Diehard one because there are things I don't agree with PRRD), and though I disagree with Senator Delima, I admire her efforts to oppose Duterte because in any democracy an opposition is a requisite, without an opposition, democracy becomes an oxymoron.

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