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Du30 process in war vs drugs.

THE ONGOING war against drugs being waged by the administration of President Duterte is turning out piles of dead bodies in mostly poor communities. The operatives claim self-defense against the several hundreds killed. Many of the dead showed tell-tale signs of summary execution-wrapped in plastic and duct tape.

The whole situation makes for tragedy that leaves the living wailing to high heavens for justice. With the President as the commander in chief of the 'drug warriors,' the victims' families have no one to turn to, except the God of Supreme Justice.

At least, when the generals, the politicians and the businessmen are the ones accused, they are given a chance to shed tears and make a plea to the accusers. They are treated with more favor and, thus, are 'more equal' before the law.

Among them was 'Peter Lim,' who enjoyed two hours of intimate conversation with the President in the dead of night. Several others were asked to surrender as in the case of

Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and his son, Kerwin.

Still, before the law, the poor, the rich and the influential have the right to be tried in court, not by publicity.

Section 1 of the Bill of Rights (Article III of the Constitution) provides: 'No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be

denied the equal protection of the laws.' This constitutional provision is the basis of the principle of 'presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.'

Due process includes the right to notice, to be informed of the accusation, to be heard, to defend oneself by counsel, to question witnesses before judgment can be rendered. And judgment cannot include the death penalty because it is against our Constitution. Death can be legally inflicted on the suspects by the arresting police officer(s) only as an act of self-defense.

We have a President who's proud to have been a prosecutor for many years. I continue to trust and hope in his sense of justice as a lawyer, one-time prosecutor, and a leader of our nation. He knows that the purpose of prosecution is not only to prosecute the guilty but also to set the innocent free. And due process will determine the guilt or innocence of the suspect.

May justice be served to all-the poor and the oligarchs, the schooled and the ignorant, the slum dwellers and the owners of mansions, the generals, politicians, civilians; the innocent and the guilty, the sinners and saints-for everyone has rights under the law, both human and divine.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 27, 2016
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