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Death sentence for Iloilo mayors in ‘narco’ list?

“Do I favor the death penalty? Theoretically, I do, but when you realize that there’s a four percent error rate, you end up putting guilty people to death.” — Gary Johnson

By Alex P. Vidal29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

NEW JERSEY — I bumped off two stories over the weekend to pave the way for an article I deemed to be more urgent and relevant in the heels of President Duterte’s speech during the swearing in of several newly-appointed cabinet officials on January 9 in Malacanang.
President Duterte called “narco-politicians” as “dead men walking.”
He vowed to kill big time “shabu” dealers, and the next batch, reports quoted him as saying, would be the city and municipal mayors engaged in illegal drugs and whose names he mentioned weeks after he assumed office in July 2016.
I was so alarmed because some of the mayors President Duterte had linked to illegal drugs based on the list provided by his intelligence men were from my place in Western Visayas.
They were Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City, Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo; Siegfredo Betita of Carles, Iloilo; and Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo.
Except for Betita, the three are known to me personally. Malones was our former business manager in the News Express; Centena is a friend way back in the 80’s when he was not yet a public official; and Mabilog is our mayor in Iloilo City.

DEATH LIST

Are they among those included in President Duterte’s so-called death list?
We want to know. We need to know especially because there has been no solid evidence linking them to illegal drugs.
They could only be victims of political black propaganda or vendetta. They were never convicted by any competent court.
In fact, no formal charges have been filed against them yet. They were vilified, along probably with several others who could be innocent in the Duterte list, without any formal trial.
What if the president erred or the list he was reading was a sham and contained falsehood? Since July 2016 when their names were disclosed as alleged drug protectors, the government has failed to substantiate the allegations.
Therefore it’s premature to condemn them; it’s not fair to punish them with a harsh “death sentence” which could become only another case of extra-judicial killing, God forbid.

LAW

While most Filipinos who elected President Dutere in the May 2016 polls support his campaign to stamp out criminality in the country especially the president’s “all-out” war policy against illegal drugs, pressures from human rights advocates, including the United Nations and other international organizations, continued to hound the president as dead bodies piled up in the streets.
Most of those killed in “shootouts” with police were drug addicts and small-time peddlers of illegal substance. Their families claimed the dead were victims of summary execution.
The Philippines doesn’t have any law on death penalty. Convicted criminals spend time in jail and are not killed.
If these mayors are executed when their guilt was not yet proven beyond reasonable doubt–and in the absence of any law that supports the death penalty–the president becomes an executioner and violator of the law, not the dead mayors.

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Iloilo biggest winner in anti-drugs war; biggest loser in shame campaign

“A good reputation is more valuable than money.”
— Publilius Syrus

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY –– In the government-led battle against illegal drugs in the Philippines in 2016, Iloilo City could be the biggest “winner” if the number of murdered and “neutralized” drug lords, small-time traffickers, and drug addicts is used as the barometer.
With a population of 424,619, Iloilo City could also be the biggest “loser” when it comes to the “shame campaign” initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte immediately after he assumed office in July.
Among those slain in the brutal crackdown against drug pushers was the Odicta couple, Melvin and Meriam, of Iloilo City. They were killed by unidentified gunmen in Caticlan Port in Aklan on their way back after “surrendering” to Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueno in Quezon City in August.
The Odictas were the country’s biggest names in illegal drug trafficking to fall in 2016. Following their death, some of the couple’s top runners were either killed in “encounters” with police or arrested.

‘SHABULIZED’

Aside from naming Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, ranked No. 5 in the 2014 World Mayor, as alleged protector of illegal drugs, Duterte also called the “City of Love” the “most shabulized city” in the country.
The tag, strongly belied and disputed by Mabilog and other local officials, demoralized some Ilonggos, especially those living in other parts of the world who suspected politics behind the “smear” drive.
Duterte also named three other prominent Iloilo mayors as “narco-politicians”: Alex Centena of Calinog, Siegfredo Betita of Carles and and Mariano Malones of Maasin.
Like Mabilog, they all cried foul.
Duterte based his accusations on the list provided by his intelligence henchmen who had been tipped off by narcotics agents, some of them were reportedly allies of political rivals of those on the list.

SHAME

The shame campaign, which caught many local chef executives whose names were on the list flat-footed, didn’t prove the guilt of the maligned mayors and governors.
Duterte, in fact, had flip-flopped and apologized to some of those he mentioned in the list, underscoring suspicions that he was fed with half-baked if not unverified reports from the field.
Two of them, Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao and Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, however, were killed by police in separate encounters–all related to Duterte’s nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.
Some three thousand suspected drug traffickers and drug addicts have been summarily executed since Duterte and his national police director, Chief Supt. Ronaldo “Bato” Dela Rosa launched the “all-out” war against illegal drugs in the country.

RIGHTS

Human rights advocates in the Philippines and abroad have criticized the apparent state-run extra-judicial killings (EJKs) and asked the president to halt the carnage.
They expressed alarm that some of those killed by lawmen in alleged “shootouts” were suspected pushers and young drug addicts and not convicted criminals.
Senator Leila De Lima, a former Commission on Human Rights commissioner, questioned the EJKs saying criminals are presumed innocent until proven by the court.
Duterte, who vowed to wipe out criminality in the country within six months starting in July, responded with derision and called his critics “SOB.”
When the president and Dela Rosa could not meet the six-month deadline, Duterte asked for extension.
Killings are feared to escalate anew in 2017.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, POLITICS

 

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