Barcenas: Prove it
VETERAN Cebuano lawyer Democrito Barcenas has challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to support his claims with sufficient evidence instead of just rattling off names of persons involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“Announcing the names on the list (without even presenting proof) is a violation of one’s honor. We know that one’s honor is as precious as life,” he told Cebu Daily News over the phone.
“I do not know the quantum of evidence against them but whether they are guilty, they are presumed to be innocent,” he added.
Barcenas said Duterte should prosecute those he accused of coddling drug groups to know the truth.
“Dili unta nga basa-basa lang na siya diha (The president should not just be reading those in the list),” he said.
Barcenas said the contents of the list given to the President should be doubted, particularly since one of the judges he named had long been dead.
Barcenas was referring to the late Judge Roberto Natividad of the Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Calbayog City who was gunned down by a still unidentified assailant in January 2008.
“That goes to show that his (Duterte) list is not accurate and baseless,” he said.
The best way to prove that he’s saying the truth is to prosecute the politicians, law enforcers, and judges he named.
“If the President has enough evidence, he must immediately prosecute them. These people are more fortunate because they are given a chance to explain. The poor, on the other hand, were summarily executed with impunity,” the human rights lawyer said.
Retired Cebu RTC Judge Meinrado Paredes has nothing against Duterte’s decision to publicly reveal the names of those linked to illegal drugs but he also believed that those on the list should be given the chance to explain and to prove their innocence.
“For as long as they are not deprived of their right to answer, then that’s fine. That’s better than getting killed,” he told CDN in a separate interview.
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