Shaming could not stop the drug trade
Early Sunday, President Rodrigo R. Duterte dropped another bombshell and announced to the public the names of seven judges, 52 incumbent and former mayors and vice mayors, three congressmen, one former board member and 96 police and military officers allegedly involved in illegal drug trade, bringing the total number of shamed individuals to 159.
What could the “presidential shaming” of politicians, judges and policemen believed to be involved in illegal drug operation attain? If indeed they are really into the illegal drug business, could shaming make them stop their illegal activities?
One thing is definite: it makes the suspects’ knees shake especially those who are still holding public office and those that are planning a comeback.
Regardless how high the level of quaking, there is no guarantee that they will stop unless they will be silenced by the bullets of either the raiding policemen or the riding in tandem vigilantes.
Since the first public shaming by Duterte last July 5, 2016 consigning five active and retired generals and a Cebuano businessman into limbo, no single charge was filed against any of them and not even one has an arrest warrant attached to his name a month after the public pronouncement was made during the 69th founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force.
As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, Duterte’s supposed refuge in bringing down the illegal drug business should have been the court where allegations are substantiated by evidence and testimonies while the defendants would be given their day in court to prove otherwise and be considered as innocent until proven guilty.
Being the most powerful man in the country, Duterte can make use of his influence in convicting all he tagged as illegal drug operators and even go to the extent of fabricating evidence against them until conviction.
That would at least give a semblance of regularity compared to the purge that is happening now in the country where suspects are either shamed or killed.
What Duterte claimed as a verified list included a judge who was killed eight years ago, a man whom he named as a congressman but was never elected into the post, another person as a town mayor but was not also elected as mayor and a police official who was identified in the latest remark with a rank lower than his present level.
These flaws placed the integrity of the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs highly questionable.
This made me think that the president was handed an unverified or recycled list that made his bombshell a dud. Judging from the quality of information that the president wanted every Filipino to consume, one could easily quip that shaming and murder is this administration’s most effective tool to fight the drug menace.
The president must stop giving negative pronouncement against anyone especially with the kind of information handed to him that is considered weak and preposterous.
Whoever is responsible for the unverified information must also face the wrath of the president because it could cause more damage to the families than using drugs.
Every lawyer worth his salt would not result to trial by publicity, character assassination and murder to win a case but by precisely collecting pieces of evidence to build a strong case and not by resorting into extra judicial methods.
With all the rhetoric that is happening, it is still uncertain what the administration wants to attain in this brand of war against illegal drug.
Certainly shaming and assassination would not stop the suspects from disengaging but would somehow sow more hatred and anger among the children and loved ones of those who are publicly shamed by the president.
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