Cleansing of judiciary a must in anti-drug campaign
GOVERNMENT should clean the judiciary in order to effectively wage war against illegal drugs.
“It’s always the police that are being accused of receiving drug money. But there are fiscals, lawyers and judges who receive money which are even bigger,” said lawyer Paul Clarence Oaminal, chairman of Cebu City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac).
He expressed his frustration over the Supreme Court whom he said were lenient to members of the judiciary allegedly coddling drug personalities.
During yesterday’s 888 News Forum, Oaminal said drug personalities are getting bolder. He cited Kerwin Espinosa, whose drug case was dismissed and was thus able to continue drug trade.
He also said lawyers of drug suspects are also members of drug syndicates they represent.
“Who taught these drug lords to open businesses like pension houses? They did not finish their studies but it’s their lawyers who coach them. They (lawyers) are part of syndicates too. They are not just lawyering for them,” Oaminal added.
Cebu Daily News tried to reach lawyer Jonnah John Ungab, Espinosa’s lawyer, but he only sent a text message, “No comment” with a smiley emoticon.
Lawyer Hidelito Pascual, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City, said what Oaminal said was unfair.
“That was a cross generalization. There is a legal process and everyone is entitled to services of a lawyer,” Pascual told Cebu Daily News.
So far, not a single complaint has been received by the IBP on lawyers relating to drug money.
On the cleansing of the judiciary, Pascual said, “Let those persons who are in authority over the courts look into that.”
War on drugs should be institution- and principles-based because politicians come and go, he added.
IBP Eastern Visayas Governor Mae Elaine Bathan, in a text message to Cebu Daily News said, “Such statement is not only conclusive but accusatory. It is every lawyer’s duty to defend the cases of his client within the bounds of law. . . . Just because he handles cases of persons accused of illegal drugs or any criminal offense for that matter, it does not necessarily follow that a lawyer has conspired or has become a cohort.”
Oaminal said that government should strengthen other fundamentals.
He said in raiding shabu laboratories, the chemist should also be arrested.
Oaminal said that the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and Department of Education (DepEd) should also come up with an anti-drug campaign and educational program in schools.
He also encouraged all the governors in the country to construct rehabilitation centers in every province.
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