EJK admission done in jest
President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission regarding his involvement in extrajudicial killings was done in jest and motivated by humor, said Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu.
“I’m sure that is not to be taken in a literal sense by the fact that it would be against his own interest to admit in public that he is guilty of extrajudicial killings. He said it partly in humor,” Tan added.
And true enough, Malacañang issued a statement yesterday that the President was indeed joking
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President was just being “playful” and was not even serious when he delivered the remark.
This was not the first time Duterte, who is known for his hyperbole and tough-talking persona, had contradicted his own statements.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Friday came to Mr. Duterte’s defense saying what Duterte really meant was that the “only issue” being used against his administration is the alleged extrajudicial killings.
“Ang sinabi kasi ni Presidente: ‘Ang kasalanan ko lang ay ang extrajudicial killings.’ Ang ibig niyang sabihin, ‘ang isyu lang laban sa akin ay extrajudicial killings,’ iyon ang ibig sabihin nun,” Panelo said in an interview over dwFM.
Panelo added that the public should also consider the President’s earlier statements to understand what he really meant.
“Dapat kasi kapag sasabihin ng Presidente, titingnan mo iyong mga previous statements niya. Kailangan consistent doon sa dati na niyang sinasabi,” he said.
In a speech in Malacañang on Thursday, Duterte appeared to have admitted his involvement in the alleged summary executions in the country, an issue that has been hounding his administration since launching the government’s war on drugs.
“Ako I will talk to a political exercise now. What are your sins? Ako? Sabi ko nga sa military, kaw ba ako diyan ni piso? Did I prosecute somebody na pinakulong ko? Ang kasalanan ko lang, yung mga extrajudicial killing,” Duterte said.
Msgr. Tan, on the other hand said, “I’m sure the president will not condemn himself by admitting in the public that he is guilty of that.”
Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Duterte should be held answerable for the spate of killings in the country.
“Truly, a fish is caught by its mouth and a foul man by his deeds. Si Pangulong Duterte ang pinakamabisang testigo laban sa kanyang sarili. Sa pag-amin niya sa sala ng EJKs, inako niya ng buo ang responsibilidad at pananagutan sa hindi na mabilang na kaso ng patayan sa ating bayan. Sooner or later, President Duterte will have to pay the wages of his sin of extrajudicial killings,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
Hontiveros remained confident that the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other human rights advocates have noted President Duterte’s earlier statement and will use it as a form of evidence in their cry for justice.
Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR – 7) Director lawyer Arvin Odron said, “From a naturalist point of view and based on the universally accepted standards of human rights, such statement may support the theory that he is really involves in state-sponsored killings, the concept of extrajudicial killings.”
But in the absence of evidence, such confession proves nothing.
“For an extrajudicial confession to be admissible as evidence, the same must be reduced into writing, signed by the accused with the assistance of his counsel of of choice,” Odron pointed out.
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