Duterte’s ‘EJK sin’ remark can be ground for impeachment, law expert says

Duterteâs âEJK sinâ remark can be ground for impeachment, law expert says
President Rodrigo Duterte last Thursday said extrajudicial killings were his “only sin.”
Presidential Photo / Simeon Celi Jr., File

MANILA, Philippines — A law expert said Sunday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed admission that extrajudicial killings were his “only sin” could be a ground for impeachment.

Antonio “Tony” La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government, said Duterte could be held liable for culpable violation of the institution for admitting there are extrajudicial killings because of him.

"Clear naman. Hindi naman siya nagbibiro (He wasn’t joking) when he said that. The demeanor is very clear," La Viña was quoted in a radio interview with dzBB.

"Kasi nanggaling sa mouth ng presidente. Hindi mo na kailangan i-prove pa. Ang tawag diyan, admission against interest. 'Yan ang pinaka-highest and strongest evidence (It came from the mouth of the president. You don’t need to prove that. That’s called admission against interest. That’s the highest and strongest evidence) Because nobody confesses unless they mean it," he added.

La Viña made the comment days after the president last Thursday claimed that the summary executions that had taken place under his war on drugs are his only sin.

“What are your sins? Me? I told the military 'what are my sins?' Did I steal money? Even just one peso? Did I prosecute somebody I sent to jail? My only sin is extrajudicial killings," Duterte said in a speech in Malacañan.

Duterte’s remark came months after his critics filed a complaint against him before the International Criminal Court to hold him liable over the death of thousands of drug suspects. 

READ: ‘No admission’: Palace scrambles anew to clarify Duterte’s ‘EJK sin’ confession

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque defended the president’s supposed admission saying he was just being “playful.”

The law expert, however, said the president’s actual remark on EJKs had no hint of being a joke in it.

“In fact, regret ang nandoon o pwede ring pagmamayabang,” La Viña said.

“Totoo naman na nangyari iyan (EJK) dahil sa war against drugs. Maaaring collateral damage. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na si pangulo ang nagsabi na patayin mo lahat ng mga 'yan, pero siguradong consequences iyan ng war against drugs,” he added.

With this, La Viña said there is no need to prove Duterte’s remark to the International Criminal Court because there is already admission. — Rosette Adel





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