‘Crimes against humanity?’

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2021 - 12:00am

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) under Greco Belgica doesn’t spare anyone, even President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s townmate.

The PACC has recommended the firing of Michael Dalumpines, president and chairman of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), an adjunct agency of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Dalumpines, being from Davao City, campaigned hard for Digong in the 2016 elections.

The PACC accuses Dalumpines of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty for alleged irregularities in APO’s printing of electronic passports.

APO supposedly hired private companies to print the electronic passports when it’s the sole printer of the P38-billion contract.

Dalumpines was my neighbor and playmate when we were young boys in Washington street in Davao City in 1960-61. But if he’s involved in the multi-billion-peso scam, let the chips fall where they may.

How did Dalumpines become APO president and chairman without being elected by the board of directors?

The directors elect among themselves their president and chairman. In other words, Dalumpines was rammed down the throats of the directors.

Who placed Dalumpines in those positions?

*      *      *

Montasser Sabal, former mayor of Talitay, Maguindanao, was killed after he allegedly wrestled for the gun of a policeman, one of those who arrested him.

Sabal was caught in possession of a machine gun, several long firearms, ammunition, over P630,000 in cash and 387 grams of shabu (crystal meth) worth P2.7 million while transporting them on a roll-on/roll-off ferry in Batangas City.

Sabal was suspected to have masterminded the grenade bombing of a plaza in Davao City in 2016 that killed 15 people and wounded scores of others.

This columnist, wise to the ways of the police, first thought Sabal was executed by his captors. But I changed my mind after learning that he was a member of the elite police Special Action Force (SAF) from 1998 to 2008.

Sabal indeed tried to grab the gun of one of his captors in an attempt to commit suicide. SAF commandos are taught not to be caught alive by the enemy. He knew the fate that awaited him if he was tried in court.

Sabal’s fellow Muslim companions, who were arrested with him, should have also opted to die rather than face the prospect of life in prison.

Now, how can Sabal’s death be considered a crime against humanity in the eyes of the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

Here’s a toast to Sabal’s death.

*      *      *

Digong is on the right track in ignoring the ICC probe on the killings of suspected drug pushers and dealers.

Outgoing ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says the “plethora of public statements made by Mr. Duterte and other government officials encouraging, supporting and, in certain instances, urging the public to kill suspected drug users and dealers” were evidence of state policy to attack civilians.

Any lawyer worth his salt would tell you that what Bensouda gathered from news reports about the killings of drug pushers and traffickers are plain hearsay.

Granting but not admitting that indeed drug pushers and traffickers were killed by state forces, does that constitute “crimes against humanity?”

The United Nations website defines crimes against humanity as a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, including the crimes of murder, extermination, slavery, deportation, imprisonment, torture, rape, or if all these crimes are done on political, racial and religious grounds.

By that definition, killings of suspected drug pushers and traffickers are not crimes against humanity.

Most of the dead suspects were criminals. Society has benefited from their disappearance from the face of the earth. These actions were not directed at the population at large.

*      *      *

Who the heck was our representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) who voted to investigate Israel for alleged human rights violations in the latest skirmishes with Palestine?

That moron never consulted President Digong, who now wants the Philippine vote withdrawn.

The “yes” vote by the Philippines in the UNHRC against Israel was embarrassing, as we have very close ties with the Jewish state.

Tourist visa is not required of Filipinos who enter Israel. This is to reciprocate President Manuel Quezon’s giving sanctuary in 1934 to 1,300 European Jews who escaped persecution by the Nazis.

The “yes” vote by the Philippines in UNHRC was also absurd as the country is in the same predicament as Israel in the war in Mindanao.

Our government has been accused of persecuting the Muslims, a charge which is ridiculous because the war in Mindanao has claimed the lives of both Muslims and Christians.

In fact, Muslims are the ones persecuting Christians in areas where they predominate. Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao are among the areas where Muslims outnumber Christians.

*      *      *

The government has signed a contract with Pfizer Inc. for 40 million vaccine doses.

The Pfizer vaccines will start arriving in August.

This time Health Secretary Francisco Duque III did not “drop the ball.”

Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin and Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez facilitated a deal with Pfizer to ship ten million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the country as early as July last year.

Locsin said Duque “dropped the ball” or fumbled the deal with Pfizer last year after the health secretary failed to work on the necessary documents.

Duque deliberately dropped the ball last year for reasons only he probably knows.

The latest deal has increased to 113 million the total number of vaccine doses the country has secured: 26 million from Sinovac, 20 million from Moderna, 17 million from Astra Zeneca and 10 million from Sputnik.

If there are no hitches, the country could have herd immunity – with 77.7 million people receiving two doses each – by December this year.

Let’s hope Duque doesn’t drop the ball in having the country attain herd immunity by then.

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