Admission against interest

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

I read somewhere an essay that tried to measure courage. The writer and the title of his work now escape me for reasons people call in jest as senior moments. In essence, he said courage is shown less by a man who does something uncommon and more by admitting what he has done.

I remember that because President Rodrigo Duterte recently admitted to extrajudicial killing. What was not clear though in his admission was whether he gave some kind of marching order to policemen to resort to EJK, or he merely tolerated each time a victim was killed.

EJK is not common. What is common among most of us is to avoid it. After all, it is criminal. Worse, this crime is an act of cowardice because the victim is often defenseless. In the light of what is happening in the country, the killing is perceptively done by policemen. Accordingly, they are forced to shoot their victims in self-defense. Almost always we hear our policemen claiming the persons they were poised to arrest drew their firearms first and instinctively the lawmen has to shoot them. All the time, they alleged this. In his cryptic language, did Duterte own responsibility for the dreaded EJK?

If we were to refer to the theory submitted by the writer whose name I forgot, Duterte demonstrated more courage by admitting that EJK is one of the flaws of his administration. Unfortunately, the lawyers called his act an admission against interest. Admitting to have allowed the crime to proliferate has far reaching consequences. EJK is an assault of the due process clause of the Constitution. Since Duterte has sworn to protect the fundamental law, allowing its transgression is a form of betrayal. In the bar of justice, this admission is evidence against him. He may be immune from suit but certainly he himself has laid out the impeachment path.

In any case, I was not surprised by Duterte’s mea culpa. There was a time when he did a more or less the same thing. Not attuned to such kind of revelation, I was more startled then. It took place in the interview conducted by Solita Monsod before the 2016 elections. In that sit-com, he also mentioned something about cleansing Davao City of some 1,600 criminals. The EJK that Duterte recently admitted to be happening in his administration has similar strands to the Davao cleansing. In all likelihood these killings must have been conceptualized by one author.

I noticed though that Duterte somehow tried to suppress the gravity of the EJK by telling us in so many words that he is not corrupt. While the difference is obvious we still have to thank him for his effort. What is difference? The body of an EJK victim cannot be hidden. In its deformed bloody state, it is always visible for people to be frightened with. The cameras of national television are focused on these grotesque figures. Our police officers do not fail to account the fearsome moments when they encountered these suspects. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to view the spoils of corruption. No corrupt official is crazy enough to show the fruits of his financial indiscretion. Having said that, we can only believe Duterte’s claim of being incorrupt.


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