EDITORIAL — A thirst for justice and what is right

The Freeman
EDITORIAL � A thirst for justice and what is right

People in Mindanao may not be as under the influence and sway of former president Rodrigo Duterte as he thinks, as shown by two recent developments. First is the survey showing how many people are now supporting rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC), and second the resounding rejection of his bid for Mindanao to secede from the rest of the Philippines.

As for the first development, according to an OCTA survey, 59% of Filipinos favored the Philippines rejoining the ICC, with 41% not in favor. The same survey says that in Mindanao the highest support came from Northern Mindanao (92%), while the lowest support was from the Davao Region (10%).

Of course, rejoining the ICC carries with it the assumption that ICC investigators will now have more leeway to pursue their investigation into the extrajudicial killings that happened during Duterte’s war against drugs, even with the possibility that he and others may be held responsible for them.

As for the second development, 53 lawmakers from Mindanao resolutely rejected any call for Mindanao to split from the rest of the Philippines. The manifesto they signed said they rejected Duterte’s calls for an independent Mindanao as this would go against their "belief in national unity" and "the power of inclusive development."

"It is therefore imperative that we stand together to protect our constitutional democracy through legal means, ensuring that those who seek to divide us are held accountable under the full extent of the law," the manifesto read.

They even went further to say that those who call for secession should be prosecuted for "fostering disunity...blatantly violating our Constitution and threatening the sovereign integrity of our nation." All that was said without necessarily naming former president Duterte, or saying that his proposal to split Mindanao from the rest of the Philippines may have been borne out of his desperation to avoid being held responsible for the extrajudicial killings.

It’s nice to know that people in Mindanao, perceived to have Duterte’s back in all issues, have a thirst for justice and for what is right.

Justice will always have its way of surfacing, one way or another. And considering how so many were killed during the previous administration’s war on drugs, an investigation into the killings should be conducted, preferably not by those blamed for carrying them out in the first place. And those found guilty should be punished.

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