WHILE the country rejoiced over the conviction of three policemen for the gruesome murder of Kian Loyd de los Santos, in August last year, the Reds and Yellows are so despondent over it.
It wrecked the false narratives they had been disseminating to the nation, that President Duterte has damaged our rule-of-law institutions and given the police a license-to-kill in his war against drugs. Indeed, Kian’s mother in a televised interview was profuse in thanking Duterte that her son would now rest peacefully as his killers have been brought to justice.
The Liberal Party didn’t even have an official statement on the conviction that had demonstrated that the country has, as the presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo put it, a “robust judicial system.”
Yellow senator Risa Hontiveros again added to her numerous inane comments by claiming that the conviction proves that Duterte is accountable for extrajudicial killings, as in the case of the 11-year-old boy’s murder. Haven’t her ideologues in the US and Europe told her that the term “extrajudicial killing” was invented to refer to state-ordered murder undertaken without legal proceedings?
Communist Party of the Philippines spokesman Jose Ma. Sison, who almost always blabbers on every headline news, was uncharacteristically quiet. One of his puppet organizations Karapatan, however, issued a statement that it was “enraged” that Duterte and former police chief Ronald de la Rosa “remained unpunished.”
It’s not at all surprising that the Yellows and Reds are tearing their hair out in trepidation over the conviction of Kian’s police killers.
The Liberal Party in 2017 officially had made Kian’s murder into one of the three issues they would harp on to demonize Duterte, to claim that he had created a culture of impunity, and should therefore be overthrown. (The other two keystones of the Liberals’ propaganda line were Sen. Leila de Lima’s incarceration and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao — both of which have receded in the public mind.)
Rumors had spread in fact that Yellows had even offered P2 million to Kian’s parents for them to attend their rallies, which the Liberal Party denied. The parents though refused to comment on the report.
Yellow Senators Franklin Drilon and Hontiveros, in connivance with their sympathizer Integrated Bar Pesident Abdiel Dan Fajardo (who had staunchly tried to stop Maria Lourdes Sereno’s ouster from the Supreme Court) even tried in effect to sabotage the prosecution of the three policemen by claiming that it is the Ombudsman which has jurisdiction over the case.
I don’t think they were ignorant of the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman is so understaffed and short of prosecutors that they are still handling cases filed 20 years ago; or of the rumors of massive corruption among its ranks.
While the Yellows claimed that then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd wouldn’t move a finger to investigate the killing, allegedly as this would run counter to his boss’ war on drugs, he officially designated just two weeks after Kian’s killing the panel of three prosecutors that would investigate and prosecute the three policemen.
These were Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Tofel G. Austria, Assistant State Prosecutor Amanda L. Garcia and Associate Prosecution Attorney Moises Acaya. These lawyers are in their early 40s and 30s, and known in the department to idealistic yet dauntless prosecutors. It was these lawyers who persevered in putting in the witness protection program witnesses to the crime and even Kian’s parents, whose testimonies led to the three policemen’s prosecution.
The Yellows’ propaganda line was that Duterte threw to the dustbin the rule of law in order to achieve his election promise of ridding the nation of the scourge of illegal drugs. But quite obviously he did not interfere at all in the investigation and prosecution of the killings by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Public Prosecutors’ Office (which initially filed the case), and the justice department.
It would have been easy for the PNP to fabricate things so that Kian would have been portrayed as an illegal-drug dealer that fought the police, and thus was killed. That didn’t happen.
Similarly, the Communist Party’s main propaganda line — since the “strongman” Marcos regime — is that the state is entirely an instrument of the ruling class, the police and military the elite’s private armies, and Duterte as the newest Philippine fascist.
That the state’s justice department successfully got the three killers of a boy from the lower classes convicted certainly shatters that communist fallacy. It also reminds Filipinos that we have a democratic institution called the rule of law developed painstakingly over centuries, which the communists will destroy.
Sison and his cohorts have never explained what kind of justice system they will impose if ever they seize power. Kangaroo courts led by New People’s Army commanders, the kind that ordered the execution after a “people’s trial” of at most two days, hundreds of suspected military infiltrators into their ranks?
Killing of innocents
The Yellows’ and Reds’ propaganda line that they have sadly succeeded in propagating through their allies in media, such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Rappler, is that Duterte has ordered the police to kill indiscriminately those involved in illegal drugs.
The reality they have tried to hide is the fact that any war, even in a civilian setting where the antagonists are armed, almost always leads to the unfortunate killing of innocents.
There are rogue, sadistic killer-cops anywhere in the world, with the incidence for example of Caucasian racist policemen killing unarmed Blacks and even Hispanics in US cities increasing in the past several years. Wars are filled with tales of inexplicable cruelty — from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam to the more recent horrific case of a decorated Marine veteran convicted of killing 16 Afghan men, women and children in that country that the US had invaded.
This may be due to, as it were, the devil in all of men’s souls — a penchant for cruelty against the “other,” a remnant of humanity’s past as savages — or, to take a kinder explanation, the result of the psychological stress of being in a situation in which a man knows he can be killed, and therefore is more likely to kill to ensure his own survival.
The institution that civilization has developed over period of a thousand years to counter these beasts in men’s hearts is what we call the rule of law. The conviction of the three policemen for the murder of an 11-year-old boy proves that we do have that institution, even strengthened under Duterte, and even robust in his war vs illegal drugs.