What’s wrong with a Justice Secretary favoring shoot-to-kill orders for the Cabuyao bank massacre suspects?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-05-22
Yes, what’s wrong with a DoJ Secretary favoring shoot-to-kill orders for the Cabuyao RCBC Branch massacre suspects?

The answer is — everything is wrong if you’re a Justice Secretary!

It is one thing to feel outrage and indignation over the dastardly massacre of 10 bank managers and employees in Cabuyao and another for a Justice Secretary to favor a shoot-to-kill order for suspects of the deed most foul.

To begin with, DoJ Secretary Raul Gonzalez himself admitted that the targets of the proposed shoot-to-kill orders are suspects. As such, there has been no process yet to determine if the suspects are indeed the villains or just some of the usual framed-up souls our police are inclined to produce when pressured to solve a heinous crime.

As Justice Secretary, Gonzalez should be the first to promote adherence to due process and the individual’s right to defend himself in a court of law. As Justice Secretary, Gonzalez would be the first to know just how unreliable our police can be when producing suspects, especially when they are under severe public pressure to produce the ruthless killers behind an inhuman deed like the Cabuyao bank massacre.

Last Monday, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez once again demonstrated that he was still under the influence of toxins affecting his brain due to his kidney problem. On ABS-CBN TV Patrol, Gonzalez openly stated to the Justice Department press corps that he favors issuing shoot-to-kill orders for the suspects of the Cabuyao RCBC Bank massacre.

The negative effects of unprocessed toxins resulting from chronic kidneys — for which Gonzalez received a kidney transplant — happen to those who are undergoing dialysis. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Gonzalez made so many weird and shocking utterances when he was still undergoing dialysis. The mental effects of unprocessed toxins are known to be worse the older the chronic kidney patient is.

However, the mind of the chronic kidney patient is supposed to stabilize after kidney transplantation has been accomplished. But for some reason or another, that does not seem to be the case for Raul Gonzalez. One is led to deduce that what he says may not be what his chronic kidneys cause him to say but what he really thinks and feels.

I remember Ninoy Aquino being quoted as saying that Filipinos will stomach poverty but not injustice. Ninoy was right. The lives of Filipinos became miserable under Ferdinand Marcos, but it was the injustice of Ninoy’s assassination that prompted the nation to remove the Marcos dictatorship.

Before Marcos became president in 1965, we were the second best economy in Asia and the peso stood at P4 to the then almighty US dollar. Right after Ninoy was assassinated, our economy, which was already in disrepair owing to Marcos crony capitalism, sank even lower. From being second best in Asia, we became known as second worst economy after Bangladesh.

And yet, it was not due to a sinking economy that Filipinos took to the streets and eventually found themselves doing People Power in 1986. It was due to injustice, notably the public outcry that followed the Ninoy Aquino assassination on August 21, 1983.

Filipinos were used to violence in local politics. But the Aquino assassination was the first ever incident of violence on the level of national politics in the country. Many were shocked. It dawned on Filipinos that if this can happen to a popular former senator of the land, then who else is safe? Thus, the personal decision of millions was reached — to get involved and be a factor in the process to restore democracy.

For whatever use Gonzalez serves to Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), his developing reputation as “Injustice Secretary” is an open invitation for revolt. It will be worth Malacanang’s money to commission Mahar Mangahas to include this question in the next SWS survey: How do you perceive Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez? Do you think he is a Justice Secretary or an Injustice Secretary?

I am willing to place a wager with anyone in GMA’s cabal that the “Injustice Secretary” perception will be more numerous. Let’s make it a productive wager. The loser pays for the cost of a Gawad Kalinga house.

Now to compliment Gonzalez in the executive branch of government, there is the now fondly referred to “Senator from Maguindanao” — Migz Zubiri — clamoring for the restoration of the death penalty.

What’s wrong with restoring the death penalty? Again, everything is wrong especially when we are talking about a country like ours where the justice system is extremely flawed.

Who isn’t aware of how justice here works for the rich and against the poor, for the politically well-connected and against whoever is without a political titan as protector? Who in his right mind would prescribe the death penalty under such feudal conditions we live in?

We can agree to shoot-to-kill orders for crime suspects and to the restoration of the death penalty IF these measures will include promoters of injustice and election cheaters.

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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