Editorial: Department of (In)Justice aka DOJ

www.nordis.net

“They (DOJ) could have said that they were not duty-bound to advise the CIDG that they had filed a weak case. Have some conscience.”

This was what Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa had to say when state prosecutors of the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the dismissal of the case against self-confessed and convicted drug lords.

Adding insult to injury, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II apologized to the state prosecutors for allowing the National Bureau of Investigation to probe them on their decision to drop the case against the drug lords saying that “it was not correct” but he had to do it because “extraordinary incidents call for extraordinary solutions”.

The justice secretary also defended the state prosecutors’ decision by saying that it is not their responsibility to seek out evidence but only to decide on what is presented to them by the complainant.

On the other hand, the DOJ filed a petition to declare some 600 individuals as terrorists, among those included were priests, United Nations experts, lawyers, environmental activists, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples’ leaders and others. This drew outrage from various groups, statesmen and individuals in the country and abroad who continue to call and demand for the dropping of the DOJ charges, pointing out that the list bearing over 600 names is terribly faulty, unverified and untrue.

Senator Panfilo Lacson even criticized the DOJ for its “lazy work” saying that the list still needs “extensive investigation”. He said that the DOJ used “old files”, files that are “gathering mold in court”.

These two cases reflect the department is troubled and divided; showing some sloppy practices and a lack of conscience amongst members of the justice department. One that would rather drop charges against convicted and self-confessed drug lords, and on the other hand declare innocent civilians and known human rights and environmental activists as terrorists without checking out concrete evidence and references. Or consideration for the consequences that follow the vilification of the innocent (until proven guilty) or even the right of every Filipino Citizen to due process, fair treatment and to their Bill of Rights. Lest we forget the more than 12,000 people killed on mere suspicion that they were drug addicts or pushers. # nordis.net

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