Duterte warns drug lords’ lawyers
“The Punisher” may have found the next target of his deadly war on drugs: lawyers who defend drug suspects.
President Duterte has served notice particularly to the attorneys of suspected drug lords, saying they had been taking advantage of the circuitous judicial process, allowing their clients to continue with their illicit activities.
Speaking in a program on the anticorruption campaign on Wednesday night in Malacañang, the President noted the difficulties of securing the conviction of drug suspects because they are able to hire good lawyers.
Recounting his experience as a former government prosecutor in Davao City, he said private lawyers could delay the resolution even of simple criminal cases.
Back into play
“That’s their style. They were able to post bail because they have lawyers. They are good, high-profile lawyers. Then [their clients] will play again,” Mr. Duterte said in his usual expletive-laced speech.
He then warned: “Even their lawyers, I will include them.”
On Aug. 23, the lawyer of confessed drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, Rogelio Bato Jr., was shot dead by still-unidentified assailants in Tacloban City. The ambush, which also killed Bato’s 15-year-old companion, happened after Mr. Duterte named Espinosa and his father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, as the biggest drug lords in Eastern Visayas.
According to the President, the people should understand the “role of law” instead of focusing only on the “rule of law.”
No simple police mater
“That’s the reason why I’m angry because it is not a simple police matter. It is an assault on my country. If you put us in a bad situation, we will come up with a failed state.”
“What is the role of the law knowing fully well how fast we can produce a conviction? Up to the Supreme Court, how many years? While they are playing, they can give you [bail] bond, then they will [return to selling illegal drugs],” he said.
The President, who has earned the moniker “The Punisher” for endorsing vigilantism as a way to fight crime when he was mayor of Davao City, has stirred local and international outrage for his violent approach to curbing the illegal drug trade.
Last week, he threatened to kill human rights advocates for criticizing his ruthless drug campaign, which has killed nearly 6,000 drug suspects since he assumed the presidency on June 30.
Dossier on 5k officials
In his speech at the 4th State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the President showed to his audience, which included Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and several lawmakers and justices, a four-inch thick stack of documents, which he said contained the names of some 5,000 public officials allegedly involved in the narcotics trade.
“Of course, I cannot prove my case beyond reasonable doubt. I know that. I’ve been a prosecutor for years. But to build a case, just select one. We have to assign about four or five operatives,” he said.
“We do not have the money and we do not have the manpower. That’s why I had to declare a state of lawlessness to justify the entry of the military to do police work and to be of assistance to the police. I really lack manpower,” he added.