Gordon: Culture of impunity in the Philippines must stop
MANILA, Philippines – The culture of impunity in the country must be stopped, Senator Richard Gordon said Monday, as he urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to “act swiftly” in resolving the series of killings in the country.
“There is a culture of violence and impunity that must be stopped immediately by ensuring that the police and the people are reminded that we are a country that follows the rule of law,” Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said in a statement.
“Such appears to have been forgotten as shown by violent events that occurred in the past ten days,” he added.
The senator said the killings in the country, which happened over a span of slightly more than a week, showed “that there are elements in our society that believe that a culture of violence is the only way to change, that a culture of impunity and not the rule of law prevails.”
Gordon cited the murder of AKO Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe, who was killed in Albay on Saturday; ambush on lawyer Erfe del Castillo and Elfren Palmares in Negros Occidental on Decmeber 22; slay of Ariel Vicencio, son of former Malabon Mayor Amado “Boy” Vicencio also on December 22; ambush of Councilor Ricardo Tan and his wife in Negros Occidental on December 14.
The senator urged witnesses to these crimes to come forward and provide information to authorities.
“With the level of technology we have today, with the number of CCTV and mobile phone cameras around, dedicated and systematic police work can result in the identification and arrest of the perpetrators of these acts of violence,” he said.
“However, it is not only police work that is important – what is also essential is the participation of the people by providing statements on what they may have witnessed including providing sworn testimonies to ensure that the perpetrators are appropriately punished,” he added.
“At this time of turbulence,” he also said “we must all return to our fundamental law, the Philippine Constitution for guidance.”
“The Constitution mandates that our government ensure rule of law and due process every step of the way – from criminal investigation to identification of the accused, the filing of criminal charges before our courts, arrest, trial, promulgation of judgment and then imposition of penalties, if warranted by evidence. It also specifies the manner by which we elect our leaders – through free- orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections,” he further said. /kga
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