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ROUGH CUTS | This thing they call ‘probe’

This one was the most unexpected “show” in Congress by Davao City first district congressman Paolo Z. Duterte.

We mean his having gone up the podium the other day and boldly introduced a resolution calling for the appropriate House committee to conduct a back-tracked investigation on alleged extra-judicial killings (EJKs) during the time of previous Presidents like Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the late former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Meaning, Congressman Polong wanted that the probe should not just be limited to the alleged EJKs during the Presidency of his father former President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

We have observed that the move of the Davao City congressman has raised eyebrows of a number of his fellow members of the House, especially the Makabayan bloc and those who are now gravitating to the House Speaker who is open on his rift with the Davaoeno former President. In fact many of the reactors are saying that the Polong resolution is a gambit that he is hoping will be bitten by his peers. They say the resolution is one diversionary tactic to take away the focus of the public eyes on the reported serving of a warrant of arrest on the former President by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the massive EJKs allegedly committed during his time in Malacanang.

Perhaps the Davao City first district representative is aware that the ICC probe and the claimed impending serving of an arrest warrant is weighing too much on his father. So for Congressman Polong it is time for him to do his best to help out his father by calling for a wider-scoped investigation that will include the time of several former Presidents.

Will our congressman succeed? Will his fellow lawmakers in the Lower House bite his bait? Already a number of the House members are suspicious of his real motive.

“Let us to see,” according to the late Davaoeno Senator Landring Almendras.


So erstwhile Davao City Police Office Director Col. Richard Bad-ang has been relieved from his post barely a little over a month since his assumption?

It looks like the top leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is serious with its intention of changing the image of the Police organization with regards to the alleged commission of human rights violations by any of its members. Earlier the PNP under then outgoing Director General Benjamin Acorda, Jr. committed that the PNP will not tolerate any practice of human rights violation by any of its members. The same commitment was re-echoed by newly assumed PNP chief Gen. Francisco Marbil.

Then came the assumption of Colonel Bad-ang as the new DCPO director. And on the very occasion he was welcomed by City Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte who in his speech parroted the slogan of his father the former City Mayor and President, warning illegal drugs dealers in the city that if they insist in perpetuating their trade in Davao “you will be killed.”

And indeed in just a matter of days and weeks seven (7) suspected drug merchants got killed in police buy-bust operations

Whether the killings of the seven suspects were a coincidence or not, with the apparent threat of the city mayor, the fact is that their deaths happened after the warning was issued in public and in the presence of the then newly assumed police chief.

Of course based on news reports on the buy-busts and killings of the seven suspects it appears that their deaths were consequence of their intention to fight it out with the raiding teams. Hence, the bullets that killed the victims could have come from the guns of the policemen.

And we can safely assume that the focus of the ongoing investigation by the Police Internal Affairs Service (IAS) is centered on how the buy-bust operations were conducted and the circumstances leading to the shooting of the alleged suspects. After all, what is looked forward is the establishment of the real cause or causes of the suspects’ deaths; whether or not they were summarily executed in compliance with some mandate from senior police or civilian officials.

To be certain of an unbiased probe sans the possible influence by higher ranked officials, the investigating unit has to temporarily relieve the city’s police director who is the superior of all members of the group conducting the buy-busts.

Unfortunately for Colonel Bad-ang he was merely enforcing the law and in the process his men appeared to have committed what his peers believed violations of human rights. It is therefore just normal that he will be investigated by the IAS.

But then there was an open warning by the City Mayor that may or may not have bearing on the suspects’ killings. Will the City Chief Executive be investigated for his possible role? And what agency will conduct the probe if there is any?

Given the current political situation, we doubt if there is any such agency that will initiate any probe or even a semblance of it.


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