On extrajudicial killings

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By Ben Emata

From Across the Seas

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


THE shortcut to justice that some people described as extrajudicial killings has been a practice by some government authorities in the country for decades to give swift justice to the citizenry. This is about eliminating the bad elements in the community to restore peace and order and allow the people to enjoy life in peace.

This originated from the West when the cowboys got angry of thieves of large cattle and allowed the law of the bullets to fly high in the kingdom of the criminals.

So in the Philippines, especially in bigger cities, police authorities resorted to extrajudicial killings to allow peace and order to prevail.

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According to some police officers, the matter of arresting criminals entails a lot of time, risks and efforts. Sometimes, it is the police officers that fall in a gunfight with thieves. To reverse the situation, some police officers employ the gunfight experts from the bad elements to execute the troublesome thieves, rapists or just any criminal. In certain cases police officers do the job of eliminating the hardened criminals. Of course, the not-so-hardened criminals are spared.

This kind of justice was practiced in many cities in the country thus a lot of big-time criminals were thrown to rivers, by the roadsides, in parks and nearly everywhere. It happened in Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao and other places. Heavily tattooed people were thrown from bridges and all the victims turned out to be top criminals. The matter has frightened people in the underworld and they move from one city to another to escape the ire of the local authorities. Many residents cheer the acts of the police as the criminals disappear in many places.

The kind of justice was welcomed quietly by many residents who described it as a swift solution to criminality in their communities. Indeed, criminality in many places had been reduced to the minimum if not eliminated for good. People can walk freely and safely in the middle of the night. But whatever benefits the local people derived from it, the fact is extrajudicial killing is absolutely against the law. This pure and simple killing of criminals before they are brought to court is severely criticized by some members of society.

The law should be upheld no matter what and such move by the authorities to eliminate criminals before they are sentenced for whatever crime is definitely a crime itself. In my mind this kind of swift justice has not been stopped. It is happening since there is no clue on who actually kill these criminals. As we know criminals fight among themselves. Perhaps it was reduced but many authorities who are really angry at the frequency of crimes committed had nothing in mind but to send to the cemetery the stubborn or hard headed criminals who cannot stop committing crimes no matter how they are requested to do so.

[Email: benemata@yahoo.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 27, 2014.

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