Lost morality-A A +A
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
FIVE government soldiers deployed in Zamboanga City during the siege by armed goons of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari were arrested for pillaging the local official’s house.
Here in Cebu city, the police and the Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RAHTTF) were accused of abuse of authority for damaging the bar’s office and allegedly taking the money and cell phones of the workers during the raid.
These are bad news in these sad times.
These soldiers who took advantage of the firefight between MNLF elements and government forces for their selfish intentions should be charged and be imposed the maximum penalty to serve as example to others.
The misfortune of these soldiers was that they ransacked the house of Councilor BG Guingona in Sta. Catalina. They are an embarrassment to President Noynoy Aquino, who was in Zamboanga City to give moral support to the soldiers fighting the MNLF.
Soldiers, just like the policemen, are sworn to serve and protect our lives and properties. What the said soldiers had done somehow affirms suspicions that there are still scalawags in the armed forces even with the President’s “matuwid na daan” policy.
That the looted guns and other personal items were reportedly returned to the owner does not change the fact that a crime was committed. Hence, these soldiers should be prosecuted.
On the other hand, the head of RAFTTF-7 should not just dismiss the allegations against them of abuse of authority because the bar owner, through their lawyer, have shown proof of the damage and the lost items.
The charge of abuse of authority against the raiding team was never meant to prevent the police from filing cases against those liable of the crime of human trafficking.
But the police should squarely answer those nasty issues raised against them.
Senior Insp. Ma. Theresa Macatangay’s retort that “they can allege whatever they can” smacks of arrogance and does not speak well of a public servant.
This is not in defense of the bar owner’s lawyer, but the police should know that lawyers are bound by their professional ethical standards as well as the laws. It would be stupid for the lawyer to manufacture evidence against the policemen.
As to the issue of warrantless search, it is for the court to resolve. But Macatangay should be taught, if not told to review her knowledge of the Bill of Rights as enshrined in our Constitution.
In the absence of a search warrant, no one, not even the President could just barge into a room, house or building without violating Section 2 of the Bill of Rights that states:
“Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”
The policemen knew they needed a warrant to search. But in their enthusiasm to enforce the laws they came up with shortcuts. At the end of the day, the cases they filed in court would just end up in the data of dismissed cases for lack of evidence.
Our police should not only enforce the law for the sake of performing a duty. They are also bound to ensure the successful prosecution of the cases filed in court. The prosecutors merely prosecute but it is the police that provide the evidence.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 26, 2013.