BACOLOD

Sanchez: Presumed innocent

Nature Speaks

I FIND it distressing to read about lawyers making a mess of our judicial system.

Former prosecutor Rodrigo Duterte signed as President of the Philippines Proclamation No. 572 voiding Trillanes’ amnesty.

At the end of the proclamation, Duterte said: “The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are ordered to employ all lawful means to apprehend former LTSG Antonio Trillanes so that he can be recommitted to the detention facility where he had been incarcerated for him to stand trial for the crimes he is charged with.”

We all know that military man LTSG Trillanes is now a civilian and is therefore outside the jurisdiction of military courts.

Later on, the lawyer Duterte would eventually backtrack from this directive, and say he is ruling out a military arrest and would instead defer to the courts.

The court “was not persuaded” to act on DOJ’s request without a hearing because doing so “would definitely prejudice the right of the accused for due process,” said Makati Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda in a decision read by Clerk of Court Atty. Diosfa Valencia. “We should hear also the side of Senator Trillanes.”

Yet despite a Supreme Court resolution making it clear that Trillanes cannot be arrested without a warrant, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque still maintained on that the military can do a warrantless arrest if it wants to.

What? My father, a provincial fiscal, must be turning in his grave to read how his compañeros are twisting the Philippine Constitution and the Revised Penal Code.

The presumption of innocence is an important part of our criminal law system.

Basically, it means that if you are accused of a crime, you don't have to prove you are innocent. Instead, it is the job of the prosecutor to prove you are guilty.

It is thus refreshing to read that with the surrender of Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia Yulo of Moises Padilla and her husband Felix Mathias Segundo Yulo III, we read non-lawyer Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Police Regional Office-6 director, said the Yulos will be presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. “We take their act of voluntarily surrendering as a manifestation of respect for the rule of law and the justice system.”

“We assure the couple that their rights shall be upheld and that they will be duly accorded with the due process of law,” he added.

There is hope in this country. We remain a republic the State is under a government of laws—and not by men. I agree with what Aristotle in ancient times wrote: “It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens.” (bqsanc@yahoo.com)


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