"My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising."
"The Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations."
-- From President Duterte's inaugural speech
MOST of President Duterte's inaugural address were reaffirmations of what he said during the campaign and after his victory:
-- His fight against corruption, criminality and illegal drugs will be waged.
-- Efforts to bring peace in areas of conflict will be intensified.
-- Trust and faith in our leaders and public servants will be restored.
As before, he focused on criminality and corruption, with some jolting add-ons, namely, cutting red tape in bureaucracy and not changing rules on government deals "while the game is ongoing."
Apparently, his program is work in progress, with the details "to be supplied...in due time."
His surprises, if not shockers, were his declaration of "adherence to due process and rule of law" and the pledge to honor international obligations.
Why, because of his threats to kill crime suspects, along with hefty bounty for law enforcers, and because of his plan to restore the death penalty, this time by double hanging.
Extrajudicial killings not justified under the law violate due process and are criminal. And the country is committed under aegis of the U.N. to ban the death penalty, aside from the Constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
How then would his vows, made just after he took the oath "to defend and protect the Constitution" and "execute its laws," affect his fight on crime?
Duterte could still run roughshod over the constraints, citing "greater good." Or he could use them as reason for failing in his promise to eliminate crime in six months, his hands being tied by the Constitution and the law.