ONE of the lines in President Duterte's inaugural speech last June 30 that drew applause and stayed in people's minds was this: "You mind your work and I will mind mine."

It was intended to caution such agencies as Congress and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to back off and tend to their own business.

The pitch though also sent another meaning, also legitimate. Telling Congress and CHR to mind their work is also telling them to do their job.

Legislative tasks include congressional inquiry in aid of legislation. And CHR's work is to safeguard civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and the laws.

In recently warning the Senate not to investigate the spate of killings, do the police chief and the justice secretary, under orders from their boss, not want legislators to do that part of their work?

Congressional hearings promote checks and balances and serve oversight functions: excesses and abuses may be exposed and stopped in the glare of scrutiny.

True, Congress often abuses the power, using the stage to preen and strut, but it can also be very useful. And it cannot be blocked simply because it has been abused and might be abused again. The grandstanding hasn't obscured its successes in exposing unexplained wealth or money laundering.

It's also part of accountability, from the cop on the beat and his superiors to the president.

Within the law

The current rash of killings of criminal suspects, where law enforcers induced by reward of promotion and cash, tend to ignore rules of engagement. It follows the distorted yet popular view that crimes can be stopped with more crimes and the campaign against criminality justifies a bloodbath.

Let Congress and CHR do their job, Mr. President. That might even help you do yours without bending your oath of office.

(paseares@gmail.com)