Robin: Is the Constitution being abused to cover up criminal activities?

Robin: Is the Constitution being abused to cover up criminal activities?

MANILA — Sen. Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla raised this question Tuesday at the Senate hearing on the involvement of police personnel in the illegal drug trade, including their alleged attempts to cover their tracks.

Padilla said it is sad that while the Constitution’s provisions including the right to remain silent aim to protect the rights of the people, such a provision is being invoked to keep the truth from coming out.

“Kung ganitong magtatakipan, hindi ko po alam kung itong ating Konstitusyon ay binababoy na mismo nitong mga taong ito. Talaga bang ang ating kinabukasan ay napakasakit sabihin, pagka ang batas ba talaga ay may pinipili (If the Constitution’s provisions are used to cover up criminal activities, I don’t know anymore if the Constitution itself is being disrespected. It is painful to say this but are our laws rigged to favor a few)?” he asked.

“Napakasakit isipin na tayo ginagamit natin itong Constitution na sinasabi natin tayo mismo na nasa gobyerno ngayon, sasagutin tayo ng ating mga pulis, merong video sa harap natin sasabihin ng mga ito na di sila yan, sasabihin ng Napolcom sila yan, sasabihin ng DOJ due process. Saan po itong Constitution natin (It hurts all the more that those abusing the Constitution’s provisions are law enforcers who take advantage of our due process. What does this make of our Constitution)?” he added.

Under Art III, Section 12, “any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice.”

Padilla said he took up criminology because he idolized policemen, and even faced the music and went to jail after being found guilty by the courts because he trusted the justice system.

He said the police personnel linked to the drug trade should at least remember their oath and show some guts. “E kayo po na nandiyan sa serbisyo na kayo ay tumanggap ng oath, kayo tumanggap ng inyong pagsumpa, sana po ilabas nyo ang bayag ninyo diyan (You who took an oath to protect the people must now show your balls),” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Padilla said a harsh law that will strike fear in the hearts of offenders is needed to end the “overdose” of law enforcers and politicians’ involvement in the illegal drug trade – including those trying to cover their colleagues’ tracks.

“Yan po ang hakbang natin. Kasi na-overdose na tayo dito sa Senado laging sumasabit ay naka-uniporme at noong panahon ni dating Pangulong Duterte, sasabit ang narco politicians. Kailangan natin ng batas na maging maanghang at matapang at kinatatakutan. Nakalagay dito sa ating bill, basta armed, trained, sa law enforcement, kailangan po talaga ang death penalty (I filed the bill as a response to the overdose in the Senate of uniformed personnel and politicians involved in the drug trade. We need a law that is hard and fearsome on offenders. My bill seeks to impose the death penalty on those who are armed and trained in law enforcement and engage in the drug trade),” Padilla, who filed Senate Bill 2217, said in an online interview with Erwin Tulfo.

“Siguro kailangan talaga huwag puro sailta kasi puro salita na lang kami. May aksyon kami gawin na natin ito, ngayon na, kailan pa (Enough talk, we must act. If not now, when)?” he added, as he hopes the House of Representatives will come up with its version of the bill as well.

Under Padilla’s bill, any elective local or national official found to have benefited from the proceeds of drug trafficking or received financial or material contributions or donations from those found guilty of trafficking dangerous drugs shall suffer the penalty of death without prejudice to removal from office and perpetually disqualified from holding government positions.

But the death sentence shall not be inflicted upon a woman while pregnant or one year after delivery; or any person over 70 years of age.

In pushing for the death penalty, Padilla said current laws are too lenient on those involved in the drug trade, as they can merely invoke their right to remain silent.

“Masyado tayong mabait sa mga akusado, sobrang bait, hindi ko maintindihan (We are too lenient on the offenders – so lenient I cannot understand it),” he said.

On the other hand, Padilla said his bill’s inclusion of elective officials aims to address the lack of command responsibility especially if the law enforcers are trying to cover up for elected officials.

“Pag may sumabit sa baba dapat sabit ang nasa taas (If someone down the chain is held liable, so must those higher up the chain),” he said.

(ai/mtvn)

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