Guevarra assures rule law intact amid ongoing drug war

By Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has assured the rule of law remains in the government’s ongoing drug war.

Guevarra made the statement in response to the accusation of opposition senatorial candidate Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno who claimed that the rule of law has eroded under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra announces during a press briefing in Malacañang that the matter concerning the closure of the resorts in Boracay is currently one of the top priorities that are being discussed by the cabinet citing that it would not only concern the environmental aspect of the issue but the economic impact as well. (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The negativist statement fails to give any credit to what our legal and judicial system has accomplished, and is quite surprising to hear from a law dean like him,” Guevarra said about Diokno who was also law dean of De La Salle University (DLSU).

Guevarra reminded three policemen got convicted for the killing of Grade 11 student Kian delos Santos during an anti-illegal drugs operations in Caloocan City in 2017.

November last year, Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. of the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 125 issued a decision which found guilty for the crime of murder PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda, and PO1 Jerwin Cruz.

Because of this, the magistrate sentenced the three to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years imprisonment without parole.

Guevarra had previously said the conviction of the three policemen “debunks the myth that there is a culture of impunity in the government’s war against drugs.”

“The conviction serves as a warning to our law enforcers that in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, the rule of law and due process must always be observed,” he had said.

Recently, Diokno sought the international community’s attention over the country’s eroding justice system because of the ongoing war against illegal drugs.

“It’s a brazen attempt to supplant justice from our courts with justice from the barrels of guns,” Diokno said.

“And my biggest fear is not just the killings, but the fact that the legal system itself is eroding and that we have no more rule of law to speak of,” he added.