The drug war and EJK

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion -

T here is no such thing as ex­tra­ju­di­cial killing or EJK in the PNP’s drug war. I mean, not in Ca­gayan de Oro City, not in Misamis Ori­en­tal, not any­where in North­ern Min­danao. Af­ter heaps of sto­ries, in­quiries, de­bates and dis­sent­ing opin­ions about EJK, the state­ment above, I’m sure, will draw flak and mixed re­ac­tions; more so, that it’s com­ing from a mem­ber of a law en­force­ment agency. Such re­sponse, at any rate, is a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment. I rel­ish the thought and am ex­tremely hon­ored and happy that it did get responses; for it or against it. Whether the state­ment gets count­less frown­ing faces rather than smi­ley, it nev­er­the­less means that peo­ple are read­ing.

The ac­tual chal­lenge in writ­ing is com­ing up with rel­e­vant ar­ti­cle that is wor­thy of the read­ers time.

Ac­cord­ing to this pa­per’s ed­i­tor, Chief Churchill (I call him that): “in­ject your opin­ion, not just PR” and so, here it is. For starter, I am writ­ing about the much talked about EJK and as I have said ear­lier, there is no such thing as ex­tra­ju­di­cial killing or EJK and I will tell you, with all due re­spect to those who dis­agree, why.

To be­gin with, the New Ox­ford Amer­i­can Dic­tio­nary de­fine “Ju­di­cial” as: (ad­jec­tive) of, by, or ap­pro­pri­ate to a court or judge (us­age) a ju­di­cial ad­mis­sion, which means ad­mis­sion made in an open court. Con­se­quently, ex­tra­ju­di­cial is de­fined as not legally au­tho­rized or out of court’s le­gal au­thor­ity (us­age) ex­tra­ju­di­cial ad­mis­sion, which means out of court ad­mis­sion. Hence, when we say ex­tra­ju­di­cial killing, we re­fer to killing with­out ju­di­cial au­thor­ity or killing with­out the court’s per­mis­sion. The ques­tion now is: Is there killing “with ju­di­cial au­thor­ity” or “court’s per­mis­sion?” The an­swer is: Yes! Be­fore Repub­lic Act 9346, the law that pro­hibits death penalty in the Philip­pines, there is such a thing as killing “with ju­di­cial au­thor­ity” or “court per­mis­sion.” What­ever le­gal euphemism it is called; some­times it is re­ferred to as cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment or death sen­tence to make it sound less ob­nox­ious, but it is still killing; a form of state-sanc­tioned killing at that. Thank God for RA 9346, death penalty was out­lawed and stopped.

Now, go­ing back to the state­ment that EJK does not ex­ist. The first EJK-ish ques­tion is: How can we ac­count for the growing num­ber of drug-re­lated deaths ex­e­cuted vig­i­lante-style? Aren’t they EJK? When high pro­file drug per­son­al­i­ties, like that of Odicta, are gunned down, not dur­ing le­git­i­mate po­lice op­er­a­tions, but by al­leged vig­i­lantes, do we not con­sider it EJK? The an­swer to all those ques­tions above is NO! Since the pas­sage of the land­mark leg­is­la­tion pro­hibit­ing death penalty, there has been no killing au­tho­rized by law. There­fore it follows that af­ter the pas­sage of the law, all type of de­lib­er­ate and un­jus­ti­fied killing is mur­der. Those vig­i­lante-style killing are def­i­nitely not EJK. When a per­son, whether in­volved with il­le­gal drugs or not, is de­lib­er­ately and un­jus­ti­fi­ably killed, it is noth­ing but mur­der. There­fore, the death of drug per­son­al­i­ties is ei­ther “killed dur­ing le­git­i­mate po­lice op­er­a­tion” or mur­der. Don’t call it EJK, there’s no such thing.

If I may bor­row the words from Caloocan RTC Branch 125 Judge Rodolfo Azu­cena Jr., the judge who handed the guilty ver­dict to the 3 po­lice­men in con­nec­tion with Kian De­los San­tos’ death, “mur­der is never a func­tion of law en­force­ment.” I couldn’t agree more; not with the de­ci­sion to con­vict the 3 po­lice­men, but with his jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for his de­ci­sion. In­deed, it has never been a pol­icy of the PNP to use vi­o­lence in the per­for­mance of its man­date. The PNP has not, is not and will not en­cour­age nor tol­er­ate the use of ex­tra­ju­di­cial means to win the drug war.

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