Friday, July 15, 2016

Judge cum peace advocate says IBP on 'wait-and-see mode' on use of iron hand vs drug menace
By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, July 14 (PNA) — A judge and peace advocate from Masbate, who attended Wednesday a National Police Commission (Napolcom) –organized regional consultation here on the police’s war against illegal drug, said lawyers in Bicol are on “wait-and-see mode” on the “iron hand” being implemented since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on June 30.

Judge Igmedio Camposano, executive judge of Masbate Municipal Circuit Trial Court and current chairman of the Masbate Advocates for Peace, cited during the consultation the “alarming trend” of 11 drug personalities killed since the new administration waged war against illegal drugs.

He said the trend “may have resulted from the new approach of President Duterte on how to curb the drug problem.”

Camposano added lawless elements “could take advantage of the pronouncements of the President for anyone or to any ordinary people to kill people and just tag them as a drug peddler.”

The Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) had told the Napolcom-sponsored forum, that included representatives of government agencies, military, local government units and nongovernment organizations, there have been 11 drug personalities killed and 88 arrested from July 1 to 12.

Bicol police also told the forum it had recorded 10,483 drug personalities-surrenderees in the region over the same period, which represented 10 percent of the total estimated number involved in the illegal drug trade, and the recovery of 321 plastic sachets of shabu (methampetamine hydrochloride), 16 firearms and three hand grenades.

In the Napolcom-organized forum, Judge Camposano cited that during the regional convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), which was held in this city last week, the “lawyers said they would just be “on wait-and-see mode.”

He said the lawyers wanted to see the situation unfold “if the iron hand is really being justified to stop the drug menace.”

“At mahirap on our part bilang abogado dahil alam namin kung ano ang dapat at di dapat and later on may impact ito sa amin…(It is difficult on our part as lawyers because we know what should be done and what should not be done (and we know) this will later on have an impact on us), said Camposano.

He said he is in favor of the proposed investigation in aid of legislation in the Senate to “clear the rules of engagement” of the authorities.

According to him it is “badly needed especially nowadays that there have been many killed in recent police operations.”

Camposano shared the observation of lawyers that the trend on the killings of suspects, who fight the police operatives, could be part of the police’s “eagerness” to have a good record in responding to the call of the new administration to stop the drug scourge.

“We are just wondering in the judiciary why all the slain suspects reportedly drew their handguns and attempted to shoot the police,” he said.

He added it is “alarming” on the part of the judiciary if the drug suspect would be acquitted for lack of evidence or technicalities in which case “members of the judiciary could be tagged as a protector or coddler.”

“Even in the police organization, many of them don’t know what to do because if they do not follow, they will also be accused as a drug protector.” (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD