Sal Panelo speaks

The usual incorrigible critics and detractors of PRRD have found another arsenal within which to put the President in a bad light. They are using a portion of his speech delivered in Filipino: “Ang kasalanan ko lang iyong extra-judicial killing,” as an admission by him being behind the EJKs. The statement must be viewed in relation to his on-going relentless war against the drug menace.

In his first SONA speech, he declared that there would be hell to pay against those who abuse their authority because they become worse than criminality itself. It must be viewed in the context of his governance as well. What he meant when he made that utterance was that from day one of his presidency he could not be accused of corruption.

Nor could he be blamed for persecuting anyone or putting anybody to jail. He has nothing to do with few of his critics being placed in jail or facing the brunt of the law.

That happenstance properly belongs to another branch of the government which he does not have control of nor is he inclined to influence. Interference with a co-equal body is simply out of his character.

It is only the baseless allegation of him being behind the extra-judicial killings that appears to tar his governance. That was what he meant when he made the aforesaid statement, the meaning of which is now, as always, being twisted by the perennial nit pickers of his uncommon lingua franca.

Obviously, the President being a Visayan is not adept at expressing himself in Filipino.

The President will not stop at continuing his war against illegal drugs, a duty imposed on him by the Constitution. Extra-judicial killings are the result of members of the drug syndicates killing each other due to fraud in their dealings as well as a means of protecting and avenging themselves from whistle blowers.

The fact that policemen are killed in anti-drug operations shows that the drug lords and pushers use violence in resisting arrest as well as putting the lives of the arresting officers in peril; hence, their application of lawful self-defense.

The success and effectiveness of the anti-drug campaign is validated by the overwhelming approval and satisfaction of the citizenry as reflected by the latest SWS survey. Rather than maliciously and continuously paint the dismantling of the drug apparatus as a crime against humanity, the purveyors of the status quo should instead view it as a forceful legal method of saving a generation from drug addiction and ruin.

For once in their lives, they should contribute to its triumph by assisting the government in its fight against the destroyers of society, for they may well be saving themselves and their families from the scourge of illegal drugs.

Salvador S. Panelo Chief Presidential Legal Counsel

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