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Peace and Justice for 2017!

Atty. Aurora A. Santiago
Duc in altum

 

Atty. Aurora SantiagoCongress went on Christmas recess, not able to discuss death penalty bill. With the Christmas spirit still imbibed byour legislators, we pray that they realize the value of life;the importance of restorative justice, not punitive justice.

Let us hope and pray that 2017 will bring peace and justice to everyone not only in the country but also around the world. We are one with President Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs because we know the evil that illegal substance abuse brings to the life of everyone—to the users and the pushers, to their respective families and friends.

The users are practically destroyed, both in mind and body. They cause the brokenness of their families and friends. To satisfy their need to use illegal drugs, drug dependents are forced to kill and steal, thus, causing devastation and unhappiness to their victims, their victims’ families and friends. Once the family is destroyed, the community is destroyed; once the community is destroyed, the country follows, then the world at large.

On the other hand, due to their greediness and lust for money and power, the pushers continue plying their trade, irrespective of whoever are their victims, young and old, men and women, husbands and wives.

In the war against illegal drugs, we must try to avoid collateral damage. We must respect the value of life. We must follow the basic law of the land, we must obey the Constitution. In short, we must observe due process of law.

When there is an act of committing a crime, or there is continuing act of committing the crime, the law enforcers can immediately arrest the offenders even without warrant of arrest. This is also the time when a citizen’s arrest could be done. However, if only on mere suspicion, the lawful authorities cannot implement an arrest; neither can they make searches. They need to obtain warrant from the court to arrest and/or search. The courts cannot issue such warrants without the Information filed or submitted by the Prosecutors (Fiscals). The Prosecutor cannot file the Information in court unless he had conducted preliminary investigations where both the victims and the respondents were given the opportunity to present their respective witnesses, evidence and position paper—this is the essence of due process, giving both parties the opportunity to present their case, to confront witnesses against them, to present their evidences.

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Extrajudicial killing is taking the life of a person without due process of law; killing a person under this circumstance is either murder or homicide. The arresting officers armed with warrant of arrest can do an arrest. If the offender resisted arrest and engage in shooting the arresting officer, the latter can fight back,it is the principle of self-preservation, of protecting oneself. The arresting officer, however, should only disable the assailant, unless in doing so would endanger his life. This is not extrajudicial killing.

Extrajudicial killing is committed when the victim is shot or stab to death. It is an act when offenders take the law into their own hands. We cannot accuse the police officers of committing extrajudicial killing unless there is proof that they did it indiscriminately without giving the victim the opportunity to surrender. Extrajudicial killing can also be committed by persons when they shoot at the victims and run away, like what the infamous riding-in-tandem were doing. It is incumbent on the part of the government to investigate these series of extrajudicial killings and death in the course of police operations, yes, it is a long and tedious process, but that is what due process is all about. Only then will the citizens be at peace and think that justice is being done.

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After 13 years of existence as a Diocese of Kalookan, the first general re-shuffle of parish assignments was implemented by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David. The term is for six years. The Parish Pastoral Council of San Ildefonso de Navotas, thanks Fr. Jerome Cruz and Fr. Syl Mutia for guiding us and being our shepherds for 14 years and 7 years, respectively. Fr. Jerome is now the Rector of San Roque Cathedral. We also welcome Fr. Amado “Bong” Gino, our new Parish Priest. Fr. Bong was formerly the Priest Administrator of San Pancracio Parish.

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The 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM) will be held in our country on January 16-20, 2017. It is an international gathering of Divine Mercy devotees and promoters like bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters and the laity. The Theme is “Communion in Mercy, Mission for Mercy (Called by Mercy, Sent for Mercy).”WACOM is convened every 3 years. WACOM was first was held at the Vatican, then in Krakow, Poland, then Bogota, Columbia.

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The movie “Across the Crescent Moon” is worth watching. It tells us that we are all one family of God and we are all Filipinos; it is about strengthening of family ties. We need to respect each other’s beliefs and faith and learn to co-exist in peace and harmony. It portrays settling the conflicts between Muslims and Christians. It is an action/drama film highlighting the rescue of human trafficking victims. Good to expose the horror of modern day slavery, another evil in society caused by the greediness of people engaged in the trade.

The movie is written, produced and directed by Baby Nebrida. The actors are Christopher de Leon, Matteo Guidicelli, Joem Bascon, Dina Bonnevie, Sandy Andolong, Gabby Concepcion, Alex Godinez, Leo Martinez, Rezz Cortez, Jackie Aquino and others. The first day of showing is on January 25, 2017. Let us not only be entertained, let us learn lessons from this movie.

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Congratulations to our Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David on his First Episcopal Installation Anniversary last January 2. A Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated and a simple brunch was served. We wish Happy Birthday to Msgr Alex Amandy, Fr. Adrian Magnait, Gigi de Lara, Jun Hio, Marlon Laquio, all from the Diocese of Kalookan.

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