Mercy and Truth are Met Together, Righteousness and Peace Have Kissed Each Other, object 1 (Butlin 463)is the goal of German courts (link), to THEN pass their judgement. Filipino courts often seem to be an annoying forum for sophistry and game-playing that favors the well-connected. President Duterte, a fomer prosecutor whose frustration with what is considered “due process” in the Philippines I partly understand, has produced a list of names of mayors, judges and more who he SAYS are involved in drugs – even admitting that he does not know if it is true or not. German prosecutors offices cannot be TROed, unlike the Ombudsman in the Junjun Binay case, BUT they have to find both proof of guilt and exonerating circumstances before going to court (link). Courts have to deal with cases as swiftly as possible, which is the right way to do things.

As a child I always thought that prosecutor and persecutor sound so similar. It comes with the job I guess. There is a movie where Alain Delon plays a fugitive hiding out in a countryside house. The French prosecutor has the full force of the police come down on him. He even says, against the protestations of someone, that “all men are criminals”. Just like a good policeman may be a man with the instincts of a Jago – see previous article – a top prosecutor may indeed be a man with the instincts of Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada. Checks on power save both from their worst sides while making use of their good sides. The greatest strength of a person always contains his greatest weakness, which is why one man alone never is the solution.

Senator and former Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima has criticized Duterte’s naming and shaming, saying that due process should be applied, cases should be filed in court. For all the good work Senator de Lima has done, she may have been a bit in a state of denial as to the real state of things in her own shop – the old mismatch between theory and practice in the Philippines. This mismatch does make it easy for those who paint mainly the bad sides, as Duterte does, to tap the anger of those who feel ignored. She did have the opportunity to fix a lot of things, but it seems she did not fix justice and the penal systems enough. I know the Philippines well enough to know that lower- and mid-level people often tell higher levels what they want to hear, fix up things when they come to inspect and then go on the old way after that.

Clogged and nearly medieval prisons are an old issue in the Philippines. A justice system that takes way too long to render justice is another issue. While the really poor languish in crowded jails like Quezon City jail – recent reports mention a man who has been in there since 2001 – it seems that some drug lords had privileges, while politicians have better cells than the average prisoner. The prisoner who has had hearings just once a year since 2001, mentioned everywhere internationally, has already done the duration of what is called a life sentence here in Germany.

Recent comments on the Facebook page of this blog (link) with respect to some of the mayors mentioned show that there is no modern attitude to finding the truth yet among many Filipinos. “Everybody knows that he is a drug lord” or “here are pictures of him with a known drug lord” are not proof, except in societies where alleged whores were stoned and witches burned on stake. Cellphone tracing and real-time tracking of movements of money are some modern methods to track big-time criminals. Real police work. Real prosecution and real justice come after that.

But I guess President Duterte and PNP Chief de la Rosa know things top-flight people from the FBI, the German police, prosecution and justice system and everywhere else don’t. Guess that the Filipino public just knows things, just like everybody in a small barangay “knows” who is doing what. Like some witnesses in Munich saw two more shooters on July 22 when there was only one.

It turned out later it was two plainclothesmen. What if the cops here had knocked down every door of every Oriental-looking person? But they just locked down the city and looked for the truth.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 7 August 2016