Guilty verdict on 4 Caloocan Police, a proof vs ICC—Atty. Panelo

Guilty verdict on 4 Caloocan Police, a proof vs ICC—Atty. Panelo

FOR former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo, the judgment of the Caloocan Regional Trial Court on the four police officers who were proven guilty of homicide in a buy-bust operation during the Duterte administration’s war on drugs is a big development.

“You know, this conviction is a big deal,” according to Atty. Salvador ‘Sal’ Panelo, Former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

Earlier this week, 4 police officers from Caloocan City were proven guilty of homicide by the Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 121.

These are Police Master Sgt. Virgilio Cervantes and three corporals who are Arnel de Guzman, Johnston Alacre, and Artemio Saguros Jr.

The four were involved in the death of Luis Bonifacio and his son Gabriel Lois in September 2016 after the authorities conducted a buy-bust operation at their home.

According to court records, there were violations of the law in the said operation that was conducted.

Luis Bonifacio and Gabriel Lois died during the first year of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term.

The four police officers were each given a prison sentence of 6-10 years and were also ordered to pay ₱400,000 each in damages to the victims’ families.

This marks the fourth conviction by the court out of all the deaths in the war on drugs campaign during the previous administration – something which the ICC cannot wait to investigate.

For former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo, the court decision’s on the Bonifacio case is a significant and strong proof that the Philippines’ judicial system is properly functioning.

“You know, this conviction is a big deal because it shows what we have been saying for a long time, because this ICC wants to enter in the Philippines – it’s accusing us. And we have been saying before that it can only enter, firstly, if we are a member. Secondly, we are no longer a member. And even if we were a member, the ICC can only enter if our courts are doing nothing in the criminal cases relating to violations of human rights. Here, we see, this is the fourth conviction. This means that our judicial system is healthy.”

“There are convictions – four. Imagine? So, how can they say that we are not doing our obligation to our countrymen when it comes to that?” said Atty. Salvador ‘Sal’ Panelo, Former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

To recall, former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said in his first State of the Nation Address in July 2016 that he would give his full support to the police but strongly warned against abusing authority.

“To our police officers and other officials, do your job and you will have the unwavering support of the Office of the President. [applause] I will be with you all the way. Abuse your authority, and there will be a hell to pay, [applause] for you will have become worse than criminality itself,” according to Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Former President, Republic of the Philippines, July 25, 2016.

“That shows that he does not tolerate [it] because if he tolerates it – what these four [police officers] did – then he would have defended them. He didn’t. He allowed the cases to be filed and they were eventually convicted,” said Panelo.

 

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