By Mon Casiple | April 16, 2009
It is amazing to view the Quezon City Police Department, the Justice Department, and specific police officials acting like the old martial law bullies in the handling of the Trinidad Etong case. The late Ms. Etong is the wife of well-known media personality Ted Failon who died today. She died from a gunshot wound to her temple, self-inflicted in a suicide, according to her housemates.
The police so far are not buying the story. So they arrested without any warrant the four housemates and also put Failon under their custody, basically accusing them (at this time) of “obstruction of justice.” In the process, they violated a whole series of human rights enshrined in the constitution. These include violating the rights of due process, the right to be informed of the charges against them, the right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the right to privacy, and the right to a lawyer.
The behavior the police showed before the cameras is the behavior of the police during the martial law period when the military and police are king as minions of the dictator. Whatever moral (and possibly legal) high ground they have are lost in the reprehensible conduct.
The act of the justice department in placing Failon under an immigration watchlist (again without a case yet) on Failon is in the same vein. The question has to be asked: Is the GMA administration’s penchant for short-cutting of legal processes and the constitution extends now to toleration of fascist police practices? If so, then the police confidence in its own power relates to the GMA administration’s own readiness to break the democratic limits.
Vigilance by all democrats is called for. The Marcos ghost is still with us.