Commentary

Gen. Bato defending the indefensible

From my notes in Criminal Law 1:

“The mistake must be without fault or carelessness on the part of the accused, otherwise the fault or carelessness would be the culpa which would substitute for the criminal intent (dolo). In People v. De Fernando, 49 Phil. 75, the accused, a policeman, was informed that three convicts had escaped. He saw a person going up the stairs of a house, carrying a bolo and calling for someone inside. The accused fired a shot in the air, but the man continued climbing up the stairs, so he fired straight at the man, killing him. The Supreme Court held that the accused is guilty of homicide through reckless imprudence. That the victim called for someone in the house indicates that he was known to the owner of the house. As the daughter of the owner of the house was with the accused, he should have inquired from her who the man was.”

My goodness, I would have failed Gen. Dela Rosa in our Criminal Law Justice 1 class had he been my student.

I don’t personally believe that Gen. Dela Rosa is dumb. He has just a very big problem of defending the indefensible. Whether my friends in the PNP would agree with me or not (and some of them do agree with me, but would only tell me their agreement in person, because of the esprit de corps in the PNP), the organization is facing a crisis of monumental proportion: the culture of respect for human rights, meticulously developed by the organization through the years after 1990 and expressed primarily through the observance of the rules of engagement, has been shocked to its foundations, with the Chief Law Enforcer (that’s Pres. Duterte, not Gen. Dela Rosa) being a man who would not hesitate projecting to new police recruits that it is ok to make it appear that the suspect tried to fight it out which is why the suspect is now dead.

In fairness to Gen. Dela Rosa, he was not the first person of his stature who had to defend the indefensible and met head-on the concepts of dolo and culpa in Philippine law and jurisprudence, concepts which most Filipinos do not understand or care for anyway. During Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial, Presiding Officer Sen. Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile asked CJ Corona’s counsel, former Supreme Court Justice and Justice Secretary Serafin Cuevas, one of the brightest legal minds this country had ever produced, if CJ Corona cannot be convicted should the prosecutors be unable to prove malice (dolo). I think it was at that moment that Justice Cuevas realized he has lost the case: his client would be convicted through culpa. He kept his dignity and chose not to answer.

Meanwhile, we have Gen. Dela Rosa who blurts things out in order to minimize the impact of the Mandaluyong shooting incident on the image of the PNP. In the process he not only pushed the PNP’s image lower, he also added to the indignity he had already created for himself and the office of the Chief PNP by being more of a mascot than the topmost crime fighter. He is now exposed not only as non-serious, but as unthinking as well. He should have done a Cuevas, and shut up.

Gen. Bato on the actions of the 10 Mandaluyong policemen involved in the deadly Dec. 28 shooting incident: Mabuti na ‘yung tanga na may malinis na kalooban kaysa ‘yung marunong pero may masamang intensyon.

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