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Ex-Chief Justice says Duterte gov’t on track

21 August 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

President Rodrigo Duterte is in the right direction in running the government and Filipinos should wait for results of investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings, according to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

The retired chief magistrate also said Duterte’s anti-corruption drive is on track, with even some of his appointees in government becoming casualties in the campaign

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno (left) presides over the induction of Knights of Rizal China Chapter at the Consulate.
Puno was in Hong Kong over the weekend to induct the new members of the Knights of Rizal China Chapter at the Consulate. “Well, it’s just one year and I would like to think that (the President) is in the right direction and that is evidenced by the overwhelming support of the people,” said Puno, who was appointed as the country’s 22nd chief justice by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in December 2006.

“The government has taken the position that there (is) no such policy of extrajudicial killing, and these allegations of extrajudicial killings are under investigation by the police agencies and by the human rights commission,” Puno said.

He suggested that “perhaps we should await the official results of these investigations” to also find out if there is truth to the criticism that the anti-drug campaign has so far targeted only the minnows and not the big fishes in the illicit trade.

Media reports say that up to 16,000 mostly poor people have fallen victim to EJK. However, government officials like Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano claim the figure is less than 3,000 people killed in police operations presumed to be legitimate and properly investigated.

Puno said Duterte will certainly push a shift to a federal system of government.

“This is one of his campaign promises, and so, he keeps on emphasizing we will have no peace in Mindanao unless we see a shift in our system from unitary to federal,” he said.

He noted progress in this regard, with the Institute of Federalism recently coming up with a draft of the proposed new Constitution and the University of the Philippines Law Center wrapping up consultations on the matter.

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