Rule of law kuno Print
Monday, 03 September 2018 13:50

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

For ordinary citizens who are not lawyers, to understand the meaning of “the rule of law” we have to have this principle illustrated to us in cases that we hear about or read about and how these cases were worked out. We cannot internalize something that we barely understand.

Innocent until proven guilty- To my understanding I am given the benefit of the doubt – I am considered innocent- until it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that I am guilty. Then I get the punishment I deserve. So how do we explain all the people killed daily and reported so in the media that two or three “suspects” in drug dealing were gunned down and killed by the police? Since they are referred to as suspects it has not yet been proven beyond doubt that they are guilty. So how come they are killed?  Each time the explanation from the PNP is simple: nanlaban. Should we just read about cases like this and allow them to continue? How do cases like this strengthen our understanding of “rule of law”?

Non bailable offense- When the pork barrel/Napoles case hit the headlines 3 senators were prominently involved and the 3 were detained, no bail allowed. The detention facility was not in a 5-star hotel (as happened in Saudi Arabia for some of the princes) but certainly in quarters more comfortable than our usual jails. After some time, two of the senators were allowed to post bail and released from the detention facility. One was even given permission to travel to another country. What does “non bailable” mean then? Or is there another kind of English that we do not know about? I do not remember that English teachers in our schools and colleges went up in arms to ask about this.

Impeachment- Of the articles and provisions of our Constitution a number of us learned in civics classes that those who occupy certain positions in government can be removed from these positions only through the process of impeachment. Then we are informed that there is such a principle as “quo warranto” which can be invoked to remove an official from office which we thought could be done only through impeachment. Thus was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court removed from office this year.  We have just gone  through the process of finding a new Chief Justice and guess who has been selected for the position? You’re right – the same associate justice who  voted for the removal by quo warranto of the last Chief Justice. I should go back an enroll again in Civics 101.