HOST: KAREN DAVILA
KAREN DAVILA (KD): Joining us for Hot Copy this morning is Senator Chiz Escudero. Senator Chiz, thank you for coming to the show.
SENATOR CHIZ ESCUDERO (CHIZ): Hi Karen, good morning. And to all of our televiewers, good morning!
KD: Is there any reason to believe, on your end, that police officers aren’t telling us the whole story when it comes to Ozamiz raid?
CHIZ: We’re still waiting for the things to unfold, Karen. It only happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning, which begs the question, because under the rules of court, under the police manual of the Philippines National Police itself; as a general rule, search warrants should be served during day time. Unless there is an exception, unless the court or the judge issuing the warrant directs that it can be served during the day time or night time but always still subject to reasonableness – because the provision of our Constitution is quite clear, Karen. In fact, there is a separate provision on searches and seizure alone; to put a premium on how important this issue or this thing is. The Constitution in Article 3 in the Bill of Right, Section 2 provides: the right of the people to be secure in there persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizure of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be enviable and that no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to determine personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses may produce. Mahaba ‘yung provision. In particular Karen, describing the place can be searched, persons or things to be seized.
CHIZ: The Constitution puts a premium, in fact, including the procedure written in the Constitution itself.
KD: Because I think this is to remind the viewers who are following the story. The search warrant was served at 2:30 in the morning, Sunday.
CHIZ: In the most recent case of people versus Court of Appeals it’s a December 2000 case. The Supreme Court location to rule upon the reasonableness, the Constitution speaks unreasonable search and seizure. The reasonableness of serving a warrant in Paranaque City at 7:30PM. And the Supreme Court said it was reasonable because in urban centers, in the city people are usually still awake.
CHIZ: At 7:30 in the evening. This was is a separate case; it’s a totally different case to serve at 2:30 in the morning. Now, what’s the exemption? If the affidavit, if the witnesses, the judge interviewed says that the (inaudible).
KD: ‘May drugs dun’, sinabi ng witness.
CHIZ: Right then and there and there’s a possibility that it will be lost or taken away at any time. But according to the police, the house was under surveillance for quite a long time already. And number two, according to the police – I saw the interview – one of the policemen, as a rule they were serving search warrants at night daw. That one I do not understand because, again, their own manual says as a general rule, it should be served during the day time.
KD: OK, now Senator Chiz coming from the death of former Albuera, Leyte Mayor in jail, where a search warrant served also in the wee hours of the morning and you have police officers saying nanlaban, lumaban and it’s the same story here. They were in their home, the mayor, the wife, the board member, all of them dead plus twelve others and police say nanlaban lahat sila.
CHIZ: Will find out in the few days, Karen because I don’t think there were any casualties on the part of the Philippine National Police kung nanlaban. Probably a lot of them or too many of them for the security forces of the mayor and not to been able to put a fight but we’ll find out I guess in the next couple of days pag lumabas talaga ‘yung imbestigasyon at totoong status kasi populated yung lugar na iyon. Kilala ko ‘yung mayor na ‘yun, si Mayor Aldong. Populated ‘yung lugar nila; maraming bahay dun so may mga lalabas na kwento palagi at testigo kung ano talaga ang nangyari at paano nangyari iyon.
KD: OK, Vice Mayor Nova Parajinog, who is the daughter…
KD: The mayor who was killed.
CHIZ: Former mayor of Ozamiz.
KD: Also, the former mayor claims that police planted evidence against her.
CHIZ: Iyon ang hindi ko alam. Usual allegation naman siguro iyon.
KD: What can she do if it’s true?
CHIZ: If it’s planted, anything seized cannot be used against her in the court of law. Kaya lang sa kasong ito patay na, patay na ‘yung tatay niya, patay na ‘yung nanay niya, patay ‘yung uncle niya, ‘yung mga bodyguards nila. If at all, any investigations should look into of overkill or the possibility of adequate force was not used or overpowering forces instead was used in effect that search warrant. Ang nakakapagtaka lang pinangalanan na siya ni Pangulong Duterte bilang isa sa mga narcopoliticians; ba’t ka pa magtatago ng droga sa bahay mo? I mean, it’s out of the ordinary unless ganoon din kalakas ang loob. ‘Di ko alam.
KD: You have a good point; I was leading there so you have Aldong Parajinog in the list of Mayor Duterte, pinangalanan ka pa and may droga ka pa sa bahay mo.
CHIZ: Either too reckless, sobrang lakas ng loob o nilagay ‘yun doo – hindi ko alam.
KD: I’ll be direct, could this be police abuse? I mean after the Albuera situation, you have police now saying you know what we’re protected by the government. It’s an overnight wipe out of a political clan when you think about it. You have two Parojinog members dead, actually three, three Parojinog members dead and the daughter was the vice mayor arrested. It’s wiping out a political clan.
CHIZ: Yes, that would be the corollary effect, Karen. But I don’t think the intention is political. Kung may abuse man ‘yung pulis, hindi pa ako nakahandang sabihin ‘yon pero siguro dapat magpaliwanag pa at mag-esplika pa ang kapulisan kung ano nga ba ang nangyari, bakit nagkaganon? Hindi naman pwedeng we were met by a valley of fire and everyone is killed and nobody is killed in our side. They should I think be more detailed in their explanation in the next couple of hours or days.
KD: OK. Does this merit a Senate investigation?
CHIZ: I will not be surprised, Karen, if one of my colleagues will file a resolution to investigate what happened and given that both cases in the Albuera mayor and the Ozamiz City mayor, they were both suspected of having drug links. But that often by itself does not merit a death warrant. Search warrant siguro, oo. Arrest warrant siguro, oo, but not a death warrant.
KD: But Senator Chiz, are you hopeful of any kind of justice? Given the fact that look at the situation of Chief Supt. Marcos and company. The Senate committee report said it was murder, the NBI said it was murder, state prosecutors said it was murder. And then you have the DOJ downgrading it.
CHIZ: You have to understand, Karen, this will all be short-lived. I hope our police officers will not have short memories. ‘Yung dalawampung taon nga ni Marcos, natapos din. The term of the incumbent administration is only for 6 years, so whatever it is they’re enjoying right now, if they violate any of our existing laws, they would have to face it anyway after six years, in this case after five years. So, huwag sila masyadong mag-isip na protektado sila habambuhay. In the case of former President Marcos, his cronies, people under him thought it was never going to end but it actually ended after 20 years. This one, it is certain to end after 6 years.
KD: But do you believe there could be police impunity in this situation?
CHIZ: That’s what we’re trying to prevent in the Senate actually, and that’s we were afraid of from the beginning that if you give them so much confidence, impunity will result on the part of law enforcement officers. However, hindi ko lalahatin Karen. In fact, the officer involved here si Espenido, siya din ‘yung galing sa Leyte. So, hindi naman siguro lahat din. Itong si Espenido, siya din yung galing sa Leyte nung nangyari ‘yun sa Albuera mayor.
KD: Ni-raid niya ‘yun, no?
CHIZ: Ni-raid niya ‘yun.
KD: Ni-raid niya ‘yun; hindi naman namatay.
CHIZ: Oo, pero I mean hindi naman siguro lahat ng kapulisan ganoon, mahirap naman lahatin yung kapulisan natin nang-aabuso. May ilan siguro palagi, at ‘yun ang sanang pinapapanagot ng gobyerno. As I said in the case of Supt. Marcos, it was a wasted opportunity on the part of government. They could’ve showed to the people, to their critics, to the world that they were equally serious with respect to dealing with police abuse as they are with drug trafficking and drug pushing.
KD: Now, do you believe at this point because there are many mayors that were in the narco list of President Duterte. What does this say at this point following this raid?
CHIZ: Actually, pangatlong mayor na ang napapatay pa lamang ‘yan, Karen. The mayor of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, the Albuera mayor, and now the Ozamis mayor the third mayor in a year.
KD: In a year, ha? Tatlong mayor na ang patay.
CHIZ: In a year. It shows the seriousness of the administration and the member, I am sure President Duterte and Mayor Aldong knew each other. I mean they’re both in Mindanao, parehas silang kasama sa mga sigang mayor ‘yan noon. I’m sure they knew each other. In fact, in one of the speeches of the President, he admitted that he knew the mayor but that he was in the list. He called them out to surrender and to report to the police otherwise he will issue a warrant for his arrest through the courts.
KD: OK. Now, well President Duterte has criticized the Human Rights Watch, the European Union on supposedly extra judicial killings. I mean, honestly speaking Malacañang saying that international organization should not tell us how to run our business. There is an alarming sort of point of view in seeing this happen when you have a unilateral figure, if ever is proven it’s just says, ‘this goes even if it is against the law.?’
CHIZ: I don’t think he’s that meticulous and that nitty-gritty when it comes issuing orders against particular individuals.
KD: Meaning President Duterte?
CHIZ: Meaning President Duterte. I think he created that atmosphere and emboldening the Philippine National Police in so far as war against the illegal drugs is concerned. I am behind you. Iyon naman ang madalas niyang sinasabi. But to give specific orders against specific personalities, I’m not prepared to think that he would dared say that at this point in time.
KD: So, you don’t think that would go that far?
CHIZ: Giving specific order t to specific individuals? Well, he has a list and PNP has the list so it’s up for the PNP to implement whatever law enforcement measure they can against people on that list.
KD: OK, going back to Chief Superintendent Marcos, you have Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon saying he might be exonerated. Do you think that’s possible?
CHIZ: Exonerated by the courts? I don’t think he will really, Karen, but I think I preferred that as long as no double jeopardy so the proper criminal cases can still be file against him later on.
CHIZ: I would rather that than have him convicted to a lower offense be covered and ruled by the double jeopardy and not face anymore the more serious crime of murder when the time comes.
KD: Now, with three mayors dead within a year, what kind of signal does this send to other politicias in Durerte’s Narco List?
CHIZ: That they should be forewarned. I guess, it shows the seriousness of the administration of President Duterte in so far as his battle against drugs is concerned. Two of the three are from Mindanao, Karen.
CHIZ: And that is the reason of the President. So, I guess he is also showing and proving that even if he knows them, even if it’s in his area, he will not think twice either – although the President has not yet commented, so far, on this particular incident raid against the former Mayor of Ozamiz.
KD: Alright we are going to a quick break. When we return, will be discussing the 2018 National Budget and some parts that may suffer even if the budget has actually increased for 2018. Stay with us.
Back to Hot Copy, still with us Senator Chiz Escudero. Let’s talk about this, not so detailed but layman’s concerns about the budget. Budget Secretary Ben Diokno said that the Duterte administration was to right-size the bureaucracy. So you have government workers fearing that at least 20,000 government employees will lose their jobs and they want to abolish the PCGG. Agree or disagree?
CHIZ: I haven’t seen the right-size bill but Karen under the Revised Administrative Code, the president has the continuing authority to reorganize the government which includes the power to abolish or to create agencies of government. I do not know right-sizing but –
KD: Senator Chiz Escudero will react, I want to ask him a reporter asked essentially what you’ve said that search warrant should be given during office hours, during day time, and you have the PNP chief saying no there are no rules like that.
CHIZ: General Bato is mistaken, Karen, he’s wrong. The rules of court are very clear and the revised PNP Manual itself, which he should know about, is also clear. Search warrants should be served during day time, unless the court, the judge issuing the warrant specifically directs that it can be served during the day time or night time given certain circumstances. Ngayon magandang malaman ‘yung search warrant ba na ginamit ng mga pulis sa bahay ni Mayor Parojinog, nakalagay ba doon pwedeng gabi, pwedeng araw? Kasi kung walang nakalagay, day time lang talaga i-serve ‘yon. Pero ang kaso nun hiwalay doon sa patayan. Ang kasong ‘yon administrative siguro, ang kaso nun kriminal laban doon sa mga pulis na hindi sumunod sa rules nung search warrant. Iba ‘pag ‘yung kaso nung pagpatay kung nanlaban man o hindi yung mga nasa loob ng bahay.
KD: OK. And then you have the PNP now saying that they were met with a valley of fire coming from the private army of Mayor Parojinog.
CHIZ: That’s possible, Karen, but again that’s subject to evidence that must be proven by the PNP because the only time dehado ang mga pulis natin diyan. Kailangan putukan muna sila bago sila pumutok; hindi sila pwedeng unang pumutok. Ngayon kung may pruwebang pinutukan sila ng una, at binalikan lamang nila ng putok, tama ‘yung rules of engagement nila. Hindi sila pwede ang unang magpaputok sa anumang klase ng engkwentro. Dun dehado ang ating kapulisan at siguro doon tayo magsimpatiya sa kanila. Pero ‘yun ang pinagkaiba natin sa mga kriminal, yung mga kriminal walang pakundangan sa buhay. ‘Yung kapulisan akusado man o hindi, inosente man o bystander, dapat ‘yung pangangalaga niya ng buhay nandoon pa rin.
KD: Another reporter asked, if it was true that the CCTV cameras were supposedly taken off, removed before the shoot-out happened?
CHIZ: May balita na nag-brown out muna sa Ozamiz or baka pina-brown out nila ‘yung Ozamiz bago nag-conduct ng search warrant o ‘yung raid. Pero si General Dela Rosa mismo nagsabi, hindi tama na putulan o pinutalan ng CCTV. Kung magse-serve ka lamang ng search warrant dahil mas maganda pa nga ‘yon. Mayroong ebidensiya na tama ‘yung pag-serve ng warrant o sa kasong ito, may ebidensiya na pinaputukan sila ng una ng mga security forces ng dating Mayor.
KD: Does it bother you in any other way, Senator Chiz, Crame holds a press conference and the main topic at hand wasn’t even the Ozamiz killings? It was, I think, a robbery-extortion issue. Only reporters asked about it and then they answered.
CHIZ: Actually, inaasahan ko rin akala ko tungkol sa Ozamiz iyon. Pero, Karen to be fair, General Dela Rosa should have known that this will be brought up. Ano man ang sabihin niyang minor incident or malaking incident sa ibang parte ng Pilipinas. Palaging matatanong siya tungkol sa Ozamiz. At hindi naman talaga siya regular na nagko-conduct ng presscon ng Lunes ng umaga. So, siguro ginamit niya na lamang na behikulo iyon para makasagot na rin ng tanong tungkol sa Ozamiz ng hindi ipinaparada ng mayor iyong topic ng Ozamiz. Pero alam niya, alam ko. Tatanungin siya talaga doon.
KD: So, Senator Chiz as closing statement, what disturbs you or bothers you the most?
CHIZ: They see the nonchalant attitude of General Dela Rosa on this whole issue and his statement that it can be serve anytime of the day or any day of the week. Hindi po totoo iyon. Iyong sarili ninyo pong PNP manual ang nagsasabi po noon na hindi pwedeng gawin iyon maliban na lamang kung na direct specifically ng judge at nakasulat sa warrant iyon.
KD: Senator Chiz Escudero, I want to thank you and also apologize that we cut the interview short but definitely you’ll come back on the budget.