MANILA - Centerlaw, a non-government organization promoting the rule of law, expressed alarm over President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's statement that he is leaving the fate of a captured police chief in the hands of the New People's Army (NPA).
In a statement released Monday, Centerlaw said it is ironic that Duterte refers to NPA's justice system as "kangaroo courts," yet he leaves the fate of General Generoso, Davao Oriental police Chief Inspector Arnold Ongachen in their hands.
"It is doubly ironic that Mr. Duterte himself refers to the NPA’s justice system as 'kangaroo courts,' because that is exactly what they are – tribunals that make a mockery of even just a modicum of justice," the group said.
The group also believes Duterte should know about Republic Act 9184, the International Humanitarian Law Act, which considers executions without judgement as a war crime.
For Centerlaw, Duterte is bound to ensure the rights of all Filipinos once he takes his oath of office as president.
"Once he takes his oath of office, Mr. Duterte is legally bound to ensure that every one within the Philippine sovereignty is accorded due process of law," the group said.
The group added that Duterte's plan to pursue peace process with the Communist party should not be done at the expense of people's rights.
"We applaud Mr. Duterte’s intended policy to pursue the peace process with the CPP/NPA/NDF to its logical conclusion. That, however, should not be done at the expense of the rights to fair trial of everyone," the group said.
Last week, Duterte said he would not negotiate for the release of Ongachen, who was accused by the NPA of being involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Duterte also said he would leave the fate of Ongachen to the NPA.
"You have a kangaroo court there, you try him and sentence him to 20 years of hard labor," Duterte said. "I’m sorry for that guy. I leave his fate to the NPAs."