Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fortify law and order to end political killings—Gordon

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today said that strengthening the country's law enforcement system is more effective, rather than putting up a reward system, in resolving the problem of extrajudicial killings.

Gordon's statement came following President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's call on lawmakers to use part of their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to help raise P25-million, which will be used to fund a reward system for informants who could foil political killings or lead to the arrest of masterminds.

"While efforts to address the culture of impunity are always welcome, such efforts should be well considered in order to be effective. The high incidence of extrajudicial killings in the country reflects the weakening of our law enforcement and prosecutorial institutions," he said.

Gordon, noting that the government already created Task Force Usig and the Melo Commission to put a stop to political killings, said that more than putting up a reward system, what the country needs is to fortify law and order.

He explained that the country's police force should be strengthened by having police investigators undergo advanced trainings in obtaining pieces of evidence and on the proper conduct of criminal investigations.

"Our police force should improve their criminal investigation techniques and use intelligence funds to identify organized crimes in the country, perpetrators of assassinations and gun-for-hire syndicates," Gordon said.

He added that putting up a reward system would give incentives to people who, often only by accident, present an opportunity to help in the prosecution of suspects but not in the prevention of crimes.

"Rewarding informants will affect only the percentage of crimes solved but will not automatically lead to a decrease in the incidence of crimes. The fund should instead be used to equip and train our police and military," Gordon said.

The senator also said that the government should be more cautious in the use of financial resources because the fund could be more useful for many other important and immediate needs of the citizens.

"We need to be judicious in allocating scarce government funds especially at this time of financial turmoil. P250,000 taken from the priority development assistance fund of every member of Congress may spell life and death for a constituent in need," he said. (30)

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