Bzzzzz: No-legal-basis arrest of vape users; cauldron name ‘insults’ God

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[1] ‘KALDERO NG DIYOS.” The cauldron, to be used in the torch-lighting ceremony during the opening of the Southeast Asian Games, has set off a firestorm. President Rodrigo Duterte defends the spending, saying the high cost is because its designer was a national artist, Francisco “Bobby” Manosa. The total amount for the cauldron is P50 million or US$985,000 although some news reports place the tab at P55 million.

The tag “Kaldero ng Diyos” was reportedly used in social media, a name that desecrates His name, a priest said, because God wouldn’t be associated with such extravagance.

No corruption, said President Dutertete, having presumably taken a whiff of the deal and smelled nothing foul.

[2] CEBU CITY’S NIGHT MARKET. Vice Mayor Mike Rama wants the night market resumed but apparently cannot tell Mayor Edgar Labella directly. He said that perhaps they can remind the mayor “in one of our gatherings with him,” in effect calling the help of Barug councilors.

Not even an E.O.

POLICE have been arresting vape users across the country and will continue to do so on order of President Duterte.

PNP OIC chief Lieutenant General Gamboa admitted they will have no case to file against those arrested as there is no law punishing possession or use of electronic cigarets. Not even an executive order, which doubtfully can substitute an act of Congress. During martial law, the president rules by executive orders and presidential decrees. The country is not under martial law, not yet anyway.

Gamboa, “a licensed lawyer,” said the arrest is just to implement the order of the president, issued orally last Tuesday (Nov. 19). “Under the police powers of the state, you can do that.” he explained.

The police will not detain those arrested, police said. Names of arrested persons will be recorded on police blotter and then they will be released. Isn’t that an admission that the arrest has no legal authority, not even under the so-called police power of the state, under which is clearly defined the criminal justice system works.

Not a punishment?

A POLICE official was earlier quoted as having said that an arrest is “not a punishment,” so it is all right. Is that what law schools teach? An unlawful arrest is punishable criminally and civilly; the police officer who commits an unlawful arrest is subject to prosecution administratively and in the courts. An arrest is not a punishment? It infringes on individual freedom, no matter how brief.

The question is whether an order of the president, even made verbally, can be the basis of an arrest.

But with no individual or group going to court over the issue or publicly challenging the order, the issue may not be resolved soon. And the arrests without legal basis will go on.

Tell the public legal basis

WHILE police scramble to explain the legality of the arrests, Malacañang, the source of the problem, has not bothered to come up with the legal basis for the police action.

The legal bright boys of chief presidential counsel Salvador Panelo must have something to prop up the legality of the order. The police power doctrine won’t do. How about the lawyers in the country’s best law schools, some of which are in Cebu? What do they think? Or should the nation not bother about legality anymore?

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