Atty. Rivera explains why there is “no debate on extra-judicial killings; idiotic to actually think there is a debate”

The byword these days is ‘extra-judicial killing’ in the wake of the rise of deaths of drug pushers who decided to shoot it with arresting policemen.

But somehow, some netizens are getting confused what really constitutes ‘extra-judicial killing’ and what is not.

Despair no more my friends, help is on the way!

In a Facebook post, Atty. Bruce Rivera explains in a simple and clear terms the definition of ‘extra-judicial killing’ and some more words for your enlightenment.

Please read the full text of Atty. Rivera’s post below.


I remember a friend of mine wanting to engage me on a debate on the idiocy of extra-judicial killings and I declined. There is no debate. All lawyers are in agreement that it is idiotic to actually think there is a debate. It is illegal by any standards. In fact, many religions even believe that judicial killings are cruel because they believe in restorative justice and shun retribution as the basis for criminal punishment. So when a court will convict a person for drug trafficking and impose the death penalty (not applicable in our jurisdiction at present), it is considered judicial execution that is legal if we reinstate the death penalty law. Hence, the last execution we witnessed was Leo Echegaray and even the most heinous criminal will not merit a death penalty in our country.

So, when you say extra-judicial killing, we are talking here of murder or homicide because only the court can impose death as a penalty that which it is not allowed to do that at present. However, not all killings are murder or homicide and as such, criminal. There is such a thing as self-defense and death by exceptional circumstances Art. 247 allowed by the Revised Penal Code. If a husband/wife discovers their spouse in the act of copulation (actual sexual act) with another person, he or she can kill them and receive a penalty of destierro or banishment.

Self-defense is more complicated. It includes defense of family or strangers which will justify a father killing the rapist of his daughter when catches him in the act or a person who kills someone because a crime was presently being committed towards another person.

And self-defense has three requisites to make it valid. Unlawful aggression, reasonable means and lack of sufficient provocation. A person committing a heinous crime is someone being unlawfully aggressive. Reasonable means pertain to the act of killing as a reasonable outcome. So when you kill a criminal running towards you na nipper lang ang weapon tapos binaril mo, hindi self-defense yan. Hindi din pwede na hinamon mo nga patayan at nung pinatulan ka ay napatay mo kasi may provocation yun.

Which now begs the question. May isang drug pusher na nung hinuli na ng isang pulis ay biglang tumakbo palayo. Pag binaril ng pulis, bawal yun. Yun ang sinasabing extrajudicial. Mali kung hindi pulis ang bumaril lalo kung hindi rehistrado ang baril except kung nilooban na siya nung tao sa bahay niya. Pero what if, bumabaril ang pusher habang tumatakbo at nabaril nung pulis, pwede yun. Justified po yan. Isang tao na may permit to carry nakabaril ng tao sa loob ng bahay niya kasi pinasukan siya, justified po yan.

Paano kung binaril mo yung tao using illegal firearms. Kahit ano pa ang kasalanan niyan, mahirap ijustify as self-defense yan. Which now is the reason why the spate of killings cannot be deemed a result of legit police work. Why? If it is a result of police work, the bullets would have been registered to its police owner. And if it is, there are ways to determine if said police officer is involved in an operation. If the police is using illegal firearms, that is clearly a suspicious matter.

At the end of day, deaths which are extrajudicial in character are wrong. If this is done by the police can be easily determined if done in the course of his duty. Problem is, there is no evidence that tells us that fact. Because the reality is, the recent killings are perpetuated by the criminals or the criminals who are in the police. And every death is in the news as it should be. So we feel it more.

But I feel better knowing that criminals are as afraid as ordinary law abiding Filipinos when they go out of their comfort zones.

Feel free to post your comment below.

Credits to Atty. Bruce Rivera

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