Friday, September 04, 2015

44.Just your luck, punk

In the news recently is a report that Mayor Duterte allegedly gave a violator of Davao City's smoking ban a choice: get the violator's penis shot with a .38 caliber revolver,  get imprisoned, or eat the cigarette butt. The Mayor's press people have denied parts of the report but the reporter stands by his story. What I am concerned about, however, is that Rappler's mood index for this story generated a result that people are happy about it. While it is possible that this mood index rating is being manipulated, still I have a feeling that this may be the sentiment, especially among non-smokers and the fans of the Duterte saga. The pre-text of the story is Duterte's alleged reputation as a stern implementor of the law. But I can hardly say that what he did was legal. Assuming the facts in the news story are correct, Durterte is actually liable for Grave Coercion. Under the Article 286 of the Revised Penal Code, the following are the elements of Grave Coercion: (1) that a person is prevented by another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compelled to do something against his will, be it right or wrong; (2) that the prevention or compulsion is effected by violence, threats, or intimidation; (3) that the person who restrains the will and liberty of another has no right to do so, or in other words, that the restraint is not made under authority of law or in the exercise of any lawful right. In this case, forcing the violator to eat the cigarette butt or get his crotch shot or face arrest most certainly fulfills elements 1, 2, and 3, unless the Mayor, who used to be a prosecutor, can find the law that says forcing a smoker to eat his cigarette butt is legal. Indeed, the mindless glamor that people give the Mayor's antics is getting out of hand. I can imagine that as people read the news story, they were envisioning Mayor Duterte as Clint Eastwood acting as Dirty Harry pointing the gun at the violator's crotch and saying the immortal words, "Do you feel lucky, punk?" Wake up everyone. Dirty Harry is dirty. Clint Eastwod is old. This is not a movie. And that cigarette butt stunt was Grave Coercion. 

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