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Law enforcement

The sudden eagerness of law enforcement agencies and personnel to enforce national laws and local ordinances on drugs, crimes as well as on other peace and order matters (like curfew for minors) and the good results of the same reflect some interesting realities in our national life.

One is the reality that societal problems are not really caused by the lack of laws but by poor enforcement of existing laws. It can also be surmised that the degree of law enforcement is a function of the strength of the national leadership’s resolve to enforce the laws.

Even if some law enforcers deny that the strong political will image of President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte is the strongest force that pushes them to enforce the laws as they are doing now, the fact remains that they know that they will have to “shape up” if they do not want to be “shipped out.”

The cases of violations against the curfew ordinances particularly in Metro Manila also show at least two weaknesses in our governance system. As some violators claim that they are not aware of the curfew ordinance, there is really a serious concern about the communication between the government and the people. It is indeed time for our lawmakers to rethink the rule on the publication of laws in newspapers as a means of informing the people because it simply does not serve the intended purpose.

The people’s “respect” for the law, as manifested by their resolve to follow the same, is also a serious concern.

This problem can again be traced back to the effectiveness of law enforcement as people have the “natural” tendency to avoid an obligation if they know that they will not be apprehended or they know they can “buy” their way out of the apprehension.

We should be hopeful that the strict enforcement of laws/ordinances under the Duterte Administration will not a mere fad or “ningas kugon” performance because President-elect Duterte has effectively institutionalized the same in Davao City.

We should also be hopeful that the strong political will of our new President will propel a culture of performance not only in our country’s law enforcement agencies but also in all agencies of three branches of our government.

We should be hopeful that indeed, change is coming. (Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)