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IN THE PHILIPPINES, the end of Ferdinand Marcos’s 20-year dictatorship in 1986 was a tumultuous time. The new government of Corazon Aquino was being challenged on all fronts: from the Right, by ambitious military factions plotting coups; from the Left, by peasant guerrillas and angry protesters demanding radical reforms. In those days, I was working as a journalist in Manila, finally able to cover the country’s problems with corruption, crime, economic stagnation, and insurgency without fear of censors.

EXACTLY A YEAR AGO today, President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared the “liberation” of the Islamic City of Marawi City from the clutches of Islamist militants.

EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS — the term has gained currency as a major criticism of the war on drugs of the Duterte administration. The proof of the crime: bodies felled by unidentified killers or vigilantes, in the dead of night or in the light of day.

LAWYERS of the Philippine National Police-Legal Service used to sing a different song in regard to voluntary surrender and extra-judicial confession of suspects in crime. Their stern warning to policemen was: Respect the rights of the accused, know, follow the law.

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