Monday, August 31, 2015

Filipinos Distrust the Justice System

With the influx of news regarding the INC movement calling for the separation of church and state, I can't help that one of the key issues here is being ignored; we don't trust the justice process here in our country. I can understand the calls of our INC brothers and sisters. Though, I don't see the rallies being caused by the violation of the constitution. I see it more of a fear of having the stability of one's religious institution in the hands of an ineffective judiciary. They may say it's the former that forced them to rally. But if you look at one of their statements, it's more because they think the DOJ is not doing its job properly since their prioritization is all out of wack.

This is just one example of our distrust of the due process here in the Philippines. A few weeks ago, 4 men suspected of raping a Maranaw girl in Marawi City were apparently killed after being released. They were released because there were no complainants. The killings of the suspects were done with consent from their respective families to avoid a family feud. This shows a complete lack of trust of the judicial practice from the victim's side. But you may say it is more about their culture than a distrust of the system we have in place. But further evidence of our distrust can be seen in the comments section of the reports pertaining to it.

They can't all be Maranaws, right?

But can you really blame our countrymen for having little faith in the system we have in place?

I mean, take into account several high profile cases that have been swept under the rug. Andal Ampatuan died even before being convicted/proven innocent. And this is after the president himself promised the case will be looked at with great interest and that the case will be resolved before he steps down. We have the Vizconde Massacre case that led to nowhere. Marlon Villanueva's case finally yielded a decision after 10 years. And of course, the extrajudicial killings/abductions that are still prevalent with Jonas Burgos' story at the forefront.

And I barely researched these. I just looked for proper links so you can check them out for yourself. I just remembered them at the top of my head. And for a guy like me who never attended law school to blurt out these deficiencies, it shows that these are normal occurrences. Atrocities are being carried out and the system seems to be unable to keep up.

The distrust and the hesitation to go through the process may be justified. And this should serve as a wake up call to our leaders. We need to revamp our system of justice. I don't just mean the judiciary. Police investigations also need to be looked at. I mean, how can you file a drunk driving case if you don't have the breathalyzers with you?

I was in college when Noynoy promised that the Maguinadanao case will get a resolution by his term's end. Back then I thought that the impeachment of Corona and the installment of new Ombudsman would improve things. I subscribed to the idea that changing the people would prove we have great laws and regulations in place and the system would be proven to be adequate. Fast-forward five years and it feels like we're still in the same place we have always been. The names just changed.

In 2016, Noynoy's term will end. And with it, we elect a new leader. We are eager to watch debates and the news. It's crazy how some people rave about a guy who admitted he is connected to a vigilante group. It's further proof of how we detest the justice system. But I digress. Hopefully, the process of placing new names in elected offices isn't the only process we concern ourselves with.

Ask yourselves this: How can we be comfortable with a system that allows a rich old man to post bail on a non-bailable case while a poor illiterate suspect rotted in jail for falsification of public documents?

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