Will There Ever Be Justice For The Common Filipino?

“It is not the severity of punishments that deter crimes but certainty.”

~Commander Shepard, Mass Effect

Here’s a quote worthy of some contemplation. The local media grinds out show after show on TV, sponsored by greedy corporations and starred and promoted by narcissistic celebrities who probably don’t even know half of what they’re talking about, but few of them have characters that have ever dropped a line that is as wise and as practical as the one mentioned above. Of course, it’s probably beyond the point of what I want to say here but I just couldn’t help myself.

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Now, going back to the statement above. In light of the recent events, especially that of the Fallen 44, I must ask the question: Is there really any justice in the Philippines anymore? This has been bothering me for quite some time now because, looking around my home city, it seems as though the authorities figures of today are more or less there for the sake of formality instead of being the pillars of morality and order that they are intended to be. While my sympathies go to those 44 brave men who lost their lives fighting terrorists and their families, I am still more than a little bothered by the fact that there are still large numbers of policemen who are openly corrupt or at least negligent in their duties.

Allow me to further elaborate on what I’m trying to say here:

Dirty Cops

justice_philippinesLook, I’m well aware of the fact that there are dirty cops everywhere. There never is a shortage of them in the world. Unfortunately for Filipinos, they seem to have become an accepted part of society instead of a cause for outrage. In Manila, I have once witnessed a policeman beating a defenseless woman in broad daylight with little regard for who saw them. In my own home city, policemen fine or arrest motorcyclists not wearing helmets when they themselves travel and patrol the roads helmetless. Some police forces turn a blind eye to criminals and criminal activities unless the media is somehow involved.

As I said, I try to treat authority figures with some degree of respect. They are, after all, there for the betterment of the country and society. If they are ever judgmental or harsh, it is probably because of the nature of their job. You cannot fool around with dangerous criminals after all.

While corrupt cops are certainly prevalent on a global scale, one must still consider the fact that all societies need a strong and capable police force if it wants to get anywhere. You can’t make a good living if thieves keep stealing your merchandise, right? I commend the Fallen 44 for their brave actions but if the ordinary cop is just out for himself, who can the common people turn to for help when things go pear-shaped?

Thankfully however, with the actions of the Fallen 44, the introduction of competent women into the Philippine police force and the overall support for the lost policemen, I feel a bit optimistic about the PNP. I can only hope however that my optimism will eventually prove true in the times ahead because, based on what’s happening so far, we’re probably going to need it. Unfortunately, I’d also like to add that I have been wrong before and gut feelings are seldom reliable.

No One Wants to Take Responsibility

This is by far one of the worst offenses Filipinos commit against Lady Justice. Even when proven wrong, guilty or outright immoral, some people still continue to deny or justify their actions often with flimsy arguments.

Of course, I still adhere to the idea that “everyone is innocent until proven guilty”, but some people continue pushing the limits even when they’ve been caught red-handed. It’s amazing how some people will even resort to saying that they were framed or cheated even if their troubles are merely consequences of their actions. In the end, no one wants to take responsibility and just resort to the ever-reliable tactic of playing the blame game.

As Bob Ong once said: “No one wants to be them.” When you accuse the common thief of being a criminal, he will tell you that he was forced by the circumstances of his life and that he is not to blame. If any of the corrupt cops mentioned above are finally caught, they will try to justify their actions with not being adequately by the government. When a corrupt politician is ever discovered, he or she will probably come up with a story about being a Robin Hood Archetype and using their stolen funds to help people who may or may not even exist. Even the terrorists refuse to take responsibility for their heinous activities and claim that those terrorizing the populace are just a radical splinter group. It just goes on and on and, in the end, nothing is ever resolved.

I’m not asking for people to suddenly admit to the crimes they’ve done in their lives, but I’m just hoping that we can at least instill a sense of justice in ourselves. A true, and not superficial, sense of what is right and what is wrong. We must learn to hold ourselves accountable for the things we do and be prepared for the consequences that they may entail.

People are Too Eager to Take the Law into Their own Hands

A few years back, there was the case of alleged “rape” in SBMA. There were a large number of inconsistencies about the case such as the number of people suspected to be involved in the incident and the identity of the people involved. However, despite not having enough evidence to back their claim, people claiming to be “feminists” and against “American imperialism”, marched into the streets shouting for the American forces stationed in SBMA to leave. It was later on discovered that the said rape victim is now living in the United States with some of her family members.

Then there was that road incident wherein a man beat up a policeman in front of a CCTV camera. While yes, it was said that the cop was thought to be quite corrupt, it was still clearly an act of violence against a figure of authority. This does not paint a pretty image of what justice should be about. If justice is just beating the crap out of people who did bad things to you and others, does that mean I have the right to go out and beat up the school bullies who used to pick on me in school?

Of course, let’s not forget the Laude case. I will state that he does deserve some sympathy, I would also like to point out that even though there was little evidence of Pemberton being the real murderer, people were already howling for his blood. While no one deserves to die, no one deserves to be jailed unjustly either. Again, many Filipinos allowed their emotions to get the better of them and lashed out at the visiting US military without even considering the facts and possibilities regarding what really happened.

For their to be true justice in the land, we must learn to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. We must learn to admit to our own mistakes and fallibility and stop using lame excuses and scapegoats to justify our stupidity and cruelty. For our nation to be united, there must be an undivided respect for the laws of the land and an understanding of what each entails. Like children, many of us need to grow up and take responsibility for what they’ve done regardless whether they are politicians, celebrities, clergy, policemen, tribesmen, or common citizens.

As Commander Shepard said, it’s not how brutal a punishment is that prevents people from committing crimes but the swift and unrelenting action of law enforcement. Justice is not about power. Justice is about responsibility.


13 Replies to “Will There Ever Be Justice For The Common Filipino?”

  1. The problem you’ve got here is that the laws and regulations of the Philippines are deliberately designed to enable lawbreaking. All third-world countries are similar in this regard: they have the APPEARANCE of laws and bureaucracy, but it’s all a facade. It’s like a cargo cult: they’ve copied the superficialities from a functioning country, but completely missed the point.

    Take something simple, like driving licenses. It painful to apply for and renew a driving license. There’s an astounding amount of pen-pushing and time-wasting involved. But nowhere in that process does anybody check whether the applicant is competent to drive.

    Likewise with the myriad business licenses and approvals you need to set up anything bigger than a peanut stand. The entire process is designed not to ensure good governance and honest businesses, but to funnel as much dirty money as possible into the pockets of authority. Tax laws are complicated and open to wide interpretation because taxes are not to fund social improvement, but to fund the lifestyle of the idle rich.

    The police, tax officials, and mayors might well walk into their first day on the job with high ideals. And then they find out how it REALLY works.

    1. Likewise with the myriad business licenses and approvals you need to set up anything bigger than a peanut stand. The entire process is designed not to ensure good governance and honest businesses, but to funnel as much dirty money as possible into the pockets of authority…

      I agree with this one.

      Also, here, the Philippine government assumes that a business man who applies for business permit is a corrupt man until he has proven himself innocent through myriad of permits. no wonder sidewalk vending is a easier business to establish and some businesses runs without permit.

  2. One problem with justice is that many Filipinos see it as “my comfort at others’ cost.” It’s a distortion, but yes, sadly, people actually live this kind of baloney in their lives.

  3. “Justice delayed, is justice denied”…they usually say.

    The victims of the Maguindanao are still crying for Justice…the families of the murdered Journalist and his driver: Dacer-Corbito are still waiting for Justice. The victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre are still waiting for Justice.

    The families of the fallen 44 SAF are still waiting for Justice.

    All their cries falls on DEAF EARS on Aquino and his administration. While De Lima is busy with her Driver-Lover…she is also one to blame for this situation.

    There are some Cops who are in cahoots, with criminal elements. There are corrupt cops. Purisima is a good example of a corrupt Cop; and he is protected by Aquino…

      1. “I hate War…it is Hell”…from U.S. Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman…he is one my my favorite Generals…good tactician and strategist…good field commander. He is one of the best U.S. Civil War Generals.

        They should learn from the Sri Lanka Military, how they defeated th Tamil Tigers..Or from the Russian military, how they defeated the Checkniyan Islamic radicals…strategies wins war…not politics…

  4. “Justice delayed, is justice denied”…they usually say.
    That is not applicable to the 44 SAF because they are all dead now. Even justice delayed in this case is important and necessary because we need to hold into account those responsible and have a closure on the case.

    1. Aquino is responsible for the 44 fallen SAF. He knows about the operation, together with his sidekick Purisima (the corrupt Cop). Aquino ordered the Delay in saving those SAF soldiers/police. Reinforcement from the Army is just a few kilometers away…Artillery fire is available. They could had scrambled a few obsolete fighter planes from a nearby base…but these options were witheld…who withheld this order?

      Aquino cannot seek justice, since he is afraid to fight the MILF; so he bribed their leaders…

  5. The answer to the question asked in the title of the article,simply put…: NO. not even a slight chance. You,Mr.Juan AVERAGE FILIPINO have no chance of being treated fairly by a system that is rigged against you.
    start at getting 400,000 of your mad-as-hell buddies together and marching, 1/2 to the Palais and the other 1/2 to the Senate building when they are all inside, and once there demanding unconditional immediate resignations (and expulsion from the country to any country that will take a broke Filipino ex-congressmen) of the elected officials (or face the noose erected outside), followed by a complete forfeiture of all personal wealth of all of these crimminals to be turned over to the care of the new “LEADERS OF THE NEW STATE”, for starters to be kept and distributed to the opeople in the forms of improved schools,hospital,minimum wage hikes to 1st world levels and one lump sum pymt too to get the people properly unimpoverished.!

    The above could be accomplished with in one afternoon, woud take minimal planning as well.

    What you idiotic Filipion’s stand there with your collective thumbs uo yer arse’s is what makes it so difficult to understand:Filipino’s have nothing to lose and everything to gain…SO WHAT IS THE HOLD UP ALREADY???

  6. “It’s amazing how some people will even resort to saying that they were framed or cheated even if their troubles are merely consequences of their actions. In the end, no one wants to take responsibility and just resort to the ever-reliable tactic of playing the blame game.”

    Two Words: Dongkoy Emano. Just…. FUCKING Dongkoy Emano….

  7. Pinoys sees “civilized society” as more on the appearance, empty of the character and all for show, not for cause. When bringing justice is concerned, daig pa tayo ng mga tao sa medieval times.

    I have high respect for authorities but I distinguish between those who deserve it and not. We have cops here who even need anger management. They are fearsome instead of trustworthy. For me, you should only fear cops when you break the law or committed a crime but as in some cases, one fear cops because they are known to be the very person who would commit the crime, petty to notable ones. Note that some criminals don’t fear cops because they know they can be bought, would assist them even. Hindi ko gine-generalize ang mga pulis sa Pilipinas pero totoong sa bawat pulutong ng kapulisan ay may mga bulok. Law enforcers should be humble to serve but strong to protect.

    I believe lawlessness brings injustices and some cops only add up to the number of criminals. Power always corrupts the corruptible. Being in authority gives someone power and some uses it as passes to maneuver the things under their jurisdiction. That’s what happens sometimes even when it’s a fact that cops came around because of laws (that’s why they are called law enforcement officers, the foremost upholder of the law) while laws exist because of injustices. I think some policemen aren’t aware of their real purpose or don’t take their role to heart. As to people under the constitution, law is a commodity that they could use to free themselves of oppression, inequity or corruption. They could use it against bad cops. They could use it against injustices. Use it to make people act accordingly to how they should act. One problem is when people don’t know how to use it because it’s lawlessness that they recognize everyday. Another problem is when the law itself is not about protecting and empowering people. Pwede bang ihabla si PNoy at si Purisima sa pagkakapaslang sa SAF44? Mayroon ba tayong batas na nagpaparusa dahil sa incompetency at gross negligence na naging dahilan ng pagkamatay ng mga magigiting na tao? Bakit ‘di mapagana sa kanila ang batas? Dahil sila ay mga taong nasa posisyon at may kapangyarihan? Eh bakit ba sila nasa posisyon nila ngayon bilang chief of police at Presidente hindi ba’t para sa kapakanan ng mga tao? At kung hindi ang kapakanan ng tao ang nanguna rito, anong silbi nila sa kanilang posisyon? 44 PNP-SAF were massacred – a very clear crime. Hindi ba sabi sa batas hulihin at ikulong ang mga may sala sa pagpaslang? Nasabi na sa artikulo ni Benign0, those who killed those policemen ay nakakawala pa rin sa Mindanao. Nasaan na ang paggamit sa batas at tagapagpatupad ng batas?

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