A Call for Correction of Injustice
I have watched movies about people who had been wrongly accused, convicted and incarcerated for a long time; and thought to myself, I definitely wouldn’t want to be in a situation like that. Although, if we go to the back stories of how they got locked up, they similarly would not want to be in that situation. So, in the same way, if something like that happens to any of us, won’t we have anything else to do? Would any form of defense be useless and futile? They say, it’s being in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Maybe, it’s being caught in an inefficient system. Maybe people who experience these predicaments get entangled in a conspiracy of covering up the truth, and they happen to walk by and they get to be the fall guys.
I’ve heard about wrongly convicted inmates who put themselves through graduate school and become lawyers or doctors while behind bars. There were some who organized programs for the welfare of inmates: support groups, sports programs, handicraft cooperatives, performance arts programs. It’s noble and admirable how they turn around a misfortune to develop the community they have become stuck in. I guess, in those circumstances, the Lord placed them there to be an instrument of change.
But still, I wouldn’t want to get trapped in such a situation. Maybe after some time, a person gets to adjust in whatever circumstance. But definitely, one goes through some sort of anxiety, discomfort and inconvenience. I suppose, the wrongly convicted inmate still has to pay legal fees. I could imagine the gravity of stress the family and friends gets to be tagged along in such a crisis.
First, it was Espinosa; then came Ragos. Had it been a retraction of a single minor witness, it could be easily dismissed, but now, we have two, and they’re bigwigs in the game. What’s so damning about the latest retraction is that it’s not just an admission of false testimony, it’s a pinning of blame on the coercion by Vitaliano Aguirre II who was then Department of Justice Secretary, and currently, a commissioner of the National Police Commission. Just think about it; the Secretary of the Department of Justice, the highest official to pursue justice, coercing a Bureau of Corrections Officer-in-Charge to commit injustice. Then, he would be correcting something that does not need correction in the first place. What puzzles me is that we don’t hear from Aguirre, or from the President, unless I missed some soundbyte in one of the government news agencies which could be probable. If I were Aguirre, I would probably quickly deny allegations of coercion and strongly declare that Ragos is lying. This is not a simple accusation that anyone could respond to with “no comment” or just turn one’s head away from. How about the President? With something like this, he could have ordered an investigation on one or both of Aguirre and Ragos. He could have expressed disappointment on the uncertainty and unreliability of government witnesses, especially on drug cases which after all, is his flagship program. But the President and the former DOJ Secretary who is now a NAPOLCOM commissioner are both mum about this issue; as if they’re not concerned at all, as if they are not affected in any way in these recent developments. I wonder why. The current DOJ did react with a statement that the retractions would not affect the strength of evidence against Sen. De Lima. Really?
I can’t help wondering if this is what the national government has been up to in the past six years. Along with Senator Leila de Lima are Maria Ressa who shot above their ranks in winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno whose records of existence in the Supreme Court, they erased due to a minor technicality, former COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista, and of course ABS-CBN whose franchise was withheld, unmindful of the consequence of mass retrenchment of numerous employees on a nationwide scale, at the time of the pandemic.
Since former BuCor OIC Ragos reminded us of Former DOJ Secretary Aguirre. Let’s look at Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre II.
• Involvement in The re-investigation of the PDAF case of 2013 in which he intended to put alleged Pork Barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles as a state witness.
• slammed by Mayor Ojeda of his hometown of Mulanay and accused him of “bringing shame to the town”. Ojedas are political rival of Aguirres in the said town.
• Aguirre is being “investigated” by the Hague-based International Criminal Court, which launched a “preliminary examination” into allegations of “crimes against humanity” allegedly committed by President Rodrigo Duterte in the midst of Philippine war on drugs.[
These are some of his controversies. You could look up at some more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitaliano_Aguirre_II.
This is what we have gone through for the past six years. Now, we have a once-in-a six-year chance to turn it around. I plead to you. Let us not allow these things to continue to happen.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression…” Isaiah 1:17