Sweet, Sweet Freedom
Stand up for applause and ovation. Let the bells toll across town. Let the drums resoundingly roll. Let the confetti fall all around and let it cover the ground. Let the band play. Let the majorettes twirl their batons. Ignite the fireworks. Pop the champagne or Sprite or whatever you drink. Give a toast. Finally, former Department of Justice Secretary, former Senator Leila de Lima is free. Finally, some semblance of justice has been delivered to the former Secretary of the Department of Justice.
Cracks on the walls of the prosecution have long shown. Crumbs have long started to fall. So-called witnesses have one by one flipped and withdrew their testimonies in the past year. Maybe it does not have anything to do with the changing of the President. I remember the current Justice Secretary downplayed the series of witness recantations, claiming that they would not weaken the case since the testimonies have long already been submitted to court. He seemed to claim that the case was strong and tight. Last May, former DOJ Secretary de Lima was acquitted for the second time in the three cases, the first case having been acquitted in 2021. But the current DOJ Secretary just dismissed the decision of the court which is under his department, claiming that acquittal does not mean absence of guilt. I just find that so funny. If he thinks that a guilty person is being acquitted, should not he be taking measures to prevent such injustice? I imagine a person who could not directly admit that his teeth are grinding over an event that he despises. I wonder what his statement would be over this new development. Former President Duterte accepted the second acquittal; claiming that he did not interfere with the case in the first place. Similarly, I wonder what his reactions are over former Sen. De Lima being out on bail. If an actual peddler of illegal drugs has been acquitted and has now been set free on bail, should not the authorities lead the rest of the public in revolting against an incredible miscarriage of justice?
I have come across some people who seem to believe that somehow, there was some truth in the cases filed against former Senator Leila De Lima. In a conversation, I listened to an expression of question of why the witnesses recanted. I passionately responded that the witnesses recanted because the former senator is innocent in the first place. My explanation was received with a disbelieving look. If you’re one of those, just think about this. Why is De Lima’s freedom on bail being received with a general atmosphere of positivity and celebration? Why is the public joining her friends and supporters in welcoming her out of jail? Why is the feeling of relief and rejoicing spread from the nation to the other nations, that even the international community is celebrating? Now, let’s take the flipside of the argument. If she really sold drugs to Bilibid inmates at the same time that she was serving as DOJ Secretary, why is the government and the public reacting in the way that they do now? Should not congressmen, senators and even the President be adamantly expressing disgust over the loopholes in the justice system? Should not common people be protesting in the streets over a mockery of justice? Should not different civil society groups be crying out against this form of corruption? But, look around. No one’s protesting. As a matter of fact, people are celebrating and being grateful for an event which they believe has long been overdue. If she is a drug peddler and a corrupt government official, this should not be the public reaction.
I will say this once again. It was the Filipino tax payer’s money which was spent, government facilities which were used, and government employees who were directed to work on each page and minute of working hour on filing these cases; the two of which have crumbled down and the third have indirectly weakened, rendering all those work and time a regretful waste. We’re talking about time, effort and resources which should have been used for government service, to bring real criminals to justice, but instead, was manipulated to prosecute to persecute an opponent who now before the world is being proven innocent. As it appears, the former DOJ of the previous administration just wasted the government’s mandate and resources for political persecution. Every effort that the government put into prosecuting De Lima was supposed to be public service. Now, it has gone to waste. The government should have just directed their efforts towards prosecuting real criminals. It has been corruption before our very eyes, in the sight of the whole world.
But for now, what a relief it is.
Ecclesiastes 3:17: “17 I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.””