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Where’s Justice?

A few weeks ago, I celebrated justice in Vhong Navarro’s case finally being dismissed, and definitely downing a damper on his detractors, and hopefully leaving a lesson for ill-intentioned initiatives. There’s also the resolution of the Benson Evangelista case which was sweetly served after many years. But after the party’s over and I wake up the morning after, I realize that I rejoiced over a clean plot in the middle of a whole dump that needs some general cleaning.

Finally, the company that owns that vessel that spilled oil all over the waters of Mindoro decided to take some responsibility for that whole mess by handing out financial assistance for thousands of affected families. (Cash is pragmatically and empirically good. But how far will that take a family’s everyday living?) Interestingly the cash aid comes with a waiver not to file any case (or I suppose participate in the filing of a class suit) against the company that got the seawater sticky and lunged livelihood with lard). So, what’s the money about? Is it bribe money to save the company from legal troubles? The company’s attorney, in his obviously sarcastic and insensitive tone, laid down the advantages of taking the cash now and thereby signing the waiver, which primarily stressed on getting concrete cash at the present, rather than waiting for the lengthy legal proceedings with the uncertainty of award of compensation. (You have to admit, he has a point there.) Where would justice be? Where’s accountability? Where’s responsibility?

What happens now to the victims of the drug war waged by the previous administration? The present administration vehemently and insistently refuses to cooperate with the ICC investigators. Threats have even been made on arresting the international investigators when they step on Philippine territory. (If only, they had the same boldness towards Chinese vessels wading on our waters, then the West Philippine Sea narrative would be different.) The logic and wisdom (if there be any) presented by the Justice Department and some senators behind their stand is the sovereignty of the nation to administer justice and not to be interfered by external forces. (That’s funny. Isn’t that the same thing that the Chinese are doing across our seas to the west?) But what about the justice for Filipino victims? Does the government kick that under the rug? As it turns out, the national leaders are hugging and protecting with their tight embrace this so-called sovereignty to administer justice on our own, and hold it high in great importance, that they have long ignored and trampled the long deserved justice for Filipinos. Where’s justice? Where’s accountability? Where’s responsibility?

You may say, it’s an ocean away from us, and does not really concern us relevantly that much; but my heart simply breaks for yet another batch of victims of random shooting, especially the school children. What is with Americans that every now and then, some nutcase gets an assault rifle and goes to some public place, usually a school where there are young children and decides to blaze bullets all over. Is that a type of mental illness in the US? (But on the other hand, in some nations, some guy who happens to be in power decides to fire missiles or invade a neighboring nation. By magnitude of damage, I suppose, that’s worse.) What’s sad is that American authorities could easily address this concern as easily as their British and mainland European counterparts have done so , but they refuse to do it, embracing with their arms their individual right to carry a gun. Shouldn’t they be doing that same thing to the children who fall prey to these deranged shooters? Most probably, just like the numerous cases before this, this one will just be received with rhetorics and not be realistically resolved. Where’s justice? Where’s accountability? Where’s responsibility?

I guess the common vein that runs through these and other similar cases is supremacy of self-protection and self-preservation over the safety and security of the simple folk. Institutions and personalities would want to save their faces and escape legal responsibilities. People in power would want to protect their parties, pushing away principle and policy. People in power seem to hold on to what they consider as philosophies of party and defend it with their own dignity despite the danger and damage that are dumped again and again. Then, what happens? Waters will be poisoned. Victims will be violated. Schools will be shot. Truth will be trampled upon. Where’s justice? Where’s accountability? Where’s responsibility?

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

Isaiah 1:17


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