Monday, October 08, 2007

OPINION: EROSION OF RESPECT FOR THE LAW AND FEAR OF THE RULE OF LAW

MANILA, OCTOBER 8, 2007 (STAR) AS A MATTER OF FACT By Sara Soliven De Guzman - 

The wonderful, saintly and eloquent apostle of non-violence, the
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in addressing the civil rights demonstrators
in Alabama said: “Some of you have knives, and I ask you to put them up.
Some of you have arms and I ask you to put them up. Get the weapon of
non-violence, the breast plate of righteousness, the armor of truth and
just keep marching.”

Then some thug came along, a low-down White Supremacist, and shot Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr
. dead in cold blood. The martyr’s righteousness
cause triumphed in the end for the murderer managed to kill the man, but
he could not kill the glory of his idea.

However, most persons including women and children are not anxious to
become martyrs. They just want to be safe from violence, rape and the
prospect of being tortured and murdered, so they prefer that God and the
law smite the evil ones and a lightning bolt from heaven or the
government, at least, strike down the criminals before they can inflict
more harm.

Easier said than done. Today’s society is a picture of an erosion of
respect for the law and fear of the rule of law. Senseless killings abound
because of the greed of those in power. The killers grow bolder each day
because of an ailing judicial system. What’s happening to us?

Why haven’t the killers of Cris Mendez surfaced? What has the NBI done
in the search of these criminals? What has the University of the
Philippines done in summoning their students? What have the parents done
in encouraging their children to speak the truth? Where has justice gone
in this country?

What will happen to Atty. Manuel Hernandez Jr. who killed Edgardo
Calesares and Catherine Palmero due to a traffic squabble last week? Will
he hide just like what the others have done? Will our countrymen continue
to encourage these fugitives to keep on running away and not be punished?

All these criminals get away with murder. Nowadays, it is easy to just
blow helpless victims away with guns. What’s even more disappointing is
that the justice system is so slow – these criminals after posing bail
still remain at large and is bound to find another victim.

That’s the sordid story of the ineptitude of our police and justice
system. It’s the twisting of the law and crafty lawyers who, too often get
these criminals off the hook due to human kindness or…..is it human stupidity?

What must we do to catch and convict these bloody murderers? The
abolition of the death penalty as a capital punishment seemed to have
strengthened the courage and the audacity of people committing heinous
crimes against the society. So, we are left with nothing but wait in vain
for justice to be done. But then again, our case is a long drawn case of
“justice delayed is justice denied.”

What about the police? I hope General Razon will stay longer in the
force. If my memory serves me right, former PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao was
PNP chief for only a year (from March 2005 – June 2006); Oscar Calderon
served also for only a year (July 2006 – Sept. 2007). If you notice, the
number of years they have served in the force is just not enough.

The police chief needs at least three years, even four to re-establish a
police force, reform it, kick start it into an efficient, honest law
enforcement group. My dad always quipped that “a short term chief is a
lame duck ab initio, easily ignored and out-waited by the jerks, crooked
cops, goof-offs in the police establishment.

It’s a known fact that too many masterminds and “protectors” of illegal
rackets, like “jueteng,” kidnapping and even murder are cops or ex-cops.
And what about the protectors of the drug lords, even helping them escape
from Camp Crame?

We are fighting a losing battle in the drive to root out corruption in
our police. It’s time we have a really tough, uncompromising Top Cop. I
hope General Razon will be a tough one to beat.

* * *

When all is said and done, the Filipino people (despite spates of
gruesome atrocity and murderous acts of kidnapping and rebellion) are a
kind and patient people. In fact, we’re so “kind” that we’ve become, in
the eyes of sterner and less forgiving societies abroad, figures of
ridicule and fun.

On the Desperate Housewives… Instead of wasting our saliva trying to
refute the accusation, or squander emotion indignantly denying it, let’s
just go ahead and do our best. The important thing to remember is that we
must not do anything to please or pander to the critics. Filipinos receive
a lot of racial slurs that put us to shame. The trouble is that, too
often, we’re shameless.

Nursing exam leakage, fake diplomas, ZTE scandal, insurgency groups,
traffic, justice, politics, election fraud, COMELEC, etc…Now you wonder
why the Philippines has a tainted image?

I don’t write in despair, but in hope. My dad had so much faith in the
Filipino people. He said that a nation becomes great by inspiring in its
people a sense of moral purpose and a vision of the future. It can only
weaken itself by self-flagellation and endless nitpicking.

Manny Pacquiao has once again won the hearts of the people around the
world. He has made our countrymen proud. What more can we ask for
especially in a time when our spirit is being put to the test? This
victory is an antidote that should inspire us to do our best in all that
we do.

It is time to rise up and stir up stronger feelings of indignation and
wrath when evil, crime and corruption rear their ugly heads. And if we
must fight, let us fight for the good fight of faith.


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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2007 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
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