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ABSOLUTE FEAR

by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009 at 1:22 AM
epcc_la@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The cop out of Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 Judge Luisito Cortez from the multiple murder case against suspected massacre artist Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. mirrors the desperate state of the justice system in which arbiters of law on whom the people rely for justice, are either cowed by criminals or syndicates or are easily bought off. The courts have been embroiled in many other situations that cast a cloud on the reputations of most judges in the country, including the recent tussle about big business bribery where, as opposed to the Ampatuan case, judges are on each other’s neck to have the case assigned to them. The judiciary, nevertheless, is rich with stories of exemplary judges, and there are many who would defy all odds just to uphold the rule of law. A handful has been killed in recent years by those whom the judges had passed their verdict.

ABSOLUTE FEAR...
al__s_12-10-09_pix_007.jpgrm0aqs.jpg, image/jpeg, 1600x1200

EPCC NEWS AND VIEWS
December 17, 2009
Contact; Jerry Esguerra
(818)749-0272
Los Angeles

ABSOLUTE FEAR

EDITORIAL From the Daily Tribune, Manila


The cop out of Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 Judge Luisito Cortez from the multiple murder case against suspected massacre artist Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. mirrors the desperate state of the justice system in which arbiters of law on whom the people rely for justice, are either cowed by criminals or syndicates or are easily bought off.

The courts have been embroiled in many other situations that cast a cloud on the reputations of most judges in the country, including the recent tussle about big business bribery where, as opposed to the Ampatuan case, judges are on each other’s neck to have the case assigned to them.

The judiciary, nevertheless, is rich with stories of exemplary judges, and there are many who would defy all odds just to uphold the rule of law. A handful has been killed in recent years by those whom the judges had passed their verdict.

Cortez has a valid concern about the Ampatuan clan and its followers’ barbaric tendencies after the slaying of 57 individuals in broad daylight, one that would give him a lifetime of sleepless nights. And based on the current inability of government to enforce its authority, his decision to inhibit makes his rejection of the case even justified.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno did the right thing in marshalling the RTC judges, since the sight of judges shrinking away from the Ampatuan case makes one lose any hope of receiving justice from the courts that have going with it the danger of a rise in vigilantism and total mayhem.

The country has about 3,000 judges that the Supreme Court admitted to having no ability to amply protect and even the assurance of Puno to secure the judge who will handle the Ampatuan case may not be assurance enough for the judges.

The cry of Puno for judges to stop inhibiting from the Ampatuan case thus may prove later on to become a source of disappointment for the chief magistrate.

Invariably, the root of the appalling and even pathetic state of governance is the climate of impunity that Gloria has created out of her evil ambitions.

The Ampatuans have been used to having nobody to answer to in the clan’s Maguindanao kingdom and the arrests and detentions and the subsequent filing of cases against key members of the clan are seen as transgressions of the pact of alliance between them and Gloria.

The clan was key to the systematic cheating operations that gave Gloria another six years of misrule in 2004. Maguindanao gave Gloria some of the most fantastic vote padding that resulted in king of the movies Fernando Poe Jr., the opposition standard bearer, being deprived of any vote and giving Gloria’s senatorial candidates almost a sweep in the two past national elections.

The absolute fear that the Ampatuan clan elicits, which was also the reason Gloria has used to declare martial law in the province, now proves to be not only confined to Maguindanao but wherever.

For nine years, Gloria had nurtured such an environment as among the means to maintain her hold on power.

The breakdown of governance seems to be the price that not only she but the next administration will have to pay dearly as a result.

The Ampatuan case may provide another entry in court jurisprudence, courtesy of Gloria, in which a suspected mass murderer may go scot-free due to the judge’s refusal to prosecute the case. Today, a new judge has the case. But for how long?

If that happens, the evil forces that Gloria had engendered would have completely taken hold of the nation and it would be hard for Filipinos to break free from its adhesive hold.

The question posed by Cortez “What is glory without a family?” on the fear that had enveloped him in handling Ampatuan’s case also reflects the loss of confidence even among the officers of the court in the government’s ability to protect its citizens.

Judges fearing for their lives in the performance of their duty is an extreme show of hopelessness on the capability of government.

Never had the Filipinos’ belief in their government been this low

*******
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