Posting here a shared thought on JUSTICE by FRYA written in August 2019.
What is justice? It is a word that has a noticeable weight in society. It is something that governments and other social structures strive to achieve, a concept to build their systems around. It is a word that protesters like to throw around and plaster on their signposts as they march on the streets and show their displeasure to said governments. It is a word that law students are very familiar with as it is the underlying goal that they want to achieve in the cases that they will handle in the future. It is the yearning of the people for everyone else to be treated with the same equal fairness.
But what really is justice?
Justice is defined by people as the satisfaction of fairness on day-to-day living and the achievement of that fairness on a conflict that needs a resolution. In other words, justice is when a man is not deprived of his needs and comfortable with his state of living. It is when a case is handled fairly in the courts.
Justice is the ideal.
And it is an ideal that is almost always never achieved when it matters here in the Philippines. There is a very real culture of injustice of any kind in this country for decades and it is something so pervasive that it is considered the norm by the downtrodden and the poor. In their minds, when a person is rich then they get all the comforts of a wealthy lifestyle along with a friendly and mutually beneficial relationship with the judiciary system.
A good example is the Maguindanao Massacre, a mass murder of 58 people—34 of which are journalists. It is a horrendous crime that reached international shores, but the court proceedings were moving slowly. It was so slow that of the 198 suspects, only 117 suspects were convicted over the years in the report of 2017 with the suspected masterminds, the Ampatuan’s remaining nearly blameless in the rulings of the courts with the only Ampatuan in jail, Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan, was granted bail in 2015. The Ampatuans were a family with members in the local governments, even one of them was still a Governor in recent years after the Massacre.
This case was considered unanimously horrendous, but in the end it was swept away and forgotten as if it wasn’t the biggest case of mass murder in the Philippines since the Plaza Miranda bombing.
In recent years, the number of suspects killed during police arrests has grown. The current president’s “War on Drugs” has taken a bloody toll on the populace and they still happen despite fervent protests and demands of various right groups to respect the basic human rights of the people under their jurisdiction. Activists and other human rights groups have been portrayed by the government to be in league with the communist rebels and others they dubbed terrorists to, perhaps, justify gunning them down. Even the church, other religious sects, and affiliated organizations are getting tagged as rebellious to the Philippines as a whole, going so far as to threaten the members of the clergy while they’re at it.
Justice is needed, but it remains a pipe dream to each and every Filipino suffering under the oppressive regime perpetuated by the wealthy and the elite of their own country. An unfortunate mixture of ignorance of the laws and rights and the regionalism keeps Filipinos from taking the bourgeoisie to the task.
Justice is beautiful, but actually grasping and implementing it in a country that has forgotten about is but an impossible dream.