Notoriously slow and unjust?
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - November 27, 2014 - 12:00am

Who would not want our country to be in the World Guinness Record? Famous yes, notorious no!

To our national shame, our justice system is on record for being the world's slowest! Let us review the evidences.

Remember the Ampatuan massacre? How many more years or decades must the victims and their families have to wait for justice to be rendered finally?

Then, there is the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo case that is awaiting final judgment. Or go back a little farther, and there is still the ill-gotten wealth unresolved case of the Marcoses. Then the Janet Napoles case. If the Binays will be charged in court, how long do you think the decision will be handed down?

When will true justice come for the Filipino people? When will the Filipinos get back the public funds plundered by the abusive powerful? And when will we ever see the abusive in prison?

The present Chief Justice replied that their eyes and attention are on the Ampatuan case. That is not good enough. Cannot a timetable be given for all cases, whether celebrated, publicized, or not?

How many of the poorer members of this country have been denied justice because the wheels of justice are moving at a pace slower even than that of a snail?

There is this 7-year-old pending case against a male who stabbed another in a Visayan province. After the stabbing incident, the stabber escaped to Luzon to avoid arrest and persecution. While in Luzon, the stabber again stabbed another person- his second victim. To escape arrest and persecution where he was in Luzon, he decided to return to the Visayan province thinking that since a year or more had passed, he would no longer be arrested and persecuted. That was a wrong move on his part. The stabber was arrested and has remained in prison for 7 years now, his trial still ongoing as his side hopes they can convince or pay off the first victim to withdraw the charges against him.

How many victims refuse to bring their cases to court because not only are the courts very slow in rendering decisions, the victims have to spend time and resources for justice to be rendered to them, if at all. Human trafficking cases abound, for example, but with very few persecuted and punished.

How can our justice system be made to move more efficiently? Surely, the world has many best practices and models that the Philippines can study and adopt appropriately in our country? Surely, there have been researches and many qualified recommendations earlier proposed to improve the pace and quality of our justice system?

How can our justice system not only move faster but move more comprehensively to assist the justice-deserving vulnerable groups in society?

Wednesday's headline bannered the arrest of Aaron Pedrosa, our former UP Cebu student who offered his services as a lawyer to the poor to be evicted in Mandaue. While we think Aaron may consider his arrest as a badge of honor for his advocacy for this country's powerless vulnerable groups, we look forward to his immediate release so that proper charges can be made and he and the other contending parties given their day in court. With the wheels of justice, however, moving oh so notoriously slow, we pray Aaron and the poor be accorded speedy justice soonest.

Ayo-ayo, Aaron, and padayon in the service of God, our people, truth, and justice.

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