The Abused TRO, Unrealistic Bail, and Cybercrime
By Apolinario Villalobos
It seems that the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) has been abused to the hilt. Some parties which are glaringly guilty find it as a means to slow down the justice system. All it takes for these parties to have is a “wise” lawyer who has the guts to use his trade in twisting truths to their advantage. In any democratic country, this sad reality has to be accepted because of the system.
On bails, some has been proven outdated, especially, in the Philippines. One classic example is what happened in our neighborhood when a burglar was caught in the act of going over the fence of his victim, by a neighbor, at dawn. A citizen’s arrest was made. The culprit was turned over to the barangay (village council) for investigation, a required process before he can be turned over to the police. At the police station, necessary recording and other processes were done until the culprit was brought to the court for the inquest. It was already almost five in the afternoon when the whole process was finally capped (practically, it took a whole day), with the culprit going scot free after posting a bail of 2,000 pesos! It was disheartening and disgusting because burglaries have been committed in the neighborhood for months and the residents suspect the same syndicate. And, with a mere 2,000 pesos, he is free again to do this trade.
On the issue of cybercrime, the justice system is again questioned. The Supreme Court sidelined important issues on child pornography, hacking and others, to give more importance to “libelous statements”. Just recently, a raid was made in a suburb of Manila in a house and a school where on-line pornography was in progress. Among those brought to the police station were of course, the participants, but a very disturbing information was about the use of a three- year old child in the trade. The raid did not merit much publicity. Add to this the lukewarm issue the ongoing hacking of websites even of the government agencies. Unfortunately, these two particular activities do not seem to interest of the agencies concerned. Obviously, the one on “libelous statements” seem more heavy as an issue because the “reputation” of those in the government is at stake.