The Philippine Justice System…can it still be trusted?
By Apolinario Villalobos
Some people mispronounce “lawyer” as “liar”. At the rate guilty parties get scot-free despite their glaring offenses, the second allusion to the lawyer as a liar, seems to hold water. But, before all lawyers condemn me, I would like to make it clear that just like the rest of professions that are tinted with dishonesty, there are some law practitioners who try their best to be honest…still. In this profession, the rule is “my words against your words”. Whoever can persuade the presiding judge based on their painstakingly researched proof, makes the day. That is supposed to be way how the trial should be done.
Today, however, there are factors to consider: integrity of the presiding judge and cost of the influence, name of the lawyer, influence of the media in case of sensational issues, and persistent courage of the aggrieved to pursue the case.
It cannot be denied that some judges have been disrobed of their authority after giving in to the tempting offer of wealthy defendants in connivance with their lawyers. News items about this shameful occurrence, find their space in broadsheets and tabloids, even broadcasted over radio and television. The future of a case may also hinge on the image of the lawyer, as those with historically reputable name are given more positive expectation, an impression that counts a lot. For the sensational cases, the media plays a vital role as it can stir the public’s emotion and opinion. On the other hand, the courageous persistence of the aggrieved will decide if the case will still be pursued, in the face of tempting “compensation” in exchange for their grief.
The popular joke is that, if one wants to hear the best lies, he better attend trials in court. It is where one can hear oratorical dissertations that can move one to shed a tear or two and can turn one into a savage seething with anger. All these happen under, not the gaze, as the eyes are covered, but the shadow of the so-called Lady Justice holding a weighing scale perfectly balanced.
However, one particular and interesting opportunity can be viewed via TV – the Binay case. The viewers with weak and sickly heart, though, are counseled not to view it as they will just clasp their painful chest after witnessing the effort of his lawyers in covering very obvious wrongdoings with their circuitous statements. These “lawyers” try their best to bleach clean their client, hoping to high heavens that the senators and the viewing public will believe them just because they finished their Law from reputable universities!
In view of the above, with earnest and all innocence, I wonder if the Lady Justice is still reliable today. Can she defend the innocent Filipinos facing trial, with her sword? Can she make a good judgment, ensuring a perfectly-balanced scale with her eyes covered? Obviously, with her uncovered ears, her judgment shall be based on the best delivered lies!