Monday, April 17, 2006

Everything is Negotiable

I'm sure you've all ready been saturated enough with the recent surprising Easter news that President Macapagal-Arroyo handed a sweeping commutation for all those inmates in death row and they have been spared death. Fits with the theme of resurrection and may be the president just has a twisted sense of humour we all didn't know about. Pro-life advocates must be cheering at such news. The Church must be thrilled at this turn of events and victims of violent crimes would naturally feel cheated. One might argue that it is a lose-lose situation for the president--- do one thing and she'd be criticized either way.

it is very hard to cheer for a President who is reckless with her power.

is the implication of this far more reaching?

while granted it is in the prerogative of the President to exercise her Constitutionally given right to pardon, or commute a sentence, and while it is her God given right to follow her conscience, self-interest or just plain be stupid, none of the above guarantees she must.

Just because one has power to do a thing, doesn't mean, one has to.

Personally, it seems like it cheapens the Presidency. And the supposed, real or imagined, kinda like complex number theory uber-power of the Office of the President is somehow made less special. After all--- has it been proven that one of those whose sentences have been change, the aggrieved party, was he or her proven innocent? And shouldn't such Power be reserved for such cases when Justice is upheld? Take for instance a wrongly judged rappist about to be hanged but in the last minute is proven he didn't do it. May be I have been watching too much Hollywood.

While it is commendable that the President is Pro-Life that she respects the teachings of the Church, to which I too happen to belong to, I find it sickening and disheartening she has done such action without thought or consequence to the kind of message this sends to people. Note: not just criminals, people from all walks of life. And this goes to the heart of our problem that no amount of economic prosperity could pay for.

Not being a Lawyer, the Law for someone like me is like the rules of a basketball game. We all agree on those set of rules that govern the game. It lays the limits of what we can all do. I mean, doesn't it cheapen the game that you could score three points a foot from the hoop? Its not as fun, is it?

The Law of the Land is that we have a Death Penalty. Now while when it was signed into law it was sexy or something, doesn't really matter, does it? Death Penalty is the law of the land. Frankly, being pro-life or pro-death penalty or whether or not this is doing the Church a favor or the personal conviction of the President or anyone else for that matter is beside the point. In just the same way, the personal conviction of every judge in a case that he or she could or must sentence a person to Death is likewise beside a point. it would be irresponsible of him or her not to press for the highest possible punishment.

This act of the President is a blatant shot--- she is the final say in everything that happens in the country.

The right thing would be, she makes it her personal crusade to repeal the Death Penalty Law. And if more people were for Death Penalty repeal, then it should be an issue in an election. Every citizen must lobby his or her congressman and senator--- in favor of repeal or not. Until such day as the Death Penalty is not the law of the land, it should be upheld. And yet what do we do every election? A candidates would sing, dance, look pretty/handsome and a cynic might add, shower the electorate promises of favors-material. And the righteous would say, ensure victory through black-ops-style election fraud via the Commission of Election.

It is of course the coward's way to commute sentences like we were sending out free candy at the mall. it is very irresponsible. it is downright reckless and is not Justice for both the criminal and the victim and their families. It sends a clear message that the Laws in this land are dependent on who you know and/or the whims of the Office of the President.

I suppose this should be expected. We get what we deserved by our election, omission or silence. In a country where jaywalking is enforced sparingly, where people don't care what elections are other than the face splashed on TV or what can this candidate do for "me and my interest", it is to be expected.

Of course this travesty of Law and Order is a reflection of how much Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abuses the Powers and misinterprets the Duties of her office just as much as her relentless pursuit of Unintended Unity. What has her commutation of death sentences accomplished? Simply prove that everything is negotiable, even Justice. In the Philippines, everything depends on who you know and what you believe in, the Law is mere suggestion and you'll get your way.