August 25, 2019
My article may sound filmish, but it is not in any way related to “Neo” or Keanu Reeves in that 2003 science fiction blockbuster.
The balancing act of weighing crime and punishment can elicit various debates depending on the twigs you are perched on. Pun aside, jailbirds are usually treated
differently even if they wear the same orange uniforms. The songs they sing have colorful notes as heard by the wardens and the prison’s director. The color green seems to sound profitable to all ears placing that bird in its comfort zone.
Economic considerations usually play a major role in crime and punishment in any judicial system. Some can claim that poorer individuals may get a jail term with less
evidence than richer ones. It requires more proof of guilt to pin down an accused person with bulging pockets than a penniless one.
And that is just one side of the coin. The other side is commutation of punishment. Good or bad, this is the “reloaded matrix’ we now face when former mayor of Calauan
Antonio Sanchez hogged the headlines with his possible release.
The matrix started with Republic Act (RA) 10592. Quoting RA 10592, which was enacted during the presidency of Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“The law amends the provision in the Revised Penal Code on good conduct of convicted prisoners and increased the time allowance using the following measure:
“1. During the first two years of imprisonment, 20 days reduction for every month of good behavior
“2. During third to fifth year, a reduction of 23 days for each month of good behavior
“3. From fourth to 10th, 25 days deduction for each month of good behavior
“4. For the 11th and succeeding years, a deduction of 35 days for each month of good behavior
“5. Additional 15 days deduction for each month of study, teaching or mentoring time rendered.”
It is within this context that I want to reload the current judicial matrix. It seems that heinous crimes committed get more leniency than lighter crimes.
Take the case of Gen. Jovito Palparan. He is now serving a 40-year sentence for kidnapping and illegal detention given by a judge too eager to please an administration laden with pro-leftist groups. His fault was to combat those who tried to undermine the Philippine flag and against those who killed and ambushed his fellow soldiers who had the same mandate — that of defending our people from murderous terrorists. He had no money to defend himself, and faced a scarcity of lawyers who would want to defend him due to fear of antagonizing a well-funded machinery.
Compared to Sanchez who was convicted of murder, rape and drug trafficking, he is likely to stay there to finish the sentence. He is now a broken man, trying to find out where he went wrong. He cannot come to terms with the idea that wearing an army uniform and living with that uniform’s mandate are unlawful. He is just one of those disillusioned soldiers in the same boat. It seems that our justice system favors criminals more than the defenders of our so-called “sovereignty.”
Seeing several events unfold for the past six months, I have to revisit my thoughts in a previous article that I posted two years ago titled “A world without love is a total eclipse of the heart” (The Manila Times, Aug. 24, 2017). Here it is:
“It’s a gloomier world we live in. Deaths are taken for granted as if we don’t care anymore. Some will even justify the killings to fortify the reasons akin to a greater cause. I’m both sad and scared as we just exchange condemnations, prayers and contempt when we see violence and death. Vans or trucks are now weapons of destruction ramming busy streets. Collateral damage is now universally accepted. Criminals and heroes get the same level of accolades.
“We are too lazy to visit hospitals or wakes and think that a ‘get well soon’ or ‘condolences’ will suffice. We spend hours in traffic and kill time between stoplights by playing games instead of saying the Rosary. Why, we are even thrilled to try ‘killsoft’ automatic weapons to practice simulated combat and see targets maimed. We can
relate to the top 20 movies of 2016 but have a hard time identifying the 12 apostles of the Last Supper.
“We spend hours in malls while restless inside a church with 30-minute homilies. We easily forget good deeds while nursing bad memories longer. We carelessly discard
old friends in favor of friendships of strangers. We photograph and devour food-laden tables without even saying grace. We easily find fault but a miser in giving praise.
We prefer making threats than encouragement.
“We abhor lack of knowledge but never learn from past mistakes. We fear each other more, as we let skepticism and doubt take over. The difference between truth and lies is not as distinct as before. We always pray for guidance but are always stubborn to follow. We constantly search for answers that we rarely accept.
“That is why our world now is gloomy as we let clouds prevail over sunshine. And we just wait for the night to fall… and very much willing to let it stay permanently. A sad ending for a once wonderful world.”
Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net