Monday, April 17, 2006

Live and let live?

I don't see the reason behind the administration's sensational announcement of commutation to hundreds of death convicts. This might be a show of conscience as a result of the Cabinet's weekend reflection during their retreat in Baguio City. Probably in the midst of their prayerful recollection, one of them just thought of a brilliant idea of doing one good deed for the Holy Week. However, due to budgetary constraints, they were unable to provide remarkable Gawad Kaling-like projects as good deed so they decided to give love through the least expensive way: Pardon the dead-men-walking.

This is the only logic I see in this decision. I do not see what is the big fuss about this announcement. In the first place, the President has had millions of reasons for these convicts not to die during her empire. First, there was this moratorium in 2001 (I think). After Leo Echegaray and several others' deaths during Erap's time, GMA, during her term, decided to put a halt to all the killings. This decision ignited anti-crime advocates. Yes, the same people who are protesting the current decision.

Years after the moratorium, probably just to gain support from the anti-crime advocates who might gather enough votes for her securing reelection, the President declared that death penalty shall take place, but only to those convicted with kidnapping. This means the convicted rapists, murderers, economic saboteurs, terrorists, and drug traffickers shall stay in death row until further notice. This utterly weird decision came after anti-kidnap (mostly Chinese) groups requested the resurgence of death penalty. Again, to gain the favor of those Chinese businessmen with big funding potential (read: 2004 elections). Amen.

And now, this decision. What prompted the decision? Taking from the two previous events about capital punishment, I can surmise that the reason behind the surprising announcement is still the same: politics. This could probably be a wager to regain the church's trust and confidence. Or this could just be a publicity stint, showing the administration's "merciful" side. But for me, this is just another one of the government's circus acts where they will acidentally shoot themselves in the foot.

I personally believe capital punishment is never a direct means to end crime and violence. As long as the law is bended, as long as the justice system is as slow as Pluto's revolution to the Sun, as long as brilliant lawyers' principles are blinded by millions of pesos cashed in by their wealthy criminal clients, and as long as judges are paid handsomely by filthy rich criminals, criminality and violence will linger the country. How can criminals fear death penalty if they haven't even experienced being in jail?

Capital punishment is merely a mouse trap kilometers away from the cheese. It will never be felt as long as the walk to justice is long and agonizing.

I am neither for nor against any form of capital punishment. But I am solidly behind the reengineering of the country's justice system.

Maybe they should go back to Baguio and rethink their Easter gimmick.

Belated Happy Easter to all...

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Trivia, trivia

Did you know: before politics, Joey Marquez was a noon-time show host of the hit variety show "Kalatog-Pinggan." His entry to politics was the benchmark of other actors who are politicians wannabe. Other noon-time show artists followed suit: Anjo Yllana (kalatog-pinggan), Tito Sotto (Eat Bulaga!), etc.

1 comment :

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