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Catching the Crooks Is Only Half the Problem, Philippine Courts are the Other Half

hat good is going after big-time criminals and throwing them in jail, when our courts simply show them out the back door? To put it mildly; the Philippine Justice System is a sham! Nothing but a pompous drama-riddled sham. You have solemn-faced judges in imposing dark robes, wood-paneled anterooms and edifices with Roman pillars and Latin verses etched on their marble façades. Imposing maybe…to the uninitiated, but to Filipinos who know how their justice system works…the whole thing is a sham!

Ask any man or woman on the street and they’ll tell you most if not all Philippine judges are on the take. Whether true or not, that perception holds sway for most Filipinos rich or poor. The poor know that they can never get a fair shake in court because they don’t have the money to bribe their way out of a jam. The rich on the other hand know they can always bend the rules because they have the cash to “fix it” in court.

That in a nutshell is the state of Philippine jurisprudence today. In countries like the United States, lawyers go to court to argue points of law. And usually, the side with the best legal argument wins.  In the Philippines, lawyers go to court just for show, because the winning or losing is done in backrooms and behind closed doors where bribes and favors are exchanged for favorable decisions.

Legal delays are also another staple of Philippine law. Delays make sense because it makes money for everyone—the defense, the prosecution and of course the judge. If you can string a case out for several decades, that’s sure income, i.e. money you can take to the bank, on a regular basis. You can even put your kids from grade school through law school so they can follow in your footsteps once you’ve mastered the art of delay, delay, and more delay.

The Philippine Supreme Court holds the key to all this. At the end of the day, it sets the tone and oversees all Philippine courts. The Justices have to put an end to the present travesty that passes for Philippine justice once and for all. Business as usual can no longer be an option. Delaying tactics and bribery should not be tolerated and all who engage in it, whether lawyer, judge, or justice should be immediately disbarred.

Because what is the point of going after plunderers and thieves in government when their cases just end up languishing in the “twilight zone” of Philippine justice, never completely litigated, never fully resolved. If this “cancer” is left to fester unabated, then Filipinos must rise up and impeach the entire Supreme Court and replace it with Justices who will see to it that Philippine justice will henceforth always be fair and never delayed. Because justice delayed is…well, you know how the saying goes. Published 9/20/2013

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno: Lawyers tapped vs 'hoods in robes'
MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno is tapping lawyers to crack down on corrupt judges. Speaking at the oath-taking of new officers of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) Wednesday night, Sereno urged lawyers to expose cases of bribery and extortion involving “hoodlums in robes.” By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star. LINK


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