Carvajal: Crying on other people’s shoulders

People close to me know there is no love lost between me and the Marcos family. Nevertheless, I now give credit to Junior’s decision to disengage from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and assert sovereignty over the drug-war probe.

But in the same breath I must add that I am with him only on the objective reality of his decision. I do not pretend to know the subjective reality of his motives. For all I know these could be as self-interest-dictated as most if not all decisions are of what have so far been our elitist rulers.

It’s not like I don’t believe in crime and punishment either. It’s simply that while the core issue is whether or not extra-judicial killings occurred and to what extent, the immediate issue is who should conduct the probe, the ICC, a foreign entity, or our courts of law, our very own legal system.

I know where people are coming from when they push for the ICC to do the probing and proving (and punishing?). They, we, do not trust our courts of justice. And we can’t exactly be faulted for that because it is a sad reality that our judicial system sucks. It is essentially two-tiered, one tier quick and harsh on the poor and the other slow and lenient on the rich and powerful.

Which now begs such questions as: Isn’t the provision of justice a sovereign people’s responsibility? Can a sovereign people cry on other people’s shoulders for justice in their land? Can we run to the ICC and still keep our self-respect when we are not exactly lifting a credible finger to reform our ambiguous judicial system?

For indeed, what are we doing about our elitist democracy and its two-tiered justice system? Where, for instance, is a sovereign people’s indignation when the Supreme Court (SC), after decades of litigation, upholds the Sandiganbayan’s decision to dismiss for reasons of insufficient evidence (?) the P200 billion plunder case against the Marcos family? And where is the outcry for the P203 billion realty tax the SC has decided the Marcos family should pay but doesn’t?

If we want to be truly sovereign, we must solve our own problems. If we want justice, and we should, we must demand it from our own judicial system. And if the system is part of the problem, the solution is not to cry on the ICC’s shoulders but to work to reform our failed justice system. I’d like to believe we have more than a few good men and women in our legal system.

Junior has rightly asserted sovereignty over the drug-war probe. It’s now for us Filipinos to see to it that our justice system does the probing with integrity and bring those found guilty to justice. We can neither allow ourselves to be insulted by the ICC nor to be effectively neutralized by our rulers so they can do their thing with impunity.

Speaking of impunity, we must do whatever is necessary to put a stop to it. A day of reckoning must come and a self-respecting sovereign people must be the ones to bring it on.

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