Thursday, November 24, 2005

due process

Due process is an imperative in the search for truth and stipulation for the administration of justice. Finding out what is right or wrong, determining what is true or false—this is the fundamental goal of due process.

A civilized people demand and expect due process. A democratic country protects and promotes it. When the State places itself above the dignity of the citizenry, when human rights are considered but concessions of the State, there is no room for due process.

And this is exactly the problem in the Philippines today. The Calibrated Pre-emptive Response is a big defilement of due process. A counter action is already made even before an act is done. Summary executions constitute a blanket negation of due process. A suspect is already a dead convict. Disappearance of individuals is a marked offense against due process. The unwanted are simply made unfound.

And when due process is claimed to be observed, this is by and large ceremonial in nature. Instead of coming out with the objective truth that is due, the process is merely made to prove what is subjectively intended.

Undue process is the mother of injustice, discontent and repulsion. This happens when the poor and the helpless dare go to court against the powerful and influential. This takes place when small laborers file suit against big capitalists. The same comes to fore when simple farmers are made to face hacienderos in court.

As long as processes are undue and the justice system is dysfunctional, this nation cannot move forward and its people can neither be united nor at peace. There is nothing like injustice to destroy social harmony and development

And this is precisely what happens when the highest office holder in the land is accused of lying plus cheating plus stealing and everything was simply maneuvered to have due process avoided. And that is why the non-closure of the case equals the stay of a big open social wound. Yes, there was some kind of a process done. But it was purely a partisan political exercise altogether divested of moral responsibility and social accountability. The process made is offensive even to an elementary sense of justice.

24 November 2005