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Swift Justice in Boston, Someting You Hardly Ever See in the Philippines

You have to give it to American law enforcement; they really seem to have their act together. One of two explosions during the Boston Marathon that killed three and injured scores of people close to the finish lineWhen the horrific explosions occurred during the Boston Marathon it appeared almost impossible that whoever did it would be apprehended. But just a few days after that bombing incident, authorities seem to have cracked the case. One suspect is dead and another is now apprehended. Large swaths of the greater Boston area were on lockdown and door-to-door searches were conducted in the suburb of Watertown.

The swiftness with which US authorities seemed to have been able to get to the bottom of this tragic incident have left many here in the Philippines in awe. This is after all a country where justice seems to move at a grindingly slow pace. Woefully few cases get resolved in the Philippines, and even when police and investigating authorities like the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) occasionally manage to get suspects apprehended, cases languish in Philippine courts where judges on the take dispense justice based on which side pays them the most.

If the Philippines is ever to pull itself out of the rut it is in, its police, government agencies, and the courts will need to take their cue from places like Boston where law enforcement is swift and efficient. In Boston, residents willingly put up with the inconvenience of their city being on lockdown to allow police authorities to do their job more efficiently. When citizens know those designated to protect them are doing their jobs, they are wholeheartedly.

The legal maxim that says: "Justice delayed is justice denied" has been around at least since the Magna Carta of 1215. The Maguindanao Massacre for instance—a case that everyone thought was a “cut-and-dried” from the very start, has been languishing in court since 2009. The defense strategy seems to be to delay and stall the case till 2016, when a new president and changes in local and national politics takes place. Maybe at that point those in power can be “convinced” to take a more sympathetic stand towards the accused and possibly let them off the hook.

Many Filipinos look at what just happened in Boston and realize that the Philippines still has a long, long way to go. Tourists and investors may slowly trickle in but any influx will remain just that; a trickle compared to that of our neighbors. Unless we get our criminal-justice system to work swiftly and honestly, Filipinos can kiss goodbye any hopes of seeing the Philippines as anything but a third-world country, in their lifetimes. Published 4/20/2013


RECENT EDITORIALS

Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano

The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed. Published 2/15/2015


No More Bangsamoro, Period!

With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea. Published 2/8/2015
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped

What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. Published 1/31/2015
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah

Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia. Published 1/27/2015
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do

We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines. Published 1/22/2015
Pope Francis Admonishes Pinoys to End Scandalous Inequalities

We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture. Published 1/16/2015
An Open Letter to Pope Francis; Please Read It Before Coming to the Philippines

Dear Pope Francis, your much anticipated visit to the Philippines is just a few days away. We expect that you will have been adequately briefed about the Philippines by the time you arrive. However, there might be a few things your Vatican handlers might have missed—or intentionally "forgot" to mention to you so we hope this letter reaches you in time for your historic visit. Before anything else, welcome! Published 1/9/2015

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