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EDITORIAL: Elusive Justice

Exactly five years ago today, the world was shaken by the most heinous crime against press freedom and humanity in recent history. Thirty-seven men and women of the fourth estate perished in what soon became the infamous “Maguindanao Massacre.”

Those Media persons were just on their duty to cover a normal political activity. The wife of gubernatorial candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangudadato was supposed to file her husband’s certificate of candidacy in the Office of the Provincial Commission on Elections.

In a civilized society, filing certificates of candidacies is not a cause for alarm. Probably, not one of those Reporters ever thought that the event will be their last mission unaccomplished for nobody would believe that there were barbarians in Maguindanao.

However, it happened. Now, they, together with twenty-one other souls are gone.

The sad part of it is that up to this very day, the perpetrators of that beastly killing have not been punished.

The Department of Justice admits that though it has presented scores of witnesses, it has not rested its case. It may still continue to present more witnesses if only to insure that the accused are convicted. But the trial is delayed by Motions and Court processes of all kinds filed almost in every turn. The Petition for Bail is one of the most delaying processes because it virtually becomes a trial within a trial.

Perhaps, it is time for our Judicial System to be overhauled in order that a speedy trial is assured and justice is not delayed. As the adage goes, “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”

What if the Jury System used in the United States of America is adopted in this Country? In that system, only the process of determining probable cause entails some time. But once the trial on the merits begins, the process does not end until it is over.

After the Jury is formed, the trial begins. And once the trial begins, it cannot stop. The Jurors are sequestered in a place where they cannot come in contact with anyone outside of the Jury. They cannot stay in seclusion forever for they must return to their families and their usual means of livelihood. Hence, the trial is fast and a verdict is reached in a matter of days.

Will the Supreme Court give some thought on this and make justice in this country move faster? The administration of justice may not be as swift as the kind of Justice that the Kangaroo Courts of rebels dispense. But at least, the dispensation of justice would be faster than it is now.

RANAO STAR

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