Given the interesting circumstances surrounding Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s very controversial impeachment trial, it is only normal that countless philosophical debates have been raised regarding this issue; the credibility of the courts, the efficacy of the Constitution, the morality of the defense and the prosecution, President Noynoy Aquino’s (PNoy’s) sincerity, and of course, the defendant’s guilt or innocence.
However, over the course of the trial, countless times have I frowned upon Filipino romanticists who view this legal battle as some sort of a telenovela, where PNoy and the prosecution play as the stalwart protectors of morality and justice, while Corona and the defense play the role of the immoral villains. Indeed, the impeachment trial has been distorted to look like some sort of a macabre drama for a number of Filipinos.
Needless to say, a discussion of something more important is only rational; something that transcends the clichéd good versus evil scenario of the Filipino society. A discussion of “justice” is only fitting. What is justice? And more importantly, is justice being served in Corona’s impeachment trial?
Here is my personal take on the concept of justice. While I intend to say many things, for the sake of brevity, I shall provide a transcript of my most succinct argument, which I have conceived under the name “Axiom” in this article:
“Note: This post is aimed towards those who claim that the will of the people is with the prosecution, that the prosecution has the higher moral ground, etc.
Hahaha, morality, legality, impeachment…
Who says your view of morality is what’s absolutely moral? Who says you can punish someone, not with solid evidence but with your egos? Have you ever sat down and pondered on why there are so many views on morality throughout the ages?
That’s because morality as perceived by humanity is subjective. Morality differs from person to person. Two people involved in a fight will surely have different moral perspectives; conflicting moral perspectives, specifically.
Now, if you are the mediator, which moral perspective will you use? Do you honestly think you can produce a sound judgment by doing just that?
How has civilization overridden the emotional dilemma in the search for justice? They used a medium that’s devoid of any human bias. They used a medium that everyone can use without incriminating another or oneself unfairly. They used a medium where only the mind is the judge. They used “logic,” which in this case, is also called “law.”
Do you understand where I’m coming from? The only way we can achieve justice is to abolish every preconceived notion brought about by our personal prejudices. The only way justice is served is through a medium where facts and logic are the only things that matter, so that no one can put another in a moral disadvantage.
Therefore, I say this to you; stop the ad misericordiam arguments. The sorry state of our fellowmen, while undeniable, does not by any means give the lousy prosecution any merit. Stop associating the people with the prosecution and start listening to reason.
I am on neither side of this problem. However, this one thing I want; I want the rule of law. I want Corona to be convicted, or acquitted, with the use of evidence and logic. I want objectivity, for this is fairness; fairness, for nobody can muddle the problem with their one-sided emotional outbursts.
Justice cannot be served by transcending the law. You can’t obtain justice by being unfair yourself. Recognize everyone’s rights. Everyone has the right to be presumed guilty until proven otherwise. Everyone has the right to avoid testimony to avoid self-incrimination. Everyone has the right to fair trial. Everyone has the right to freedom within the rule of law.
Until the yellow zealots realize the true concept of freedom and equality which they claim to understand, they will never comprehend how the ideal legal system works, let alone justice.”
Indeed, the need to understand what justice really means is in order, especially in our increasingly dysfunctional society.