THIS REFERS to the Dec. 2 column, “Overhauling the criminal justice system,” of former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban.
I, for one have experienced “what,” “why” and “how” rotten our criminal justice system is. The murder of my brother Boboy Jimenez on Dec. 20, 1990—in a case of “mistaken identity only”—by a drug syndicate tells of the sad difficulty our family experienced with our present justice system.
From law enforcement to the prosecution and to the courts, and even to the penal system, the case of my brother showed how slow the system works and how corrupt some of the people running it are. You could just imagine that when we finished the investigation, prosecution, court hearings (a total of seven years) and the judgment of conviction was rendered by the judge of the case, one of the convicts was able to secure a fake “Release Order” reportedly fabricated by some personnel of the New Bilibid Prison. Wow, that is something—only in the Philippines!
So what I can say to those reading this reaction to Chief Justice Panganiban’s column is: Be more vigilant and not overconfident because the system, indeed, needs to be drastically overhauled. For now, there is no level playing field between the accused/convict and the victim, who is usually six feet below the ground. The victim, more often than not, is always at the losing end of our present justice system.
I hope that the Supreme Court justices have read Chief Justice Panganiban’s column on the sad state of our justice system.
—DANTE LA. JIMENEZ, founding chair/president, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption