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Despite our continued exposure to an excess of high-profile or sensational crimes, the assassination of a judge still sends us reeling, still strikes us as deeply offensive. Why? Because we sense it for what it is: an attack on something fundamental, something basic, to our way of life.
By Neal H. Cruz
For doing his duty as labor arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Ariel Cadiente Santos was sued for graft by the defendant employer for allegedly giving undue advantage to a dismissed employee. At the same time, he filed an administrative complaint against Santos with the Office of the Ombudsman.
The incident was bad enough. Eleven of 13 policemen and civilians were killed with multiple gunshots, a number with two wounds in the head, the worst showing 16 fatal shots all over the body. The first vehicle had 196 bullet entry points, the second 61—sustained from an alleged shootout with 22 policemen and 14 military personnel at a checkpoint in Barangay Lumutan, Atimonan, Quezon, on Jan. 6, 2013, or a full year ago.
The news item “Abadilla slay convict seeks P-Noy clemency” (Front Page, 12/24/13) pounces on this reader like a sledgehammer, so to speak. How could there be a conviction when: (a) torture was used in eliciting confessions; (b) the Alex Boncayao Brigade repeatedly claimed responsibility for the crime, in fact showing as proof the watch of Col. Rolando Abadilla, which it turned over to Fr. Robert Reyes; and (c) the conviction was based on the testimony of a lone witness, and neither were there corroborating testimonies nor was there physical evidence.
By Herbert Villalon Docena
Those who survived possibly the most powerful typhoon ever to hit land should never have had to wait for days under the rubble for rescue, to “steal” from the dead to stay alive, to sleep beside the bodies of their dead children, or to be crushed to death in a stampede for food. Sacks and sacks of rice should never have lain uncooked for even just a day in warehouses while thousands starved.
By Virgilio P. Alconera
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was reported as “encouraging lawyers who seem to know about, and have been discussing in ‘hushed tones,’ the corrupt practices of ‘hoodlums in robes’ to blow the whistle on these judges” (“Expose corrupt judges, Sereno urges lawyers,” Second Front Page, 9/27/13).
By Artemio V. Panganiban
As one of the 10 holders of the “Chief Justice Panganiban Professorial Chairs on Liberty and Prosperity,” Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno began his lecture with two questions: Is justice an imported Western concept? Do we have a native Filipino concept of justice?
The recommended filing of homicide charges against the Coast Guard personnel involved in the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman in May may be unpopular with some Filipinos who insist that we must defend our defenders at all cost—an example of misguided nationalism that ignores our national interest in using international law to oppose Beijing’s territorial aggrandizement over our seas.
By Conrado de Quiros
Who says the courts are deaf to entreaties? They’re not. They’re just deaf to the entreaties of the aggrieved, not of those that make them so.
No passing of time or surging adversity can make the families of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño and human rights defenders forget that fateful morning of June 26, 2006, when the two university students were forcibly taken by military men and herded like helpless sheep to the darkest depths where evil men perform unimaginable barbaric cruelties.
By Juan L. Mercado
“You can seal truth in a grave. But it will always break free.” Easter hammered that truth over the last 2,000 years. Before Easter 2013, did the entombed truth about journalist Jonas Burgos’ abduction start to emerge in a Court of Appeals decision?
By Conrado de Quiros
Last year, at about this time, close to a thousand law students passed the bar and became lawyers. At the time they did, we were in the thick of the impeachment of Renato Corona. The goings-on in the Senate-turned-impeachment court, in particular the penchant of the lawyers there, current or ex, to obsess on procedure rather than substance, to impress with an ability to quote chapter and verse rather than with a capacity to quest for justice, impelled me to write a column giving a piece of unsolicited advice to the new lawyers.