‘Equalize and democratize compassion’
On the commentary “Lucas Bersamin: justice and lawmaker” by Oscar P. Lagman (12/19/18), my take is in support of the new chief justice, but only in the context of liberalizing our penological rules on septuagenarians and older folk (OK, I am 79 myself).
In Spain and Italy, no jail time for septuagenarians — and jail conditions there may be better than ours — but only community service and house arrest (or city arrest, in the case of Indonesia’s ailing, aging Suharto).
In my case, were I charged with rape, I may proudly plead guilty although I run the risk of being convicted for lying under oath instead.
But, the well-known do have an edge — JPE and GMA, and, to a lesser degree, I, as we may be recognized most anywhere while the ordinary citizen may easily blend with the community. We may be that prominent or notorious.
Should we flee the jurisdiction and be fugitives, that would be our end (in history). Flight would generally affirm guilt.
My human-rights point again is, let’s equalize and democratize compassion and liberality, not suffering and oppression, for seniors such as septuagenarians and up.
Ponente (then Associate, on Aug. 18, 2015) Justice Bersamin cited “Pio Duran (case No. 3324) and Benigno Aquino [Sr.] (case No. 3527), in which the said defendants were released on bail on the ground that they were ill and their continued confinement in New Bilibid Prison would be injurious to their health and endanger their life.”
Benigno Sr. (“Igno”) was only in his early 50s then and had worked with President Jose P. Laurel and other “collaborators” during World War II, instead of leaving with President Manuel L. Quezon for exile.
R. A. V. SAGUISAG, Palanan, Makati City
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