Rotten to the core
“Rappler case: Where’s the malice?” Ma. Ceres P. Doyo asked in her June 18 column. It was a pointless search for an answer. Even if 99 percent of the lawyers in this country may opine that the conviction of Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa and researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. for cyberlibel has no legal or factual basis, it does not really matter.
Here’s a bit of reality check: President Duterte’s habit of rewarding people who kiss his ass is now beyond cavil. Since the start of his presidency in 2016, he has been packing the entire government bureaucracy with sycophants, gofers, and mindless yes-men. The judiciary is no exception, most especially the Supreme Court.
Given this scenario, Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa could be looking forward to a promotion soon to the Court of Appeals or (God forbid!) the Supreme Court, after convicting Ressa and Santos—apparently to the delight of Mr. Duterte who hates Ressa for being such a pain in the ass.
Remember Mr. Duterte’s jaw-dropping appointment of former chief justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro as a reward for helping oust chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom Mr. Duterte also detested for being such a pain in the ass?
Ressa and Santos may, of course, seek reversal of that patently unjust conviction at the Court of Appeals. But, seriously, what are their chances there, with Court of Appeals justices all trying to get into the good graces of Mr. Duterte for possible appointment to the Supreme Court?
Alas, such is life under our judicial system: arguably rotten to the core. Can’t anyone expect justice to be administered out of patriotism and sacred duty anymore?
Scarlet S. Sytangco
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