The Court of Appeal’s sideshow of promoting the three lady justices who acquitted Lance Cpl. Smith as beacons of probity and wisdom foreshadows a greater malaise all known too well to the public. The presumption of regularity of performance of official duties is no longer true. The presumption now is that government function has been discharged irregularly. Thus the desperate but concerted efforts to portray these woman jurists as the epitome of integrity and probity was meant to address that overturned presumption of regularity. Their plaques of citations and honors received in the past, come handy to drill into the minds and hearts of the public that their latest judicial act was judicious, prudent and had served the ends of justice.
What prevented the CA from rendering a decision forthright and without the accompaniment of these decorative “halos” of integrity plastered all over the head of its jurists? One explanation is that this Court has just been reeling from the effects of some of its “distinguished members” being axed for misconduct by another tier of a Court which is neither known for good conduct. Mr. Marcos has his chest fully covered with medals of honor and bravery, but the people, except perhaps the Ilocanos and some few percentage of the entire population, would still consider him a “scoundrel”. So what has that to say about those citations of our “distinguished lady jurists?” Does that make them prudent and clothe their decision with extravagant wisdom? No, sir! – It has nothing to do at all with probity and wisdom. It has something to do with addressing its own eroded credibility.
For his brusque conduct, Mr. Smith has been pilloried as a rapist, momentarily detained at the decrepit and stinky Makati jail, and was then transferred to a more human environment at the Rowe Security Building inside the U.S. Embassy at Roxas Boulevard only to be acquitted afterwards.
Put yourself in the shoes of Mr. Smith and ask yourself: “Does that look like justice having been served?” Damage has already been inflicted against Mr. Smith.
The way we manipulate our judicial system and subject it to public pressure is destructive of a constitutional government and that is the downside. The upside is, our judicial officials are now sensitive to public opinion. It is time now that we educate the public and elevate their consciousness to a level where they can approximate what justice is all about.
In my most warp sense of justice, I cheer for Nicole. She won her case. She got her visa and her money through the efforts of the public in drumbeating her one-night stand that has gone haywire. It is unfortunate that the “orphans” she had left, have to bellyache still in the streets of Manila, in the airwaves and in the tubes, in the pages of MSM and the blogsphere with the same passion this case has generated the first time this prurient episode had hit the headlines in 2005.