The Problem Of Lacking Swift And Appropriate Punishments Has Caused The Philippines To Go Downward


After hearing Vitaliano Aguirre Jr. was invited by incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to be the Chief Justice just brings back some memories. So maybe I'm too hard on the guy and yes he wasn't a hero during the Renato Corona trial. But I also thought of a couple of lessons that we could learn from Aguirre's experience from the time of the Renato Corona trial to the SAF Trial. During the time he was assigned as Getulio Napenas' lawyer where he was fortunately at his best behavior.

So what can be learn from Aguirre's experiences from the Corona trial to his appointment as Justice Secretary? I'd like not to focus on Atty. Aguirre's otherwise minor contempt of court but the problem of lacking swift and appropriate punishments. As much as he deserved his admonition for his misbehavior, there was really a lack of swiftness towards punishments. During the time he covered his ears and his attention was called, he shouldn't have been even given the chance to give a "bravado" speech. He should have just been immediately sent out of the courtroom because such behavior is inexcusable. Instead, the Senator Judges gave him the floor to make a bravado speech which only aggravated the matter. He should have just been immediately sent out and then to be immediately admonished the next day. It doesn't require a caucus to determine his punishment. I'd just immediately have him admonished the next day to prevent any recognition that what he did was heroic because it wasn't.

During the SAF-44 trial it's evident that there's really a lack of swift and appropriate punishments. He was at his best behavior, no monkey gestures and fortunately he wasn't acting as Alan Purisima's lawyer. He was acting on Napenas' side. This also raised the issue of Napenas is made to take all the blame. The problem was that as Aguirre said that Napenas was made to take all the blame and that the higher ups must pay for the whole disaster. So maybe, part of the lessons we can learn is to let bygones be bygones such as Aguirre's unheroic act last 2012. It's been dealt with already though not as swiftly and appropriately. Then of course, I could actually bring up some issues that Aguirre brought up during a recent interview.

As much as I disapprove of what Aguirre did during the Corona Trial but he really spoke some words that needed to be spoken. The video above shows some prison reforms. I guess that I was really wrong on the case of Hubert Webb. While walking out may be uncalled for but I guess any good lawyer can go bad in a country where a culture of impunity is the norm. I may have been too swift to judge the guy. He was wrong but again, he was at his best behavior during the SAF trial. So he was wrong to cover his ears during Senator Miriam Santiago's berating of the prosecution but she's accepted his apology as well. So maybe Aguirre wasn't guilty of withdrawing evidences and may have considered that what was withdrawn may be faulty. Now it's time to bring up another topic.

On the other hand, I'd like to bring up Harvey Keh a person whose offense in court actually exceeds Atty. Aguirre's. A childish gesture of covering one's ears during a mean-spirited sermon only deserves admonition but remember what Keh did was to treat the court as a game. I still can't forget how he really brought documents by "Mr. Anonymous". Instead of going through basic guidelines, Keh chose to carelessly bring them immediately to court instead of having the documents that may serve as evidence against the late Corona as credible.

Based on Senator Santiago's berating of Keh, the evidence shows that the latter was acting in bad faith. Any questionable documents should be examined first before they are brought to court. Instead, they were brought to court and he was merely admonished. I thought that this monkeying around should have been given a fine and detention in the Senate. I don't think admonition was enough to teach this clown a lesson. While some fuzz over Aguirre's covering of his ears, why didn't they really give Keh more punishment than just giving him admonition? He should have been made to pay a fine, he should have been held in contempt and maybe held in detention to teach people not to treat the courtoom.

It made me think why are people so slow in deciding Aguirre's punishment for an otherwise minor offense while they admonished Keh immediately? Plus, the fact he dares to even brag he survived the berating of Miriam while Aguirre did apologize to a certain degree is something. He should have been detained for his actions for not only wasting the court's time but also for what could be a deliberate attempt to influence the courts. Aguirre's offense wasn't meant to sway the court in a big way so such an offense only deserved admonition. Meanwhile, Keh really deserves more than admonition. Aguirre deserves only admonition but Keh should have been detained for a couple of days to teach people a lesson that the courtroom is not a game.

The problem behind many Filipinos today is not only the celebration of wrongdoings like how Aguirre was praised as a hero instead of being at his best behavior during the SAF-44 hearing or how Keh is still praised as a hero. It's also that many times, many penalties for not following simple guidelines. Penalties whether they are major or minor must be implemented immediately depending on the case. Like if you're caught littering, not flushing the toilet, playing loud music or the like then the fine must be strictly implemented immediately. If there's the need for investigation then there can't be any unnecessary delays except for the need for sufficient evidence. Instead, many just love to practice habitual tardiness which contributes to inefficiency. While delays do happen but to cause unnecessary delays will just encourage Filipinos to do more wrong. 

Speaking of inefficiency because of a lack of swift and appropriate punishments, isn't that what the Benigno Simeon "Nobita" Cojuangco Aquino Administration has been doing during its six year term? So many offenses done by President Nobita's underlings and yet there's no real punishment against them. The whole mishap related to the late Rolando Mendoza could have been avoided if there was immediate action. There was no immediate action to the Typhoon Yolanda goods nor was any immediate action done against Corazon "Stinky" Soliman's neglect. There was no real justice done during Chief Justice Leila Dilemma's term. No appropriate punishment was ever done for the MRT deterioration under Joseph Pabaya's watch. Worse, the Commission of Human Rights  been defending criminal rights instead of the rights of the victims of crime. All these have contributed to a downward slope for the Philippines.

Do you know why Singapore is a real fine country? Because it implements reasonable fines against offenses like throwing of garbage anywhere. Singapore started off as a crime haven and a poor country but Lee Kwan Yew started to implement reasonable restrictions. If the Philippines starts having that kind of mentality of giving appropriate punishments as soon as possible then there's bound to be progress. Having guidelines like setting curfew for minors, public smoking, throwing of garbage anywhere, loud music parties and the like are not too harsh as Raissa Robles and those who think like her may want people to believe. To implement such important policies of making people pay a certain fine for not following simple guidelines is not even close to declaring martial law. It's all about setting the community straight. It's more than time to make Philippines a real fine country with reasonable punishments. 

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