What is the state of justice in the Philippines? Has corruption eroded the once noble profession? Is justice really for sale? There are just and honest judges, lawyers and prosecutors but many more are corrupt bribe takers. A Judge in Olongapo City was suspended recently for allegedly taking bribes and dismissing cases against child rapists. The Supreme Court administrators have acted against many more corrupt judges.
Justice for the poor is rare. Last 22 May, the horrific story of the alleged murder, sexual abuse, torture with electric shock and severe physical beating of an 11 year-old girl and her companion Miriam was reported here. (Children of the garbage Pit, www.preda.org and Preda Facebook)
It was last April 5, Holy Week, when Chastity Mirabilis, the 11 year-old street child and her friend, 11 year old (call her Miriam) were kicked awake on the pavement where they were sleeping.
They, the throw away children of Cebu, were thrown in a police car and brought to the police station. There, allegedly they suffered sexual abuse, torture and brutality to amuse and gratify the sexual urges of the police at the Fuente police station.
The next day Chastity and Miriam were thrown out of the police station and soon after Chastity died from her wounds, the brutal beatings and the electric shock given to her. Marian survived but is traumatized. But she was still able to give a graphic testimony as to what had happened. It is a chilling tale of police corruption and barbarity. Is there any justice for them? The good cops must clean up their ranks.
Many more street children are being abused and put in cells with male adult prisoners and are abused. It’s all illegal, but the police put themselves above the law and can accuse and frame up anybody.
This brings to mind the case where an unfortunate Irishman Eanna O’Cochlain, visiting Laoag, Ilocos Norte – where his wife is from – is the long suffering victim of an alleged cruel frame up in July 2013. He was suddenly detained, searched (without just cause) at the Laoag airport and lo and behold after a quick search two sticks of marijuana were allegedly “found.” He was charged with Criminal Case No.15585-13 at the Regional Trial Court Branch13 in Laoag. His passport was taken illegally, some say.
The unfortunate Eanna O’Cochlain traveler and tourist claims the so-called evidence was planted. It could happen to anyone, it’s so common. So tourists beware, you have been warned. Even the sex bars have undercover police waiting to pounce. (YouTube, The Raid ABC NY and Children of the Sex Trade).
Two Laoag policemen threatened Eanna constantly with 25 years in prison while waiting for a big payoff that never came. So they were peeved, the prosecutor was peeved and warned Mr. O’Cochlain of grave consequences.
He was unjustly jailed and went on hunger strike, a man willing to die for his belief in justice. So he had to borrow another 250,000 pesos when they quickly granted bail so he would not die behind bars and create an international outrage.
Eanna O’Cochlain is a man of courage and is a highly trained well-respected psychiatric nurse who believes in honesty, his innocence and that justice would be done. He paid off no one but borrowed 200,000 pesos to pay his lawyers with the prestigious name Agbayani Agustine Leonador & Vallestero. They charged 1,000 pesos every time they appeared in the courtroom, took the 200,000 pesos as fees and expenses and no pay off was made.
So with mercy and compassion put aside, Justice Philip G. Salvador, Regional Trial Court Branch 13 in Laoag, burning with passion for the law and zealously protecting the public from the evils of two sticks of marijuana slapped the full force of the draconian law on the hapless Eanna.
He gave a full 12-year prison sentence in a stinking, filthy Philippine jail for two sticks of marijuana, which had miraculously appeared in the hands of the searching cops that day of infamy in July 2013. That sentence is international news and is rocking the tourist world. Let it be known that many a police officer and most teenagers smoke grass daily all over the Philippines. Even the children of the wealthy elites and the elites themselves perhaps use it.
I know it as I managed a drug rehabilitation center for 18 years in the Philippines and helped youth in conflict with the unjust and harsh law. Even today, 8-year-olds are jailed without any trial, even though it is illegal to jail a child.
Such is the sickness of the Philippine justice system that there is no balance, no sense in the judgment. It’s cruel and harsh and one wonders why it is this way. Is someone somewhere still waiting for something? Twelve years in prison for what is a misdemeanor in most courts in the civilized world and possession and sale now legal in many US States.
It’s long past the time for the Philippines to clean up its justice system and catch up with reality. The congress needs to change that draconian law that makes the Filipinos look ridiculous, cruel and uncaring. It is a law that has been used to condemn many young people, destroy their lives, burden them with a criminal record for life and now the law, used in this way, destroys the reputation and good name of an innocent man.
The judiciary does not think of that terrible consequence of the conviction because of two joints that were more than likely planted in the first place. Twelve years is a near death sentence since Philippine prisons are death cells of disease for prisoners.
It’s time for the Irish Government and international community to take a stand for justice for abused children and innocent tourists. We all pray that the court of Appeals will follow the light of true justice and exonerate Eanna O’Cochlain a just man, a victim of an unjust system.