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Reading between the lines


Serendipity and sensibility in a time of wokeness.

     The Muntinlupa regional trial court judge, who recently granted bail to former senator Leila de Lima, erred. Intentionally. 

     He could have decided outright that the former senator was innocent beyond reasonable doubt of all the charges that accused  her of being involved in drug trading. He didn’t. He has other grander plans. 

      The lack of proof to prove it otherwise is found all over the place.  Or in the voluminous arguments and assumptions the prosecutors presented.  In a word, non sequitur.  Or, in another word by friend, nincompoop.  Was it the proverbial Augustan stable?

      There’s no way for a reasonable judge, or lawyer, to see what the flimsy deck clumsily bundled as evidence could stand up in a respectable court. How could anyone who understand law not see the case for what it was?  Time to revisit the standard for passing the bar. Time to disbar.

       No, not today. A bail is enough to set the brave and strong woman free. Another day will be a better time, to set her finally, forever free. She needs, the nations needs, the world needs the best decision that will capture the meaning of it all. The prosecution needs to hear it. The perpetrators and their ilk need to hear it. The nation needs to hear it. The world needs to hear it. The demon and its fallen angels needs to hear it. 

        For now, the judge is better left alone to choose the words he will use for his decision. He can take his time to write the best decision he is providentially assigned  to craft for  a nation so long frustrated by the absent of the rule of law. It will be a memorable, monumental one  , not for its great legalism or exacting length, but for its simple words and sacred wisdom.  

         It should be a guide for the future. Not just for the former senator, who looks forward to a time of reckoning while trying hard to keep  faith and forgiveness in her heart. Not just for lawyers and other members of judiciary, which has seen better days, and is seen rising up to its feet again. Not just for future leaders who will face power meeting hand –in- glove with justice at history’s crossroad and decides it has the better answer to humanity. 

       It should, without hesitation and doubt, stress that there can be no democracy without the rule of law.  Only in that intellectual conflation can freedom be possible.  In a true democracy,  when one is free, the rest is free. In that sense, if De Lima can say she is free, the rest is indeed free.

       The nation  needs to  be strong, as if it were its last chance to do so.  Even the sons and daughters of a former dictatorship understand that.  It was good that De lima was profusely grateful  that those in power now understand what independence of the judiciary means. It means that not only prayers are possible, but justice is real.

         De Lima can begin to  be more specific and unequivocal  about her roadmap for justice in the days ahead.  It cannot be turned into a broadsword of witch- hunting. In the judge’s present and futuristic mind, he should make clear how that enormous accountability can be pursued within the rule of law, without fueling a divisive clash into political barbarism.  The nation cannot afford that. It should be reminded of what the famous legal mind once said.  “ The life of the law is not logic,”  Oliver Wendel Holmes said, “ but is experience.”

         What has been our common experience?  Justice cannot be pursued on political or partisan grounds, regardless of the times. A judgment, such as the Muntinlupa judge will eventually make, will encompass the past, the present and the future. Because a judgment, in a real sense, is destiny, and destiny is supposed to affect everyone, one way or the other. Like a bell, in John Donne’s poem, it tolls for everyone. 

          The judge’s recent decision suddenly illumined our side of history like a shaft of light cutting through a dark cave. There are vermins in the  crannies and corridors, but the judge wouldn’t call them that.  He has better terms for those who probably thought they would never be found out, or are beyond the reach of light.  Darkness can’t fight  light.   The judge who freed De Lima on bail has shown that. Time to move on or somewhere else where the sun doesn’t shine for those who think otherwise.  

           Funny, some of those who heard the judge decision still believe that there is a still strong case against the former senator.  But there will always be a consuelo de bobo for others, a term that speaks for itself. 

           “For there is but one essential justice which cements society,” wrote the Roman Cicero, and a law which establishes this justice.” That law, he said, is right reason. The Muntinglupa judge has enumerated the right reasons for his decision to set De Lima free  for the time being.  De Lima’s lawyers see no right reason to disagree with him in the future. Even the accusers appear to have nothing to offer to change the judge’s  sound mind. 

             The good judge can start writing his decision that will forever change the nation, hopefully.   Let others start peeing or pissing  in their pants. 


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