January 24, 2018, 9:24 am
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Tide of impunity

IT’S good presidential spokesman Harry Roque is standing his ground against the Court of Appeals’ decision dismissing murder raps against former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes. 

He calls the shocking decision a mystery, and certainly not a miracle which the three CA justices have so joyfully declared to their hearts’ content. 

As far as we know, miracles are divine occurrences for physical and spiritual restoration while mysteries come from various sources in the dark and unlit dungeons of greed and depravity, no less. 

It was hardly an act of God for the Court of Appeals to preempt a lower regional court where the trial has not been completed. In this case, divine intervention belongs to the realm of fools and not to the oppressed. 

But Roque may yet find out that the level of impunity now enjoyed by many in the PNP accused of murdering thousands of drug users and pushers has infected the higher courts. 

And yet, it is not anything new when powerful politicians and wealthy businessmen are suddenly off the hook from a serious crime apparently thru a contrived “miracle” leading to fiscals and justices finding themselves tens of millions of pesos richer. 

Since President Duterte seems determined as ever to pursue a drug war with the same ferocity and impunity, judges and fiscals may have less fear from an enraged public that is remarkably vanishing. Because retribution has become a rare commodity for the lawless, Roque should expect this level of injustice to persist from a criminal justice system already broken to the core or down to the level of enforcement. The tide of impunity is today taking various crucial segments of this government by storm as ordained ironically by a populist President.

***

Jake Macasaet was a man who stood above the rest. His name will forever be part of the history of the heroic “mosquito press” during the Marcos dictatorship. I remember him fondly because my father and his siblings had looked up to him with respect and adulation. One day after my graduation at UP Diliman in the mid ‘70s, my father persuaded me to apply at the old Malaya newspaper and personally took me to the office of Mr. Macasaet at the Ortigas area. They knew each other as coffee buddies and would talk about the social-political struggles of the country that both believed the press should vigorously advance. It was a moment that somehow roused me from a dreaming but gallivanting college graduate armed with a selfish ambition backed up with proven but negligible credentials in radio broadcasting from the UP community radio.  

For some months, my father could not hide his disappointment when it became clear that I was not interested in doing a newspaper job and turning into a crusading journalist in the mold of Mr. Macasaet. I started as a DJ instead in a radio network and then at the Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS) and on to RPN or Channel 9 as a news reporter becoming news anchor and news and public affairs manager. For a time I relished the ambition that I had reached and my name that went with it. 

I would go over the Malaya newspapers in our office and come face-to-face with Mr. Macasaet through his stories and fearless patriotic commentaries. And somehow, I thought I was undone. No amount of threats of imprisonment and deaths threats had deterred Jake Macasaet in his life-long struggle to try to make his nation a better place to live in. It was also his message to someone like me who otherwise thought of serving his country well at a crony broadcast network. 

My sister, Dr. Luz Tamayo, a long-time consultant at the Makati Medical Center’s Ultra Sound Department, had the privilege of looking after Mr. Macasaet especially during the difficult times of his ailment. He was especially pleasant with her, who is by nature bubbly and very patient with her patients. They would share a lot of jokes. The last time I saw Mr. Macasaet at his office was some two years ago when he asked me if I could help in the marketing efforts of Business Insight Malaya. Jake Macasaet has become bigger than life and indeed only a few of us would have that honor.

***

A major and controversial issue relating to our faith would compel us to go to the Bible which should remain the foundation of our Christian faith. Or are we to live up to being the only Christian country in the Far East by depending on tradition and history to redefine our faith?

Through the years, broadcast media has portrayed the Black Nazarene procession out of proportion. Both devotees and viewers alike have been transfixed by the pageantry and fanaticism that has bestowed on the more than 20-hour long procession a gigantic news prominence.

Many have been lost in the meaning of reported healings which, as the Bible says, may not be the handiwork of Christ. 

Deuteronomy 5:8-9 says, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in the heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.” 

Kings 1 recorded the life and times of the kings of Israel and Judah to show that their success depended on the measure of their allegiance to God. Kings 2 traces the decline and captivity of both Israel and Judah after a succession of evil kings ordered and promoted idol worship.
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