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October 26, 2007

Comments

Leon

But then again...

Carla

I disagree with you on this, torn. Pardoning Erap devalues the legal and judicial systems in the Philippines and makes it impossible to fight against corruption in government.

It is true world leaders like Bush will never go to jail but that doesn't mean that thieves like Erap shouldn't. You are right to say that guilt is assigned through political means--Erap went to jail because he was ousted through EDSA 2. However, the trial itself cannot be construed as purely political. Legal evidence against him is overwhelming. The prosecutors and lawyers who worked on that trial spent several years of their lives compiling it and resisting pressure from the Palace and other interest groups. Say what you like about the Ombudsman but there are some very honest and very competent people who work there (including my father when he was alive). If convicted felons are just going to be pardoned after years of painstaking grunt work, heroic integrity and bravery in the face of death threats, we might as well abolish the Ombudsman and give up on the fight against corruption. Or pardon everyone. If plunder is forgiveable, after all, why should clerks who have stolen a few thousand pesos go to jail?

torn

Carla -- I completely agree with all that, I just don't think it describes the world we live in. The rich and powerful are always above the law (though as you say we should always fight that). The best we can hope for is that some measure of justice is served on them, whether that is convicted perjurer Jeffrey Archer relaxing in a British "open prison" or plunderer Erap having his freedom curtailed for six and a half. It's not enough, but at least it is something.

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