Act 3. Scene II: Is This as Good as It gets ?

The death of Angelo Reyes yesterday added flourish an emotional peak in the ongoing national drama being played out before the National Theatre of the Philippines. It has as its stage the Senate and Congress. And its audience on the newspaper, television, radio and the Internet – twitter, facebook, blogs and the like.

A new, sad and terminal twist in the on going hearings played out to Juan dela Cruz. The articles and posts that have come out since Reyes death has added another dimension to this investigations: The Son, The Father, The Husband, The Soldier, The Scholar and The Man: It made him more human at least in my eyes.

Witnessing the hearing often times has the effect of demonizing the one being investigated. Like watching the bad guy squirm in his chair and get his comeuppance. It is easier to hate someone once he is demonized.

But why has this happened?

Is it because there are few or even none have been convicted of corruption? Despite talk and signs of corruption.

Amidst this talk and stories of corruption the Nation demands a trial.

However, Instead of a trial what we have are investigations open to the public. A drama played before our eyes. Perhaps this is the only thing we have since the view of our our justice system is slower than slow, long winded and possibly compromised/

Indeed, The present investigation in the financial abuses in the Armed Forces of the Philippines came about after a deal was made between the Accused and the Government.

As such it is no surprise that Senate and Congressional Hearings have become the defacto court from which suspected villains are tried. Even if the intent was in aid of legislation it has become a defacto trial court : A Court of Public Opinion.

However, This particular court though is hampered by:

1) The word of one witnesses is simply his word against the other – it is not unusual for a witness to recant his statement.

2) There are times when the lack of proper evidence is not a hindrance in pursuing the investigation;

3) Unfortunately, this particular court can be a rich fertile ground where dragon teeth can grow to grandstanding, vendetta or an over-developed sense of justice that can be myopic ;

4) More unfortunate there is the possibility that some one can be indicted based on perception and not on the rule of law.

It is not a Court. At the end if the day or investigation no one gets charged or is sent to jail or is lynched. Instead, the lynching happens on the airwaves, on print and the Web. And it may also lead to self-exile for some and terminal self-exile for others. Either way Justice is not

But then it seems there is no choice. It is this or a long winded case or none at all.

Is this as good as it gets ?

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.
Brutus, Act 3. Scene II in Julius Ceasar by William Shakespeare

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