by Clarissa Rodriguez
A strike of a court gavel indicates that a verdict is served for the laid out case. No matter what, the power of the court gavel’s handler should only favor justice. But how will the handler strike the gavel if he himself is the one to be sentenced?
Ad Misericordiam: The Department of Justice (DOJ) responded that during this (Novel Coronavirus 2019) COVID-19 crisis, people are prone to commit violations of the law, so it will temper the law with compassion. This was its statement right after the violation of Sen. Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III on home quarantine when he went to Makati Medical Center (MMC) together with his pregnant wife last March 24, 2020. (READ: ‘Compassion’: DOJ not investigating Pimentel quarantine breach without complaint)
“Compassion” for a lawmaker who broke an issued protocol? This is not the time to ask for compassion for a violator because everyone’s life is at risk. The MMC Director reported that 22 nurses of MMC were already in home quarantine and an additional of six to eight people were exposed to the Sen. Pimentel’s virus. Given that there is an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, 14 days of lacking personnel is a big loss. Compassion is not for violators, but for the frontliners and possible infected citizens.
However, DOJ rebutted that Sen. Pimentel’s circumstance did not satisfy the requirements for a valid warrantless arrest. It stated the RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases Act to justify warrantless arrests of those who would break lockdown terms, such as those found outside without an important task. Unless, someone would file charges, they would reconsider this laid out case.
In accordance with the law, this may be reasonable for a long due process, but why does justice fluctuate based on the status of a person? (READ: Justice chief says laws allow arrest of quarantine violators)
As what Theodore Te tweeted, “When the person involved was not a privileged senator, the DOJ opined that secs. 9(d) and 9(e) of RA 11332 could give rise to a warrantless arrest even without resistance. Now, they’re citing tempering the rigor of the law with human compassion? Yea, right.”
To favor special interests is injustice.
Over 20 curfew violators were jailed for two days in Manila. Five alleged curfew violators were also jailed but in a dog’s cage in Laguna. All these violators were easy to be touched because they were not high-privileged senators.
Fighting against a contagious enemy needs a good collaboration between the country’s medical system and the judicial system. Strict ordinances support the protection of the medical work force. Firm protocols with fair consequential charges give rise to the effectivity of these ordinances so that irresponsible and reckless actions will be prevented from recurrence.
Measures and treatment of COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines have been highly criticized around the world. Our country has inadequate testing kits, facilities and medical staff. Would contradictory and chaotic judicial responses help this battle?
Of course not.
The Philippine government wants us to understand the need of emergency power; thus, prove to us that this special power will be executed properly without discrimination.
When a court gavel strikes, real justice shall be the only one to gain its favor. Regardless of who is to be sentenced, be it a high-valued citizen or a random person on the street, all should be treated equally under the law.
During this COVID-19 crisis, there should be no such thing as a picky gavel.