Slow moving justice PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 April 2018 13:22

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

A corruption complaint was filed in 2012 against a  presently sitting congressman of Iloilo and charges for graft were filed in the Sandiganbayan late last year,  in 2017. The corruption charge against this congressman was for the construction of a building in 2003 for the Iloilo Press Club when the congressman was the mayor of the Iloilo. Note, Reader, the timeline for this case – 2003, 2012 and 2017.

I do not know this Congressman; I have never met him. I bring up this case as an example of how our justice system moves. From 2003 to the filing of the charge at the Sandiganbayan is a period of 14 years. The news item reporting on  this case said that things have moved very slowly because documents related to the case had to be obtained from relevant agencies “which necessarily consumed considerable amount of time”.

Can we accept the explanation of the Sandiganbayan for the slow movement of this case?  The age we live in is often called the “information age” because technology has made it possible for us to acquire information we need at a clip that was not even dreamed of 50 years ago. Or has time stood still at the Sandiganbayan?

We have come across news items reporting COA findings of misuse of public funds but the report is made long after the concerned public official/s are no longer holding  office. How hard would it be to prosecute the parties concerned? If efficiency is “work done over time”  and the  bigger  the number that is the dividend means the efficiency ,  this means that the usual way to describe these situations is INEFFICIENT.

The sad part is that when resources are meager efficiency is most desired. But in our country with very limited resources the usual experience is the very opposite. And we wonder why we continue to be poor.

It has been said that “the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine”. In our country the second half of the quotation does not always come out. Our usual experience is that because of the big lapse of time before a case goes to trial it generally ends up with the obviously guilty party just getting a slap on the wrist. And respect for the justice system goes down another notch.

We have very meager resources in the Philippines. Except, that is, in terms of time.