Friday, December 18, 2009

Easy Way Out

DoJ, senators hit QC judge; SC orders new raffle
By Norman Bordadora, TJ Burgonio, Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The secretary of Justice and at least three senators slammed the judge who refused to try the Ampatuans, the patriarch and his four sons, suspected brains behind the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao out of fear for his and his family’s safety.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno ordered a new raffle of the case, following a dialogue with trial judges a day after Judge Luisito Cortez of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court inhibited himself from the case, said Gleo Guerra, the tribunal’s deputy spokesperson.

“The brewing crisis, if you want to call it that, has been defused,” Guerra told the Inquirer.

My first reaction was, What the hell, Judge? But when I imagined myself in Judge Cortez' place I had second thoughts. It's hard to be cavalier when the lives of your family could be at stake. Some may say they eat death threats for breakfast, but how would they feel about their loved ones being served the same dish? 

That's my problem with the statements of the Justice secretary and the four Senators quoted in the news story. They didn't say it in so many words but it is clear they think the Judge Cortez is a coward. Sure, they're correct, but they took the path of least resistance by offering nothing but clichés. None of them were proactive and said something along the lines of, say, You and your family can have my police protection detail so you can do your job.

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