"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — ELIE WIESEL
By Alex P. Vidal
IF we steal two hens or peanut butter and bread and we get caught, we will be hauled off to jail like El Lute, Spain's most wanted criminal in the 60's.
If the likes of Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Tito Sotto, backers of COVID-19 major “money maker” Pharmally steal hundreds of millions of pesos from the taxpayers and get caught, they are awarded with movie contracts, get to smile while doing privilege speeches, and hailed as heroes.
This is the face of the double standard of justice in the Philippines.
Only small fries get bamboozled; the barracudas and reptiles always get away with murder!
On TV, radio and newspapers we regularly monitor street waifs and juveniles being pummeled with police truncheons and locked in overcrowded jails for robbery and other petty crimes.
But our SIN-nators and representa-THIEVES, our thick-faced politicians, who plundered and impoverished the nation, get only a rap in the knuckles.
Only in the Philippines where criminals hide under the mantle of "immunity from suits"; where dolts in government can tilt the justice on their own favor by using backdoor influence and arm-twisting tactics like threats and bribery.
Only in the Philippines where powerful politicians live in lavish lifestyles like Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette; where large scale thievery and debauchery involving public coffer is tolerated like a simple jaywalking misdemeanor; where an ordinary man gets a raw deal if he violates the law or happens to cross path with the mighty and famous.
A deprived and hungry Filipino foraging for food and seeking equal treatment of social justice in this benighted land is the equivalent of El Lute or Eleuterio Sanchez Rodriguez.
Once listed as Spain's "most wanted" criminal, El Lute, an illiterate peasant, was sentenced to death for armed robbery and for a murder he did not commit in 1965. He fought his conviction and maintained his innocence while in military custody thus his sentence was commuted to 30 years in a military prison.
He became an urban legend, people sympathized with him because the crimes he committed were "peanuts" compared to the rapacity of the oligarchs in their land who were never prosecuted despite their notoriety.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo—Ed)