SC needs to check out inequities in justice system
The Supreme Court should take a hard look at the dispensation of justice in Makati City, the country’s show window, being the country’s premier business center.
The “Magnificent 7,” the name for an alleged syndicate of corrupt judges in the city years ago, have long gone.
Some of the Magnificent 7 have died (probably due to karmic justice) while others are still alive—one of them was reportedly moved to the Court of Appeals where, many say, he continues to be corrupt—but is said to be very sickly.
But many victims swear there are still judges as corrupt as, or even more corrupt than, the Magnificent 7.
There are two or three judges who handle commercial cases and decide allegedly in favor of litigants who bribe them.
There is the judge who unexpectedly allowed a policeman who murdered a child scavenger to post bail—murder being a nonbailable case—because the respondent is reportedly a protégé of the Binays.
Then there is this lady judge who should not have granted two foreigners bail in a drug trafficking case since drug trafficking is a nonbailable offense, but did so.
And finally, there is the judge who has made the country a laughingstock by giving a very light sentence to three wealthy scions who, armed with knives, ganged up on and killed an American tourist without mercy.
When he was asked by some friends the reason for his unjust verdict, he was quoted as saying, “The victim was a foreigner, anyway.”
In 2005, this judge granted bail to eight persons charged with syndicated estafa, a nonbailable offense.
The accused allegedly swindled hundreds of millions of pesos from numerous victims.
After granting the accused bail, the judge and his wife went on a long vacation abroad.
The government prosecutor assigned to this judge’s court suffered a stroke because he could not stomach what the judge was doing but couldn’t complain, according to sources.
If the judges in the country’s premier city can’t be reformed, how do we expect other judges in smaller cities and towns to be honest and credible in their decisions?
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Makati City judges, of course, don’t have a monopoly on rendering injudicious verdicts.
In my years as a journalist, I’ve witnessed some unwise, nay ridiculous, decisions by our courts.
One case is very familiar to us as it was considered “the crime of the 20th century”: the Vizconde massacre trial.
All the accused, scions of prominent families, were charged with conspiring with one another in committing murder and rape of the entire members of the Vizconde family at BF Homes village in Parañaque City in June 1995.
But what the public, which pressured the judge handling the case to render a guilty verdict, didn’t know was that the accused met one another for the first time when they were presented in court!
So how could they have contrived to commit murder and rape when they had been complete strangers to one another at the time of the incident?
Also, the most prominent among the accused, Hubert Webb, son of the then Sen. Freddie Webb, was in the United States at the time of the murder and rape.
Another case is the conviction of a quadriplegic, a person whose hands and legs are paralyzed, for the crime of rape by a Bulacan Regional Trial Court.
How could the quadriplegic have raped a woman when he can’t even go to the toilet without being carried by two persons?
To top it all, the Court of Appeals, despite my personal appeals for the quadriplegic appellant, affirmed the lower court’s decision!
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