Frailties of a Strongman

The Hunger Games is actually an allegory of a democratic age when at a sudden one man found his way to power. Clad with the seemingly Lawful demands, white as snow, behind is an autocratic despot.

President Snow, the Ozymandias of Panem left by his people along with his ashes and a desert of sand as far as the eye could see.

Only a crumbled statue can tell his glory. The statue was stern and powerful. It perfectly resembles the personality of the ruler. The ruler was wicked but he cared for his people.

Little did he know, he cared for himself. He poisoned his enemies as much as he blight his country. None that is sore enough than his tongue of blood but a mouth full of lies.

“Look at me, I am awesome!” the inscription says. Only him could tell how awesome he was but there is no evidence, just a land ridden by dust and despair. Poor, poor President Snow like Ozymandias he was in self-glorification. But now he lies in pity.

He built walls, cities, buildings, and The Hunger Games to make his citizen forget what brutality there is that lies below his fingers; whatever the fickle minded puppets could do to please their master. Nothing but grandiose above and sheer ferocity below.

Little did he anticipated, a district that he thought was weak is strong enough to unseat him. How could he? He lusted for dominion, the only thing that comforts him. And, in the end, the only thing that destroyed him – the Mockingjay.

Remember his name, Corolianus Snow.

Look what he is now…

Lifeless here and nothing more.

via Daily Prompt: Uneven

More Painful than Death

One of the reasons why I do not approve Death Penalty as capital punishment is that no criminal litigation is exceedingly faultless. Death, as punishment, is irreversible therefore the verdict must be thoroughly accurate and precise because the life you are taking away cannot be revived. This stand does not protect criminals but it does not save the guiltless either.

Second, the penalty will only decrease the pleasure of handing down the punishment to the criminal. If you put a convicted felon to death does it not make the afterlife a scapegoat from the incarnate suffering of the body? I mean, it’s not mythological, but the mere corporeal punishment of reclusion perpetua is a day-to-day misery of jail time. Who would want a criminal to simply lose his life only to evade the chances of everyday agony? Speaking of death and pain, it reminds of the immortal words of Theodore Roosevelt which says, “Absence and Death are the same – only that in Death there is no suffering”.

Third, the Penalty is viciously unchristian, inhumane and inconsiderate.

It is unchristian simply because life is given by God. Only such kind of being, if there were in existence, is capable of handling such judgement. Besides, the sacrament of forgiveness, which all of us christians continue to uphold, transcends the boundary of chaos and hatred to love – leaving us tranquil in the arms of God. Jesus never taught his disciples to curse the ones who wronged them nor kill them even. So, the practice of forgiveness is essential to Christian life. Don’t get me wrong, not only that it is religious but also rational. The impulse of vindication have caused human mind to resort to barbarity across cultures. Such as tribes who resort to the Law of the Talions but with wasteful relishes of vengeance – you take one, we take ten. Taking a life is not only irrational but also obsolete method of punishment.

Inconsiderate because it condemns us from our life by our mistakes. Reclusion perpetua is not inconsiderate because it gives a man a time to atone or suffer from his sins FOR LIFE, bail excluded.

The rarity of the Death Penalty served as a stepping stone towards the advancement of our Humanity. What makes our species differ from other animals is that we are “sapiens” – an animal of reason not of carnage, violence and brutality much like a beast. Death is not a good example to teach our citizens. The government is the rudder, the teacher. What the penalty teaches us is to surrender our life to the law which didn’t provided us life in the first place. John Locke have argued the essentiality of Life, Liberty and Estate, as Natural Law – but the last two are recoverable… the first is not. Therefore, the government must protect them at all cost. What similar to it is our life compared to a flower that it blooms without the mandate of the Law – all natural, god-given. The law is not powerful enough to stop the wilting of the flower but certainly not stifle it when it blooms. How could the law take away what is inherently provided? Besides, unusual methods of sending someone to die is outright cruel and inhumane.

The decisiveness of the new admin might have catalysed drastic changes, but I do not blame the President for such paralogical change. He is indeed the people’s President – well at least the vociferous majority. But the decisiveness of action ignores stronger reasons. And that puts number as the scale of Justice which as I recalled the handiwork of Pontius Pilate in the case of Jesus before the crowd that led the murderous Barabas to freedom. That is the problem, when the characters of the courtroom favours what they think is convincing not because it is the truth especially when witnesses under oath, lawyers or defendant are clad with deceit. The truth can even turn against the victim. Besides, what does the state do when indeed the litigant is condemned – thrown to a Death Row awaiting his final days to arrive for ten years which is as good as imprisonment. But, why do we need to kill? To exact vengeance? To know the truth? To silence? To quench our disgust for criminals? What exactly is the purpose?

It is good and more satisfying to accept this kind of penalty if the fact-finding body is always infallible. But all courts are not error-free in skinning the truth.

No amount of error is insignificant in a sentence such as this. Then if so happens, we serve our citizens no greater disservice by sending them to death when in fact they will be cleared later on when compelling evidence acquits the defendant. But Alas!… we have killed them when we could have just imprisoned them.

Just to remind, it took the life of our National Hero, Jose Rizal, which made me more skeptical about its infallibility on cases like Treason.

I hope the congress review the bill surely well.

Theme Painting: La Pietà de Michel-Ange
Capable

OPINION: ORO’S DOG KILLING ISSUE

There are many other ways to depict a character to die, likewise, even to a dog. Oro’s incapability made itself only to blame. How come that one of Manila’s finest theatrical crews came not to a better resolve of the portrayal of the scene than actually killing a minor and lower character?

To the least of the blunder, it lashes out wounds to Oro crews’ professional career: it even taints and points doubts as to how they have made themselves professional even. Isn’t it a requirement for a professional movie-maker to be able to make a scene even more realistic, then why didn’t they made it so?

But, it did deserve the award – without looking to an ultra moral high ground, objectively and without making a typhoon o’er a teacup. Let us not look only to that detail.

The cast also made themselves commendable through their praiseworthy theatrics. After all, it is still a work of Art not some piece of carcass from the old MMFF.

Point in fact, the cast is not entangled to the crews’ mistake.

WHEN THE IRON TURNS GOLD

“The Iron Lady of Asia died fighting, in her sleep; she died unconscious.”

The entire Philippines was evidently shocked by the sudden demise of one of its treasured solon and perhaps the wisest among the senators who ever was and ever will be.

Lately, we were talking about her with my colleagues when a memory of the senator came to our curiosity that her public appearance seemed to be greatly diminished. One of them asked me, “Is she no longer a senator?” I regretfully replied to her, “No. Her term as a senator has ended and since she lost the last election she is once again a part of the private sector.”

I begin the recollection of my memory of her from the days when I was an inexperienced kid. I often see her in nighttime news reports often yelling, screaming, joking and scolding other officials that fit well in the vessel of a kleptocrat. As a result, my mother loudly extolled in the middle of the house that she voted for the lady and impersonates her finger-pointing libretto thus sounds the same intonations as the senator – this makes me laugh and feel anxious for my mother’s mental health because it’s silly; but I realized it’s just entirely for laughs in the end.

Anyhow, the impression the senator left to me is the sense of Justice. Her incessant “corruption-busting” campaign left a remarkable ink in my mind. Her words gave me the primitive fragments of my moral and political principles that will soon be developed throughout the years. In practice, I admit that when I overhear news that disgusts me concerning the way our politicians behave behind and in front of the closet, including their monkey businesses, there are times that I give furious comments regarding how should they treat the people and how should they do their jobs. When I do this, I oftentimes remember that there is one senator who knows what I am talking about and hear my voice. I was 10 years old at this and I know how dark the Philippine politicians are.

miriam-santiago

Image: Santiago’s Profile in the Hall of Awardees at Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Awards for Leadership

Compared to my former approvals, I am not the only one who rejoiced when she attacked one of the most reviled politicians who came from my home province of Cagayan. Just to give a clue, even his fellow Cagayanos did not approve to give him a continuation in controlling the better portion of Cagayan, industrializing the province for the foreigners, ecologically harming the environment by black-sand mining and concentrating political positions to his relatives and allies. No doubt, Cagayanos hate this man but the lady senator was out there reproaching the old man. I feel like the entire province’s voice was heard in minutes or her speech. Not to mention that she challenged him for a debate, that was an uppercut!

I also remember one of my classmates in High School who vocally declared her intense adoration to the Iron Lady. I recalled her saying that she wanted to be like the senator and we both dislike the people she comes to combat in the senate hall. We shared political views about the lady and habitually includes her in our deep conversations alongside scientific breakthrough, philosophical questions, psychological thoughts like the behaviour of our classmates and our own assessment to their attitudes and reasoning (we include the hypothetical influence of their synergy with their chums) and religious doctrines that often goes to the absurd tinkering with the concepts of each religion and cultural significance of that religion to the region. Yes, we could create a caboodle of thesis questions mounting from the senator’s recent statements and it ladders up at least not in the technical derivatives because we are just high school students.

This simply means that the senator might have influenced vast amount of the Filipino youths including me and my friends; and her persona fumes a lot of intellectual discussion with my friend alone. That is why her legacy has greatly defined the pillars of my political, philosophical and even moral beliefs. She is not just a senator or a woman; she changed my mind and almost certainly my life and future. I will never forget the teacher I never met.

Remembering the Iron Lady of Asia is pushing me to pursue a degree in Law. It ignites my inner sense of Justice, my belligerent and spirited side. I will jubilantly tell my children that she is one of the greatest people who influenced me and that they are fortunate to live in the day that she lived to tell her tale. Right now, one of my primary models to my moral, political and more like philosophical principles have peacefully passed away. The kind of Senator I will always elect, the epitome of Justice, the Woman we will never forget will never die for the Iron she wrought never rusts and eternally honed by her legacy to the Filipino youth, to the country and to the world.

The Iron Lady of Asia made her niches in our hearts, her memory resounds undying, and for the generations to come, lessons of principles, that is the time when the Iron turns Gold.

“In my view, leadership is the courage to take risks in defense of a position that is both legal and moral. The politician who tries to become a wise guy by becoming friends to everybody – corrupt or not – is not a leader.”
― Miriam Defensor Santiago, Stupid is Forever

Miriam Palma Defensor-Santiago (1945-2016)
Rest in Peace Madame The Great

#RIPMiriamSantiago #PaalamMiriam #MiriamShallReturn
(Black and White Image from Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation Awardees Profile Section)

via Daily Prompt: Shine

#CardboardJustice

Cardboard /ˈkärdbôrd/
adjective
: made up of cardboard
: not acting or seeming real
: having an obviously false or fake quality

News Flash: The summary/extrajudicial killings have gone rampant since even before the start of the Duterte Administration in the Philippines. From May 10 to July 12, bodies have been counted for up to 339. According to the news, there are 136 counts of summary murder recorded within the first 13 days of the new administration. How many would you say if we count until 6 years within the newly elected Philippine President’s tenure of office?
President Duterte of the Philippines is dubbed as the “Punisher” due to his strict policies imposed on his own municipality – Davao City. He constantly vowed to eradicate drug kingpins, pushers and manufacturers throughout the entire land. Although his straightforward, unorthodox, and stern administrative campaign against illegal drugs is commended by most Filipino people and even the cause of his electoral victory; but when have we agreed that his unofficial title be used by the public authorities and vigilantes alike as a license to brutally and inhumanely purge the country?
It seems that the Hollywood movie “The Purge” has come to a reality when Filipinos elected a punishment to criminals and themselves. High over the news 10 dead bodies are bagged each day; “suspected” citizens who are allegedly violating the law is summarily murdered and, in vigilante’s style, branded by cardboard and blood.
Summary killing is an erroneous embodiment of Justice. As the culprits brand their victims through using marked cardboard, they would somehow show a justification that what they have done is a partake in keeping peace in the society, that they have a sworn votive, that they kill so that others could live in tranquility and fair shake; needless to say that it seems to be only a part of their vindictive stratagem or a motive to loosen up the belts with hopes that their connection, possibly illegal, to the victim they killed will be totally erased or, in the most fiendish conjecture, just a random killing shenanigan to quench their malign compulsions.
I, myself, have witnessed an actual summary/extrajudicial assassination on a broad daylight amidst the public. My naked eye saw the pandemonium it created not to the one which is being murdered but to the innocent bystanders who innocuously passes and woken up abruptly by a sudden bolt of carnage. Who knows what the victim have done to be shot like an animal on the street? It could be any reason; it could be petty or grievous. If the society turns that way, it would be a massacre. No essence of Justice, just pure blood lust and desecration of the Human Rights. It can be a society of Lawlessness, Chaos, or Anarchy. That makes our Republic be in peril because hooligans put the law on their hands and choose to kill based on personal vendetta.
It could be anyone; your father, mother, brother, sister or any of your kin can be a victim of injustice on the hands of whoever is willing and capable. When was the time we started to lose our humanity? When was the time we started not to care? We are all created equal under the Law, why is then that there are those who are treated to be lesser or more?
On this plight, nearly anyone and everyone should be afraid of their life (unless they can afford guns or a private army to safeguard them). Whatever they can, they can be branded on any crime they have performed or not. Just because they can they do, it is absolutely barbaric.
Before the fire goes wild, it is a duty of every citizen to have their share. It is your right, it is your children’s right, and it is the right of all. # All Lives Matter
After all, the right to life is the most fundamental human right.
“Extrajudicial or summary killing is homicide. Carried out premeditatedly and in conspiracy with other public authorities, it becomes mass murder, which, if left unabated and unchecked, can escalate into a crime against humanity under international law.”
– Sen. Leila De Lima on the Senate Resolution 9*
The principal irony is that it appears to be right, that they look like they are sympathizing to the whims of the Court of the Law, but itself unlawful. In the 1987 Constitution, Article 3, the First Section supplies every citizen the right to due process – that each and every one is imbued with the right to be heard before condemnation which proceeds upon inquiry and be rendered judgement only after trial.
Even Batman, whose parents also have been victims of criminality, can push Justice forward without using guns and killing no criminal or civilian in the process and chooses NOT to put the law on his hands or even look for his parents’ killers. What is your excuse?
“Every human being has the inherent right to life. The right shall be protected by law. ”
-International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights*

For those who support that “the end will rightly justify the means”, that summary extrajudicial murders are fair because it lessens the number of criminals with ease and swift in correlation to peace and justice, you have stumbled upon a mistake. Those who are already lifeless because they are by now dispatched have no more chance to defend and answer to the accusations thumped against them. Furthermore, if they know something else that would lead to the capture of significant rapacious and felonious citizen it would be no longer attainable which will again impede the progress in ending illegal drug circulation. In this case, those who appeared to be the most accountable and guilty are still allowed to mix with the guiltless populace with their veneer covering the perils they have created and criminality they have committed. In our time, there are still qualms whether we are doing, supporting and believing the admirable or the deplorable, on choosing between whether we should play the role of the blameless victim or the devious villain, and in our worry sometimes we may convince ourselves that it is better to be the killer than the killed or the hunter than the hunted so we choose to go out and with convictions we express what we think is right no matter how bad the means are.

For those who are, in truth, guilty but savagely slain have been given the chance to be spared from the agony of cross-examination, internal contemplation of the evils they have done, shame when looking face to face to their weeping relatives and non-relatives alike, and court room verdict anxiety; an illusory dungeon of conflagration shaped by the hell they’ve created themselves – a pure psychological torture no one can suffer but themselves within. Death is a disguised mercy for their putrefied souls – mercy and injustice they do not deserve.
This conundrum is not ephemerally significant but will resound throughout up to the following generations with the answer on how we are firm and sincere to our own Laws and Principles we stand as Nation. For those who can raise more awareness stand up without hesitation. Challenge the status quo in dignified and hurtless manner. Let us push the campaign against summary and extrajudicial killings until it reverberates to those who are in the position, until necessary actions have been taken, until there will be no more victims of these butcheries, until we can all enjoy the real Justice our laws have provided, until there will be no more cardboard justice to dispute.
Theme Painting: “Protest” by Curtis James

Footnotes: 

The #CardboardJustice is brought to us as a catchy and meaningful protest started by Adrienne Onday, which according to Onday inspired by her friend Hope Swann, last July 13, 2016 which she displays a Cardboard marked with “LAHAT TAYO POSIBLENG DRUG PUSHER” along LRT-2 passing to DLSU. Netizens reacted in both negative and positive reviews towards her public stunt. It is later followed by more social media protest against the prevailing summary executions all over the country.

*Senate Resolution 9, authored by Sen. Leila De Lima, aims to question the rampant summary killings by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the assistance of the Law.

*Excerpt taken from Part III, Article 6, Section 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights