Yesterday was the celebration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution that ended the Martial Law Regime of President Ferdinand E. Marcos and catapulted to power the widow of his arch enemy, Corazon C. Aquino. On the other hand, Senator Leila De Lima was arrested Friday morning, a day after the court issued an arrest warrant for her on charges based on allegations that she, during her stint as justice secretary, allowed the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison. The senator’s arrest was ordered by Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204.
The two incidents are not related at all but both are worth discussing this time. The EDSA People Power Revolution brings to the fore a historical fact that may lose its meaning through the years but a deeper look can be a great tool for solving a myriad of problems that are confronting this nation that is benighted in its march towards real progress and development. On the other hand, De Lima’s arrest can spark an honest to goodness review of what ails the justice system of this country.
Seeing the lackluster activity that marked the 31st Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution speaks both the attitude of government and those of the people on the importance of that piece of Philippine history. What activity that was seen on the streets of the nation’s capital was not one of celebration but one of protest by a small group against an entirely different issue, albeit with relation to violence and human right violation. Outside Metro Manila, the day was just like another holiday declared by the national government which only requires that there be no classes in school and no work in government offices.
Time has really changed the perception of people about what lessons of history must be internalized and continued to be practiced. The lesson of EDSA People Power Revolution is one such lesson that must be internalized and applied in issues of national and international importance but is slowly losing steam among the people.
The EDSA people Power Revolution has taught us that when the people feel and believe that only they can make the change, they will go out and participate to get that change to take place or be realized. And it can be done. It can happen because at the EDSA People Power Revolution, the people have achieved what they went there for.
Issues on illegal drugs and the global climate change are issues that can move people to a show of force. It is not only through street actions that people can show their participation but in truly doing something together to address the issue or problem. The effects of widespread denudation of forestlands and watersheds are one of those that are felt by everyone. If we don’t see any show of force, it is because they have not connected it yet to disasters brought about by climate change. Illegal drugs may not be felt yet by every family but when the ill effects become clear and felt by the community, although it does not have to affect the whole community before people realize that it is within their power to stop or address it.
Values are easier learned, treasured and practiced when one is still young. The subject of environmental protection and conservation must not only be taught to the children in the elementary grades but must be included in their performance tasks. So is the problem of illegal drugs and all other issue that threaten the very core of nationhood.
It is time to put the lesson of EDSA People Power Revolution to other use.
On the other hand the arrest of Senator De Lima brings to four (4) the number of senators who have been put to prison while serving their terms of office. Senators Revilla, Enrile, and Estrada have been put there first and up to now their cases have not been concluded yet. These are only the high profile personalities who have suffered the snail-pace grinding of the justice machine in this country. There are thousands more who are languishing in jail for more than what they would have been there had they been convicted.
It is time Congress reviews how justice is served in our courts of law and to pass the law that will make the justice system work fast, efficiently and effectively well. May be it is time to put a deadline to types of cases that are filed in court so that when that deadline has come to pass and the case is not decided yet, the accused should be automatically acquitted and released. This will put to equal footing the rich and the poor.
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