CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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No justice in a bullet in the head or a bag

The Philippines is moving away from its former ear of compassion and justice to one where the innocent are targets for assassination and imprisonment on false charges.

In recent weeks, dozens of bodies have been found, shot dead, with signs pinned on them, declaring them criminals deserving to die.

But there was no trial, no justice. The killers have contempt for the process of justice. 

Street children are sometimes set up by the drug pushers as delivery boys and are arrested and criminalised. They might be shot, too. Journalists have been declared by some high officials to be deserving of assassination.

Travellers, both Filipino and foreign have been set up with bullets and cannabis planted in their bags at Philippine airports. Unless they pay the bribe on the spot, they are charged with a crime.

Now you see people at airports wrapping their bags in cling-plastic before checking in.

Some police and officials have no respect for the system of justice and treat it with contempt.

When they frame someone on a false charge, the good judge of integrity proves them wrong and the victim is declared innocent. The judge of integrity thwarts the corrupt with true justice and the rule of law.

One foreign visitor in Olongapo, call him Frank, was allegedly set up by a police captain who stole his expensive camera. When he demanded it back and asked for justice, he was charged by the police with child abuse and jailed without bail.

He refused to pay to have the charges dropped as he insists he is innocent.

He has hope in the system of justice and is fighting for his freedom. He suffers greatly and has a rare form of diabetes that needs special insulin only available in Europe. He will surely die if he does not get it and supplies are running out.

During a jail visit, he told me he will be found innocent since there is fairness and truth in The Philippines and it is on his side. The police captain and the stolen camera mysteriously disappeared and he did not testify in court.

False charges are commonplace, especially against foreigners that the police believe are rich and will pay big money to have the evidence withdrawn. But Frank would pay nothing and said he will be proven innocent. I promised to drive him to the airport when that day comes.

I know the hardship and the pain of false charges. I have been falsely charged in court dozens of times for libel. The sex mafia in Olongapo claimed they were libelled by my writing in The Manila Times, the Sunday Examiner and other international and online publications. 

I was writing the truth in the public interest upholding the rights and dignity of women and children. My articles expose the evil of child abuse, human trafficking and child sexual abuse. The sex mafia has no respect for the truth or the rule of law. 

After years of non-stop legal battles, justice prevailed and just judges saw through the tricks of the corrupt and all the charges were proven to be false and dismissed. The sex mafia, backed by corrupt officials, tried to silence me.

Matheo is a street boy, 11-years-old. He came from a broken home. His parents separated, found other partners and he was left abandoned on the streets with nowhere to sleep.

He begged for food, but when he bought bread a vendor mistook him for another child and accused Matheo of stealing. The police took him to a Bahay Pag-Asa, a government-run child detention centre, where he was beaten and sexually assaulted by the older inmates.

When he was rescued by PREDA Foundation social workers, he was a broken and traumatised child. It took months of support, care and encouragement for him to gain trust in humans again and slowly regain a feeling of self-value. 

The corrupt destroyed that young life. We hope and work so he can recover and survive such cruelty and we can save some of the thousands of other children in harsh cruel detention that is the illegal practice in most towns and cities.

For those hurt and wronged by others, the desire for justice is a burning need. The modern world seems to be returning to the primitive age of violence and injustice where peace is dead and human rights are no longer a top priority for many governments.

The United Nations and the European Union were founded to prevent the horrific human slaughter of the world wars from ever happening again.

We thought that humanity had become civilised and left behind its barbaric ways and evolved into a higher form of human life; spiritual, educated, enlightened, compassionate, merciful and caring.

Some indeed have reached this higher form of life and do have love and justice in their hearts.

We have to take a stand and work for these transforming principles and values.