By MARK ROBERT A. DY
DOOMED TO BE FREE
THE nature of power is to bend or break the will of the weak. Through the promise of reward or the threat of harm, power is exercised in our daily lives. Today we see two convicted rapists set free because of the power they wield over the weak. One is backed up by the wealthiest nation on earth, and the other by his own personal, less grand but equally effective, wealth, status and influence.
How did it ever come to this?
Since when did we become a people who set criminals free just because they have more money than others who are equally or less guilty?
I remember working with an NGO that serves persons who languish in jail. Our clients were people who have not yet been found guilty but are serving time just because they could not afford to fork out bail money. They are treated as second-class citizens who are herded into our congested, filthy and putrid city jails while they wait for a trial date that may never come. This is my most salient experience of the Philippine justice system. It makes me loathe my choice of profession and want to fly away to a country that values its people.
The nature of power is to bend or break the will of the weak. This is why I do not dare blame Nicole. I do not blame the weak for their weariness and their exhausted patience. I do not blame the fearful woman for running away when faced by the might of the most powerful government in the globe.
Many people spit venomous words at this girl while they watch the news on their plasma TV screens well within their comfort zones. This girl has no comfort zone. As a victim of a violent crime, that’s one of the things taken from you forever. Your reality is altered, and to escape from it by any means possible is a very welcome option.
This is not about her. It’s about us and the system that we allow to sink its roots deep into our consciousness and culture because of our resignation – because of our refusal to speak out and act in unison against the few bad people who have all the power. It is everything wrong about human nature and our unwillingness to rebel against it.
Election after election we grant power to those who don’t deserve it.
Year after year we shortchange ourselves by believing that this is our lot in life and this is all that we will ever be.
See the drama of it all. Two freed rapists, two broken women and thousands of confused people behind bars. Welcome to the third world.
Is this the Philippines that was fertilized by the blood of our martyrs? Is this the nation envisioned by the free thinkers of our past?
Many of us feel that we do not belong here. Many of us feel that our one life is too short to waste in a place that does not offer us any real chance for growth. If you have these sentiments, then you are one of the many who have no power – then you are one who truly knows Nicole.
The nature of power is to bend or break the will of the weak. Today, the Philippine dream is to leave the Philippines.
How did it ever come to this?
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