Disgruntled Justice-Seekers

The tragic hostage-taking of Chinese tourists in Manila is now in focus around the world. The devastation was done not only to the eight Chinese tourists who were killed, but to our country’s reputation as well. The Chinese people, notably their government, were quick to condemn the way the situation was being dealt with. Folding to Chinese pressure, the whole nation were quick to jump onto the “blame Mendoza” bandwagon. The true culprit of the crime, is not even Rolando Mendoza. He was merely the trigger; driven by frustrations of our failing justice system.

SWAT forces in their botched hostage rescue operation.

No matter how heavy the crime you are accused of is, you cannot be called a criminal unless you are proven so by court. And when Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza was proclaimed a criminal in 2009 for charges of extortion, he wanted to prove this allegation false. The sad thing is, he was never given the chance in court. Mendoza was stripped of his job, all the benefits entitled to him and the honor he built as a public servant. Whether or not he was guilty of the crime, we will never know. This is also why we should not be so quick in pointing fingers.

If Mendoza was really denied of his right to a fair trial, then this is the fault of our judiciary. There are thousands of detainees in our country who are still awaiting trial, most of them have been detained for years and have not had a hearing yet. This is a violation of a human right.

So the question now is this: given the failing justice system and the thousands of Filipinos who are frustrated with the way their cases are being handled, is there a chance that a similar situation will never happen again?

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