I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

What justice?

Roberto Panganiban Castro. Ferdinand Bernard Antonio. Benjamin Manalo Nicdao Jr. Bernardo Lapaan Jr. Noel Olaes Miranda. Juan Marza Layva. Aguilando Baltazar. Olga Gonzalez. Teresita Umayao. Isagani Pastor.

You’ll probably forget those names not five minutes after you’ve read them. But that isn’t what they deserve. These were people killed by people who wanted money that wasn’t theirs and who didn’t want anyone getting in their way or maybe screwing up their enjoyment of the money they stole.

Everyone agrees that these 10 people deserve justice. Of course they do. But what good is justice for them now? What good is justice for their families? And besides, what justice?

The President has ordered that the killers should, as Lorelei Fajardo put it, be brought to the bar of justice. Excellent soundbite, which is about all it is, because if you were to really bite into those nice words, you would find no meat, no substance. Just air.

How many times have we heard it said that this or that killer will be brought before the bar of justice? And yet the list of the unavenged grows longer everyday, while the list of those who have been actually held to account grows – if at all – only at a snail’s pace. The words disconnect with reality.

I’m sure the President meant it; who wouldn’t? But there is a difference between wanting something to happen – such as wanting to bring murderers to justice for instance – and that thing actually happening. And so it is particularly galling when the President “vows” to bring justice when she must know that her government has so far had a dismal record in that department. It just rings too hollow, Madame. And it tastes like ashes on our tongues.

Far better, I think, for everyone whose appointed duty it is to protect the lives of Filipinos, to just hang their heads in shame. Their mortification will mean much more than empty condolences and fist-shaking vows of righteous vengeance.

In the meantime, add these names to the list of the unavenged.

Roberto Panganiban Castro. Ferdinand Bernard Antonio. Benjamin Manalo Nicdao Jr. Bernardo Lapaan Jr. Noel Olaes Miranda. Juan Marza Layva. Aguilando Baltazar. Olga Gonzalez. Teresita Umayao. Isagani Pastor.


Filed under: crime, law and order, , ,

15 Responses

  1. BrianB says:

    These are one of those crimes that’s bound to be solved. No pols or cronies of pols are involved and nine honest people have died. Most likely this is an inside job and the police will have a list of suspects ready. In a week or so they’ll solve it. If this isn’t the work of animals; it’s the work of very, very stupid bad people. These are one of those things that do not need soundbites from politicians although the amount of man power pols would order dedicated to the case would definitely help.

  2. anonymous says:

    These people did not deserve to die. I hope those criminals who were responsible for this will pay for what they have done.

  3. BrianB says:

    Why do I keep writing “these are one”. Very weird. I did it twice so it isn’t just your typical error.

  4. I am abest friend of Bernard Lapaan when we were in high school.The last time we shared precious moments was 10 years ago when both of us by chanced meet again in our home town,The feeling of brotherhood is stronger than ever.Now that i live in a foreigh land,the news of the untimely and unnecessary death of my beloved best friend evokes questions on why this things happen.Bernard is an epitome of a man with dignity,respectable and a good father.Will he and his family be able to see justice?I fervently pray that our government should immediately act on it.

    To my friend BERNARD,the LORD GOD said “vengeance is mine”
    To the people who did this, Watch out for God is not sleepin,you have tainted your hands with the blood of good men.Sooner or later you will pay because you have cursed your self and your generation even up to your childrens children.

  5. rom says:

    Butz: oh, i’m real sorry for your loss, dude.

  6. […] Dear Jon In Filipino Voices – this collaborative I also write for – Jon asked if we should “Take any murder, take any crime, blame it all on GMA?” Apparently tired of hearing the “it’s because of poverty and it’s because of the government” rhetoric, Jon opined that the RCBC murders were fairly simple to explain using only basic facts without necessarily going “down to the level of politicians who just love pigging around in the mud,” i.e., without dragging politics into the whole sordid story. […]

  7. jilley says:

    im the daughter of bernard. please continue praying for them esp for my dad. thanks

  8. rom says:

    jilley: i will. my condolences, jilley.

  9. jilley,I would like to extend my deep condolences to you and to your family to what had happened to my best friend your dad.I now like live in California and theres no way for me to contact your family except thru this kind and excellent website.My gratittude to the owner of this website,thanks a lot lot i hope you wont mind.Please e mail me at really wish to pay my last respects to Bernard and the others.Butz

  10. are you from don bosco high school?

  11. smoothieschocolate says:

    Let us pray na sana ma-resolve na yung case of this tragic incident…

    FYI: kuya bernard’s interment will be on May 22, 2008, 2 PM.

    A repost from tin-tin…

    BERNARD as we call him at law school. Lars often call him father for his priest-like attitude and posture. He graduated bachelor of laws at the university of perpetual help of binan this year. He was supposed to take the exam this september 2008 annual BAR Examinations but now it will never be possible.
    After the tragic bank robbery of RCBC Cabuyao Branch, his dreams will no longer be realized and even his family is in the depth of suffering and in search of justice.
    I ask you my dear friends and colleagues in law school for prayers in call for justice for the death of MR. Bernard Lapaan, Jr.
    a great friend and a studious colleague at law school ….
    we will miss you and your smile
    kuya bernard….

  12. jilley,Yes we both graduated from Don Bosco.We both graduated at lagawe central school.Not only that,during our high school years we both do things together.Most of the time we share the same sleeping beds,eat the same food,plan and dream of what we will become someday..etc,etc,etc.In simple words,i just lost a brother.I am always praying that sooner he will find justice.Extend my regards to your tito Glenn and Tito Alister.Butz

  13. […] Nothing against the cops who shot and killed some of the suspects in the RCBC killings, but that sort of frontier justice doesn’t satisfy. Worse, what if the cops were […]

  14. […] against the cops who shot and killed some of the suspects in the RCBC killings, but that sort of frontier justice doesn’t satisfy. Worse, what if the cops were […]

  15. Johnny Punay says:

    Bernard and I were best friends during our first and second year high school in Don Bosco…then I moved to Baguio.
    I just heard about the tragedy when I attended the BIBAK-SE grand kanyaw in Williamsburg, VA alst week..thanks to Teddy and Joseph from Lagawe…so sad and so long my friend. Lowela, my condolences to you(You might not remember me…i was at your wedding). I am very sorry for your lost…to Bernard’s bothers and sisters, Allister, Glenn, Elsie…sorry can’t recall your name…mama and dad (may his soul rest in peace also, my, my)…please accept my heartfelt condolences.
    To anyone who could extend this mail to the family…thank you. My name is Johnny Punay.

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