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

Do we forgive?

The release of Claudio Teehankee Jr. certainly kicked up a shit-storm, dint it? Now, whether it was clemency or his sentence ran out, I think the reaction would not have been different. In the end, it’s not how he got released that really matters. What matters is that he got out of the hole that we put him in so that society could forget about him; he got out of the oubliette.

Parenthetically, the same reaction rippled through genteel society when the Ilaga Manero went free.

Y’see, that’s what a prison is, in the gospel according to Rom: a place where a loathsome person is placed so that the rest of the people can forget what they know they can be. Wiesel (I think) wrote about the banality of evil. Teehankee – with his droopy eyes – is proof of that. Beneath that placid exterior, Teehankee was obviously capable of explosive evil. In that, he is not too different from most of us. That’s what makes him so repulsive. And that’s the raw nerve his release touched. 

And that’s why the death penalty is necessary. We don’t forgive. We try to forget, but as soon as we are reminded of these criminals, we are just as angry as we used to be. Wouldn’t it be better then, to just speed them on their way off this mortal coil? That would help to forget the bad man, and it would be more economical too, not to put too fine a point on it.

Paradoxically, our inability to forgive is also a very good justification for the abolition of the death penalty. In many cases, it is infinitely more satisfying to forget him with the knowledge that the bad man is suffering in prison than to know for a fact that he is dead and, therefore, beyond our hatred. Hence the outrage at Teehankee’s release and the recentlypublished photos of his prison cell. We feel that he never suffered in the first place, and now he’s free, presumably with access to his family’s money and the good life that money can bring. It rubs our sense of poetic justice all wrong. 

The way to get these two ideas together, I suppose, would be to remove the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and inhuman punishments. I mean, think about it. We kill the bad guy so that we never have to forgive him (and all the usual arguments like, ‘so he can’t do it again’); and we do it with the utmost pain possible so as to satisfy our wish for him to suffer. And never mind the bad guy’s rights. I mean, he lost his right to be treated humanely when he showed himself less than human, didn’t he?

Instead of the relatively quick and painless death by lethal injection then, how about …

  • Death by firing squad, where the firing squad doesn’t shoot all at once. The guy’ll prolly be shiting his pants wondering whether the next shot will be the one that kills him; 
  • Multi-day execution where you do the firing squad russian roulette thing, but make sure that on day one, there will be no real kill; and
  • Death by ant-bite. Yeesh. That’d be something. This one I’d reserve for child rapists.

Under this theory, I imagine Teehankee could be executed by ant-bite. I’d have said death by starving pigs, but that’d be so Hannibal Lecter.


Filed under: crime, law and order, society, , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. redux. you. scary.


  2. BrianB says:

    I vote for ant-bite. My parents used to threaten me with ants and I understand the poetry of it. Hell Zero.

  3. cvj says:

    I was thinking more of catapult (or trebuchet) from the top of one of the buildings in Makati. It would be fun to watch and hear their screams.

  4. Jen says:

    Ant-bite, ftw!
    Or put him in a coffin and fill it up with rats…ala fear factor pero here, walang time limit….and most of all, walang prize.

  5. BrianB says:

    Jen, cvj,

    Ant bites is an indigenous means of torture. I say lets not stray too far.

  6. Bencard says:

    the above comments clearly illustrate how evil begets evil, how evil triumphs in the process.

  7. Czar says:

    i was watching probe last night and yes… this teehankee guy made my head heat up…
    hell he should be executed for the thing that he did…
    i think this is a bad move by msr. arroyo… i mean she is already too unpopular and she did this?? what the hell are you thinking madam know the pilipino people have a strong sense of justice, why are you rubbing this thing on our noses.
    well, maybe the “good president” thinks “well i’m unpopular anyway so to hell with, i’m setting this guy free…if you guys hates me, then consider this a gift to annoy you”

    maybe someone should have stick a knife on his side “by accident” while he was in prison….

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