PEOPLE are asking, where do we go from here? They are referring to the controversial impeachment case we just had. It’s still a very hot, volatile issue, with very dangerous possibilities, what with all the people sharply divided about the issue.
I would say, let’s just wait a little, allow the air to clear up a bit, and see where the wind, or better still, the Spirit, will take us. I believe we will see the direction soon. In the meantime, let’s talk about the grave duty we have to continue pursuing justice.
This is what we have to understand very well. Justice is a very dynamic affair. We have to look for it constantly, live it more faithfully, and perfect it as much as we can. We have to be wary when we think we already have justice in hand, because that at best is only partly true, with many parts distorted.
Let’s be careful with the temptation to go into easy and reckless sloganeering—“The conviction of CJ was a triumph of justice,” etc.—because most likely, we would miss the point, gloss over many other crucial considerations, and succumb to all kinds of simplism and injustice itself.
During the trial itself, I saw a lot of rash judgments, herd mentality in action, public lynching, name-calling galore, dizzying spins, fault-finding, grandstanding, wrangling, tit-for-tat verbal brawls, partisan political and ideological biases, etc. These could not be justice. No way.
The accused was treated like a dog, with all sorts of anomalies heaped on him. The accusers were painted like haloed saints, which made many people laugh. Both sides indulged in character assassinations. It was a terrifying open season for all forms of lack of charity. I felt like many of us sank into lower levels and forms of life.
Even if the trial went by strict legal rules, we can still find imperfections that need correction and polishing. But it also went by shifty political rules, and the imperfections are even magnified. Justice? No way. Well, ok, there’s a little, conceded, but I feel there’s more injustice than justice.
And when the verdict came, I read a lot of comments, and the same things pop up. Justice? Where, oh where are you? I just hope no lightning or similar disaster would strike us as a people as a sign of divine retribution. I find the whole episode ugly, even if precious lessons can also be learned.
We need to go back to the real source of justice. And this is God. We have to overcome whatever awkwardness we may have in openly basing our justice on God.
When our sense of justice is not properly moored there, well, we can expect a lot of adventurism that can give us the deceptive feeling it’s more fun in the Philippines.
Of course, such adventurism can also cause disasters, terrible ones, and so, let’s also be prepared for them. This should give us all the more reason that in pursuing justice, we really should deepen our understanding of it. Truth is, our collective sense of justice is eons away from the ideal.
When we make an effort to stay close with God, we can see things better, we can be more objective and more broad-minded. Our sense of justice will always include mercy, compassion and magnanimity. It’s always a constructive, healing justice that we get, not the destructive penal and vindictive one.
When our justice is not based on God, we would not really know what we owe to others, which is the very heart of justice. Without God, we can think only in terms of commutative, distributive, legal and social justice, with politics and other forms of human weakness spoiling things.
Without God, we would be at the mercy of our prejudices and weaknesses, not to mention the temptations and the evil machinations of so-called smart men.
But given our true nature and dignity, as taught to us by our Christian faith and by a dispassionate study of our condition as persons, we deserve a lot more than these human forms of justice.
Man deserves to be forgiven, to be understood, to be helped and rehabilitated if needed, and not just left out in the open twisting in the wind. We should not dwell too much on the mistakes of the past, but rather let’s look forward to the future.
That’s why true justice includes mercy always. I agree with what someone said once: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” Let’s stop playing hypocrites.