Dr. Iggy, judicial reform

Dr. Iggy, judicial reform

Dear Editor,

Dura lex sed lex. The law may be harsh, but it is the law. Diabolic.

The court seemed to have ruled purely based on the failure of the defendant's counsel to file the Memorandum of Appeal within a given/required time. Thus, Dr. Benigno "Iggy" Agbayani Jr. was sentenced and put in prison at the Manila City Jail like he was guilty or declared guilty of the crime of reckless imprudence that stemmed from the case filed by his erstwhile patient, Atty. Saul Hofilena Jr.

But the big question is, why would a client suffer because of technicality failure on the part of the lawyer? Should it not be the lawyer who must suffer and be jailed, though not necessarily suffer a massive heart attack and die inside a city jail exactly as what happened to Dr. Iggy last 5 October while serving his sentence?

Or should it be about time for the government to do a massive overhaul of our justice system and effect the much-needed, long-overdue reforms in the entire judiciary?

How rotten and corrupt is the justice system we have in the country?

You can name names and make your own count. How many rich, powerful, and famous people have been convicted of crimes and jailed (thus far) for a period of time that they deserve — compared to ordinary criminals and law offenders? It is not an overstatement by percentage to say that it is about 0 percent against 99 percent, lamentably.

Crooks and criminals in important government positions (past and present) are emboldened by the very system of "justice" that prevails in our courts of law, politically pestered and corrupt as it can be — much unlike in other Asian countries where politicians and government officials are not seen and treated as demigods, and where laws and technicalities are not equal to justice. 

This is not to mention the countless others who should have been convicted and suffering for the crimes that they have committed.

The few who get convicted and punished (mostly) are the small, poor, destitute, powerless, insignificant, and uninfluential people who cannot afford to hire good (or serpent-wise) lawyers. 

Yet the biggies and chief culprits, the well-connected, well-oiled, and well-entrenched, go scot-free. The convicted and imprisoned Janet Napoles is a case in point. She became famous only when implicated in the pork barrel scams/anomalies. But where are the big fishes now, the masterminds, the real and main culprits?

In the case of Agbayani and Hofilena, the latter happens to be more famous and influential than the former, who was just an outstanding, humble, politically powerless, good-hearted, compassionate, unassuming doctor of medicine.

Are our courts of law merely arenas for lawyers to play their games, and for the crooks and thugs in the halls of power to frolic their tricks?

Reni M. Valenzuela


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