Two contrasting headlines dominate Philippine newspapers this morning. On one hand, the United States indicts Pork Barrel Queen Janet Lim Napoles and kin for money laundering. On the other, Malacanang fires Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang after suspending him for disclosing President Duterte’s bank transactions.
This is a tale of two kinds of justice. On one hand, a foreign country went after the accused swiftly. On the other, it is the suspects going after the investigators. This reflects a worrying culture of selective and fake justice that must not be allowed to thrive in the Philippines.
We have been witnessing many forms of swift political persecution under this administration. Thousands killed in a ruthless and bloody war against drugs. Fishermen not allowed to fish in our waters. Local officials being assassinated. Workers being violently dispersed while exercising their rights to protest.
Yet cronies are allowed leeway and, while they were initially dismissed from their positions, they are also easily reassigned to assume some other position of power. Until now, there are no answers to be had in the Bureau of Customs multi-billion drug smuggling scandal. These, among many others, indicate misguided priorities in this administration.
We call on the Department of Justice to expedite investigations on the pork barrel scam. We urge the Ombudsman to delve deeper into the dismissal of Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang. Lastly, we call on our people to be vigilant in the face of selective justice.
Impunity has no place in our democracy.