Stop Labeling Them (Alabang Boys)
- Sept. 7, 2011, 6 a.m.
The procedure in handling the prosecution of two of the four Alabang boys fell short of that required by the Comprehensive Drugs Act, the chain of custody rule was violated, thus they were set free. Is that the real reason for this frustrating turn of events? What was your initial reaction upon seeing this in the front page? Some say “ok lang nakulong naman sila ng tatlong taon.” Or was their detention a mere ruse under the guaranty that after three years, they’ll be set free? Thanks to the vigilance of the DOJ that filed a Motion for Reconsideration on the acquittal, something the rules on Criminal Procedure does not normally allow.
Nevertheless, the acquittal probably didn’t come as a surprise to some. They are the Alabang Boys after all.
The 1987 Constitution provides in part that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. This means that no law must be passed favoring a certain class of people unless the four requirements are met, that the classification must: 1. Rest on substantial distinction. 2. Be germane to the purpose of the law 3. Not be limited to existing conditions only and, 4. it must apply to all members of the same class (People vs. Cayat).
Albeit this refers to equality in laws passed, the spirit of the law is trampled by acts committed prior to or even simultaneous to its execution. This happens when labeling is employed. How?
When asked what he thinks of the exculpation of the said detainees, a classmate simply said “nabayaran na yun.” And the discussion ended. This goes back to the curse of corruption that has befallen our government officials. For walking the halls of governance for decades, it has become so damaging that when Filipinos attribute a defeat say in the judiciary to corruption, they just helplessly sigh and concede. It’s a long-standing custom that has held the minds of the people hostage to defeat and injustice.
An average Filipino being underhanded by corruption would simply yield. To him, the prosecutor or the wealthy defendant is not the only enemy but the entire culture of corruption. And to him, he doesn’t stand a chance.
By labeling, this entire culture is summoned once again.
A wealthy Alabang boy gets exculpated for technicality. My classmate just conceded.
This cycle is injurious, if not confiscatory, of justice. It prevents the average Filipino (who comprises the majority of the population) from challenging justice to manifest itself and give him what he’s due. Justice in the mind of the average gets held up and hidden in a dark, dingy room.
Labeling those accused as such already gave their case a special undue advantage over those apprehended say from the slums. The equal protection clause is slighted notwithstanding the equality of the law. In the mind of the average, a special class is created and will be exonerated by a custom that is corruption, against which, he is helpless. And the cycle is perpetuated as the average will soon avail of justice the way he thinks it can be conveniently availed of. The prosecutor or the judge might be able to say no, maybe not.
This is not an actionable wrong but let us do all that we can do to keep what’s left of the integrity of the judiciary. In the eyes of the law, those left in the detention are not just the Alabang boys, they are the accused in a prosecution for the possession of ecstasy and marijuana, substances injurious to Filipino families and the society consequently.
They are rightfully the accused after getting caught red-handed in a legitimate buy-bust operation. Does that make a difference than just calling them Alabang boys? Stop labeling.
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