Allow me to start my speech by giving you some facts to consider and ponder. Did you know that as of the recent survey that NationMaster. com conducted, the Philippines is ranked 18th worldwide in having the most number of prisoners? There are actually 70, 383 Filipinos behind those bars we normally see in movies and television programs. 70, 383 families have been abandoned by their loved ones who violated the laws of the constitution. 70, 383 lives have already been changed merely because of the fact that they will become “ex-convicts” by the time they are released in jail, if ever they will be freed.
But the question is: Are all of them guilty of the felony they are being accused of? Is justice rightly served to them? Are all those 70, 383 prisoners deserving to be confined in the hell prison is? Maybe. Maybe not. Justice may seem to be the most debated topic in college. It may have been a regular content of the answer of a student taking up Criminology in his professor’s tests. But justice is more than academic discussions, written answers and spoken words. Justice is more than the Definition Speech topic of the person talking to you right now.
The term justice roots out of the Latin word “justitia” meaning equality and fairness and “justus” meaning just and impartial. We normally associate the term with a blindfolded goddess holding scales and a sword which maybe symbolizing the absence of prejudice and the presence of righteousness. It is defined by YourDictionary. com as the quality of being righteous, the administration of law and the upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law. Synonymous to justice are the words fairness, impartiality, righteousness, even handedness, fair dealing and the like.
At the same time its dictionary entry is the opposite of inequality, discrimination and narrow-mindedness. To further supplement these definitions of justice, we must always look in the bigger picture. What is justice for a poor family in the Philippines? Likewise, what is it for Henry Sy and Secretary Leila de Lima? Maybe for the powerless, justice defined is being able to utilize all of their rights without any fear that in any moment, they will come across someone as influential as Manny Pacquiao or as intimidating as the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
For the more prominent ones, justice may simply be a 7 letter word bought and attained by means of money. I mean, in our world today, you can be JUST by using wealth and authority and one can be sent to prison for the same exact reason. The recent acquittal of Hubert Webb and the primary suspects in the Vizconde Massacre have raised and brought issues of injustices lately. After spending almost 15 years in jail, Webb finally have found “justice” in his acquittal as the killer of three innocent women. On the other hand, what has been known as “justice” by Lauro Vizconde has been shuttered by the Supreme Court’s decision.
Now, they are back to square one. If not Hubert Webb, who really killed the daughters and wife of Lauro? Who has really been given the elusive justice? Some say that there has been an illegal transaction between the judge and the Webb family. Others think that it is just enough to let Hubert Webb be free. Then, what really, is justice? Is it true only for the elite in the society? Is it that what many of us has been seeking for? Is it present here in our country? Justice is what the majority of the populace should be ATTAINING.
It is that sole ingredient missing in the recipe of the Philippines’ success. It is not always getting what you want in any time of the day. Actually, it is getting what’s right for you in the right time and in the right way. If we are asked the question: “What are the injustices you are experiencing right now? ” we would probably blabber about Sir Amante partially being unfair in teaching us those complex Analytical Geometry topics or the 4th year advisers soaking you in the harmful rays of the sun while the glee club members enjoying the graces of the air-conditioned music room.
For the glee club members, it would be the hectic schedule we are to strictly follow during the fair, the backaches here and there brought about by those dance steps in Telephone or Like a Prayer and not being able to reply to a special someone’s text message because of weariness. For Kate and JV, it would be the sleepless nights they have gone through in order to create a very nice FOF invitation. For Grace Gabrito, it would be the deadline of articles Miss Alarcon has set. For May-Ann, it would be the endless tasks she usually reminds us without complaining.
For Chiara DLR, it would be her housemates teasing her as a HOG and pork chop dealer. For Camille, it would be the incessant linking of her name to Ram and vice versa. And for me, it would be the sorrow of not being able to continue my college journey with you, guys. Life, sometimes, is unjust. Why do we have to meet wonderful persons along the way but in the end, forced to leave them behind? Why do we have to undergo such life-changing adjustments from to time to time? Why, inspite of our efforts to be understood, do others think that we are disabled monsters still?
Why do we have to suffer the consequences of our mistakes? Why not tell us what’s right and what’s wrong right away? Why not give those prisoners a second chance to prove themselves? LIFE’s ANSWER: It is all part of the process. We will not understand the complexity of life without going through all of those obstacles. These are not injustices. This is JUSTICE in a way or another. Many that live deserve death and many that died already deserve life. You; are you worthy of your life?