Dura lex sed lex. The law may be harsh, but it is the law. Diabolic.
The court seemed to have ruled purely on the basis of 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 have to suffer on account 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 October 5 while serving his sentence?
Or, should it be about time for the government to do massive overhauling 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? Courts may err in applying technicalities to convict an innocent and can use technicalities to exculpate the guilty. No wonder, it is common in prison camps that the guilty are released and the innocent are the ones that remain languishing (eternally) as Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL). Indeed deprived, unjustly.
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 and based on the law – compared to ordinary criminals and petty law offenders? By percentage, it is not an overstatement to say that it is about 0% against 99%, lamentably.
Crooks and thugs in important government positions (past and present) are emboldened by the very system of “justice” that prevail in our courts of law, politically-pestered and putrid 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 ones by far who get convicted and punished (mostly) are the small, poor, destitute, powerless, insignificant, 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 she was 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, it is the latter who apparently happens to be more famous and powerful than the former – being a lawyer, prolific author, state solicitor, law professor, law school dean, “kabaro,” and newspaper columnist – while the former was just an outstanding, humble, politically powerless, good-hearted, compassionate, unassuming doctor of medicine. The same is true in the case of Leila de De Lima, vis-a-vis the trumped up cases filed against her during Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
Are our courts of law merely arenas for lawyers to play their games, and for the wolves, vultures and crocodiles in the halls of power to frolic their tricks?