Friday, October 26, 2007

The Bigger Picture In the Presidential Pardon

A president granting absolute pardon to a convicted and impeached president-predecessor is historic indeed. It will give people today and future generations opportunity to debate and evaluate. The pardon covers a multitude of sins which are now left to Divine Justice – cum – Mercy to resolve. In a death-bed scene, a dying person might hear God saying: “I will forgive you, I know you have already suffered, but you should be purified some more in purgatory.”

On this occasion we are thinking of the many prisoners whose crimes of lesser gravity have not been proven and yet continue to suffer from the fact of “justice delayed justice denied.” Will they be given the same privilege or consideration? The pardoned president could not be more privileged, considering the many prisoners with lesser crimes of plunder and injustice who are rotting in jail only because they have no influence with the government and justice system. No wonder the statue of justice has covered eyes, ‘para walang favoritism.’

The pardoning president has spoken; the case ends there. But where is “restorative justice?”

We appeal for the many prisoners who may also deserve the same clemency for the sake of their poor families. A president pardoning a convicted president may have bigger implications than meet our eyes now. And so reflection must continue, but this time with civil society. May it bear the desired fruit of unity and reconciliation.

Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo
October 26, 2007

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