is there justice for women in this country?

Posted: October 19, 2006 in Rants

A few weeks ago, someone almost got raped near our apartment (ro-whouse). And I could still hear our Justice Secretary talking about the Subic rape case with apparent detachment as though trivializing the whole thing with his usual smirk. I am amazed at how this country is treating its women.

It’s ironic. Really. This year is the 25th year anniversary of the ratification of the CEDAW. The Philippines is obviously one of the countries in the ASEAN that immediately ratified the convention. (FYI: incidentally, developed countries like the good ole US of A has not ratified the convention) And you expect we are very advanced in terms of advocating women’s rights. Much as we would like to appreciate the gains of the women’s movement in this country, there are so many things yet to be transformed.

Let’s start with our judicial system please.

I don’t demand for affirmative action. Or even gender blind laws. To have gender blind laws is to discount and even efface the fact that gender has to be located in political-economic and cultural studies paradigm. I don’t believe in the absoluteness of sameness because that too is an illusion. To say we are the same is to unconsciously recognize the fact that there is an Other, a difference. This is obviously the paradox of our existence, gentlemen and ladies.

I demand that we closely look at specific experiences of women and men. And strive to come up with laws that govern these specificities, as well as also, keeping the generalities in mind. After all, we are a “nation” as we would like to believe we should be. Nationhood is a construct, indeed, but for some it is a concept, an ideal, worth imagining and constructing. And of course, deconstructing. But we are not in the subject of nationhood only. We are after all dealing with gender as something that is inextricably part of the nation construct, which is the Philippines.

Judging from recent events, the judicial system in the Philippines when confronted with issues such as the Subic rape case, which involves outside forces like fucking American soldiers, has proven to me as a mere bastion of Subalternism, cowering in the face of the White Master.

We will never learn, so my friends say. One even commented that this is how the Philippine revolution was fought: Filipinos against each other. Aguinaldo vs. Bonifacio. Male revolutionary leaders creating their own factions for their own supersize egos’ interests. It wasn’t merely roughousing, mind you. Until, outside forces had to butt in and save the day– the Americans, the good ole keepers of the world, the international fucking police.

And who bore the brunt of our revolutionaries’ caprice? Women.

I cannot in all conscience even keep silent after watching the head of the prosecution panel and a woman at that (appointed by the Justice department to defend the rights of a fellow Filipina) , publicly maligning Nicole (the complainant) on TV, saying: “she is a liar,” just because this prosecutor was accused of allegedly considering on settling the case outside the court with the American soldiers accused of raping Nicole. To listen to a public prosecutor talk like that against her client is very demoralizing. Especially if it concerns a case that is (unavoidably) a matter of national interest.

Worse, she decided not to consult Nicole’s camp on last minute decisions that concerns the case. Whether it was good for Nicole to go up the stand again to rebutt the testimony of one of the accused is not even the issue. The issue here is that the head prosecutor should have consulted with Nicole. After all, Nicole is the victim here. People, let us not forget, this is not just a rape against an invidual, a lone Filipina. This is after all, a crime against us, our country, our collective, our nation–a construct we have fought many years to maintain.

The Justice Secretary’s and the head of the prosecution panel’s recent behaviors can be considered short of a betrayal. It is a betrayal against the loyalties we have held for our justice system—knowing that if ever some crime is done to us as Filipinos it will help in fighting for justice.

Come on, I assume every damn Filipino in this country are waiting for how this whole thing plays up. Will the result even restore the Filipinos trust on our Justice system?

Call me naïve or ignorant or even idealistic. But the way I see it, the Justice Secretary and his minions should put more effort in trying to project a strong face and to clearly show that it will not in any way help jeopardize the legal process.

The verdict will come out a few months from now. Whatever it is. I just wish it will satisfy my expectations and will not display the prevalent notion that the legal process in this country is non-existent. And that crimes against women are trivialized and even subjected to the carnival that is our Justice System.

  1. Aileen says:

    An officemate referred me to this post. I share your views. I have been witness to the incompetencies of the public prosecutors long before that issue was made public. I can say Nicole was not imagining the accusation.

    You might want to visit the Subic Rape Case blog. It’s at =)

  2. reefer says:

    im glad my opinions are worth reading and that they matter. thanks for the link. i’m looking forward to checking it everyday until the verdict comes out.

  3. heck, with all the derisive comments on nicole, no longer am i saddened by how many of our people think… now i’m sickened.

    good entry.

  4. […] Blogger Jester in Exile recently commented on my first blog entry about the Subic Rape Case entitled “Is There Justice for Women in this Country.” So naturally I became curious, clicked on the name and discovered a really informative blog on the subject. Scathing, yes, yet informed and critically intelligent. Jester’s arguments are worth reading. The excerpt below are just a few of his arguments that echoed my own opinion about the matter. To read Jester’s blog, click here. […]

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