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March 31, 2011

Dura Lex Sed Lex

"The law may be harsh but it is the law". Perhaps that is the point the Chinese government was trying to make when they pushed through with the execution of the 3 convicted Filipino drug couriers caught in China. It was yet another sad moment though for Philippine history, almost reminiscent of the Flor Contemplacion case in the 1990's during the Ramos Administration. While the two cases are entirely different, these only show us the hazards faced by OFW's. For the 3 executed Filipino drug mules, they only emphasize the vulnerability our poor Filipino people desperate to earn some money for their family to the exploitation of these drug traffickers and syndicates. It is a sad moment for their families. Despite the actions taken by the Philippine government, China stood by its decision to execute them. According to the Chinese government, they are more worried about their drug problems than their public image. After all, I personally think China has never been worried about its public image in the international stage.

The Philippines nonetheless is quite the opposite. We are to some degree quite conscious about our public image and our relations with other countries. In fact, to "appease" the Chinese government, our President did not even attend the handing of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese Human Rights Activist. Of course, that was I think a wrong choice from a moral perspective. By not attending the ceremony, we sided with a Government that is allegedly violating human rights. By doing so, we have contradicted our national values of Freedom and Liberty. It becomes a precedent and perhaps an unspoken policy for the Aquino administration that we are willing to compromise our national ideals for the sake of our international relationships.

However, I could not blame the Chinese government. If according to their laws a person found guilty of any crime related to drugs must be punished by execution, then no one is to be exempted, provided that all due process was exhausted and the accused was given a fair trial. In a Communist government I am not quite confident however if such fairness does exist.

Be that as it may, there is a lesson to be learned here. The Philippine government must henceforth also enforce its laws without discrimination and with all fairness. The sad reality though, in the Philippines, drug lords and syndicates are not even jailed and punished. Some of these drug lords and syndicates are of Chinese descent. Some of our business tycoons who are of Chinese descent are even accused of allegedly not paying their taxes. Some of these Chinese business owners are even accused of allegedly not paying their employees the right and proper wages and benefits in accordance with our labor laws. I am not saying that we should show some form of discrimination against our Filipino-Chinese brothers and sisters. All I am saying is, if China was not lenient with its laws against citizens of an Asian neighbor, who were perhaps only exploited by bigger personalities in the illicit drug network, then the Philippine government should also not be lenient with its laws against citizens of other countries, particularly China.

After all, Dura Lex Sed Lex.

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