how much is your freedom worth?

i always have mixed feelings when i am in the province.

i have left home to enter university when i was 15 and i haven’t been able to stay at home for longer than a month since then. 15 years later, i still look at San Carlos and wonder how families can survive in a city that absolutely lacks or has no decent condition on all necessities required for an individual to live comfortably but at the same time, has modern amenities and structures that really, we all could do away without (aren’t people aware of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? what do you need sprawling parks for if you cannot even provide enough hospital beds for your residents?).

yesterday while mother and i were at my uncle’s store, we got into a discussion about where to distribute the remaining teeshirts we got as donation from a number of people. five years ago, i started distributing 100 christmas baskets to less fortunate people in our city (it would have been nice to do more but i could only afford 100 recipients!). this year, Zsolt and Ray (Jesse’s boyfriend) put in some stacks of shirts we can add to the basket and we ended up having some extras after we have distributed 100 gifts to Pedicab Drivers. my uncle recommended we should give away the shirts to the prisoners at the City Jail. i thought it was a good idea.

most of them are really more like detainees than prisoners; they have been stuck under bars pending the schedule for their respective hearings. some of them have been there for years, way more than what they would have ended up serving if their case have been heard promptly when they were first detained. in worse cases, a number of them may have been clearly a victim of false accusations.

and the only reason they are stuck behind bars for years is because they do not have money to post bail (where in a number of cases they could be as low as Php5,000 pesos).

we have so many lawyers- where the fuck are they? where is our judge in all these? what other urgent stuff people in our legal department been working their asses on for years that this has never been entertained?

it makes me angry because i see drug addicts and drug pushers and murderers and criminals loitering around the city because they can afford to pay for their temporary freedom. and by the speed into which cases are being reviewed, they may as well have walked free.

it makes me angry because it is not fair. you are accused of stealing three chickens and you get stuck behind bars for years because no one is entertaining your case and you do not have money to post bail either. and the drug pusher in the other cell who have destroyed countless lives have barely warmed up their jail bed and is now celebrating christmas with their family spending the money they got illegally (talk about not paying taxes on those!).

it makes me angry because i do not understand what our lawyers are doing. surely, you have not endured four freaking years of law school to pass the board exam only to turn a blind eye on all the injustices of this world. how hard is it to do a pro-bono and work on two or three cases a year and make the lives of two or three families better?

it makes me angry because i want to help and i do not know how. and (on a lighter note), it is always easier to pinpoint flaws than make a difference. i guess i am in no way better because the closest i have ever done about this is write about it. i am not sure though how effective an eight-month pregnant woman making noises about the injustice in the justice system in our laidback, lousy city.

have we really become so indifferent these days? has poverty- financially, spiritually and emotionally- changed us for the worse?

how do you explain something like this to your daughter?

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