"Someone somewhere will always be the next victim."
By Louise Coleen Magahis
The death of cadet Jonash Bondoc of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy has sparked renewed calls for justice in a rotten system that has remained in place for too long.
Bondoc was “accidentally punched” at a regular academy “traditional recognition” among the cadets. This prompted suspicions of customary hazing, which the deceased's family backed.
PMMA is one of the Philippines' army institutions, which is administered by the government of the Philippines, and is also recognized for being the country's first institution of marine studies. Being one of the military schools of the Philippines, it is bound to impose adequate discipline and develop refined and educated future defenders of the country.
But what else can the citizens expect if the organization that is meant to assist the country in finding the appropriate individuals to secure the state cannot even manage its very own system?
Jomel Gloria, another cadet, confessed to punching Bondoc resulting in his death. The suspect has been arrested by the police, but should the investigation end there? Is justice served when one confesses?
What would the other students learn if an institution's tradition among its students might lead to the end of a single life? That violence is a culture that may be accepted and completely overlooked?
In a nation where injustice outnumbers fairness, criminality frequently occurs between those who have power and those who have nothing. If this is not the case, injustices occur in the country because those in positions of authority allow them to continue.
Justice is not served after obtaining a confession and putting the culprit to languish in jail. Justice entails exposing the facts underlying the crime and identifying all those who enabled it to exist.
If the system is truly broken, it will not be remedied by making one individual responsible for the entire system's actions. If the system is genuinely flawed, the people who are responsible for its existence should be held accountable as well.
Injustices between those who are outranked and those who are in positions have existed in the Philippines since the beginning of history. In most cases like these, the people in the military, police or soldiers, are aligned against citizens.
People who are meant to bring peace to our nation are the ones who are instigating warfare, and people whose presence is supposed to make us feel secure are the ones who scare us just by looking at them.
Citizens are constantly encouraged to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Cautiousness and cognizance — these things are being encouraged more than criminality being eradicated.
If the system continues to look beyond the violence and injustice, no matter how attentive the citizens may become or how loudly people demand for justice, someone somewhere will always be the next victim.
The author is a graduating journalism student at the University of Santo Tomas.