Dominador Awiten .
TO punish an offense is a sovereign act of the State. Thus, the Revised Penal Code states: “No penalty is imposed except pursuant to a law.”
The prosecution for a criminal offense is in the name of the People of the Philippines, in whom sovereignty resides and from whom all governmental authority comes.
The penal law is enacted in the exercise of the police power of the State. Police power, or the regulation of behavior, has been held to be the “most pervasive, the least illimitable” of the powers of the State.
Still and all, the overriding limitation on the exercise of police power is the necessity of adherence to due process of law, the substantive aspect of which is meant that a person’s right to life, liberty or property is free from unreasonable government interference; while the procedural aspect requires that such interference must give prior notice and hearing to sanction an act or omission that the law proscribes.
The Arrest, Trial
and Execution of Jesus
We now make an evaluation of the trial and punishment of Jesus, guided by the views of legal experts who studied the prevailing Jewish Law and Roman Law at that time.
The evaluation is unavoidably based on the text of the Gospels. They are not in the strict sense historical narratives of facts, but are considered, in the main, articulations of faith that had been passed on as “tradition.” In law, tradition is a derivative mode of acquisition or passing of ownership or title.
There are several reasons advanced on the illegality of the criminal prosecution of Jesus.
It is remarked that Jesus was subjected to several and successive trials immediately after his arrest without warrant in a short span of less than twenty four hours: before Anas who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas; the Chief Priest in Jerusalem; before Caiaphas himself; before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, who turned over the case to King Herod (who was in Jerusalem at the time for the Passover celebration), on the suggestion that Jesus was a resident of Galilee; in turn, Herod remanded the matter back to Pilate because the cause for the prosecution of Jesus already became treason against Caesar.
The train of trials, and the circumstances of time, place, and non-observance of both Jewish religious and Imperial law all negate a valid prosecution and judgment. The arrest and the custodial inquest of Jesus were done at night time. There were no specific witnesses to testify against Jesus, except the members of the Sanhedrin who were both prosecutors and judges all at once; and the evidence made as basis for convicting him for blasphemy was his own brief answers to their repeated question if he was the Messiah. Self-incriminating statements are supposedly taboo in a legal trial.
The blasphemy attributed to Jesus’s own words claiming oneness with the Father was, eventually, turned to being an intent of a rebellion against the Roman dominion, taking as context the very public, angry and violent dispersal by Jesus of tradesmen and money changers at the Temple.
The penalty of execution by crucifixion Pilate hesitated to decree because of its tenuousness, there being insufficient evidence and the apparent inapplicability of Roman Law to the accusations against Jesus. Pilate found Jesus innocent, yet he cowardly acquiesced to the Jewish mob’s insistence for Jesus to die for being allegedly a threat to Rome.
Crucifixion was hurriedly, and inappropriately, done since the custom was to hold it in a plain setting, not on a hill.
Later, the resurrection that Jesus’s disciples claimed to have happened afterward became the core, and the keystone, argument of Paul that Jesus was, and is, the Messiah.
Objections to the Motorcycle
We now turn our attention to the recent hullabaloo arising from the enactment of the law that requires the placement of plates at several sides of a motorcycle, such measure being for crime prevention.
The immediate, loud, and incessant outcry from motorcycle owners and riders is that the law is unreasonable for being an unjust caricature of motorcycles as instruments or tools of crime. The law is almost like a bill of attainder that seems to treat motorcycle riding as a prelude to a criminal intent, instead of it being a viable, facilitative mode of moving persons from place to place at an affordable cost.
At the recent public consultation here conducted by the Land Transportation Office, Regional Director Nelson S. Manaloto allayed the objections against the new law, pointing out the role of the Congress in the continuing oversight of the law’s implementation as well as the qualification that the penal provision of the law will start to be applied only after Dec. 31, 2019, when by such time the refinements for the smooth and publicly accepted implementation of the law will have been set in place.