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Implement those rules already!

Rhona Canoy .

SO… When the proverbial feces hit the proverbial fan on this GCTA thing, there was quite a visceral reaction from people. The Sanchez guy and the Faeldon guy gave us all moving targets at which to aim our anger. But I’m confused. Actually, I find myself confused a lot these days.

We all became “knowledgeable” about the GCTA law. We all expressed our high level of fuzzy opinions. We all felt empowered when we raised our collective voices. We all felt appeased when the rapist killer remained behind bars. We all felt a sense of satisfaction when Faeldon got fired. So, okay. We got the results we wanted. Our lawmakers and the powers that be caved. But what do we really know?

I’m sorely tempted to spend hours and hours again on reading up on the pertinent legal materials which are available. But that sounds tedious and I’m too lazy. Besides, I don’t want to waste what’s left of my rapidly fading vision on this crap. Therefore, I guess I’m going to focus on the other thing. Us. We’re the other thing. The provider of much humor, irony, sarcastic reactions in my life. We’re that. And I’m going to be arrogant and speak for everybody, no matter what everybody thinks.

We didn’t really know much (if at all) about the GCTA deal until we didn’t like the person it was going to benefit. What does it mean again? Good Conduct Time Allowance? So we got severely distressed when we found out that Sanchez earned a lot of good time coupons to warrant his early release. For a heinous crime. Just before that, though, three guys from Cebu who also committed a heinous crime involving two sisters similarly raped, killed, and tossed into a ditch in a secluded stretch of highway–they were released. I don’t recall there was much objection to that.

So I guess everything boiled down to the Implementing Rules and Regulations for this law. That it was misinterpreted? That it was wrongly written? That the people implementing the program didn’t know as much as they should have? That our president was just as ignorant as everybody else? The expectations were overwhelming, almost impossible to meet. And sadly for us common folks, our ignorance only highlights the sorry state of legal affairs our country continues to function under.

Listen, I’m not a lawyer. Never wanted to be. So I’m going to leave the proper discussion on this matter to fellow columnist and classmate, Atty. Egay Uy. I’m just spitting out uninformed opinion like the next Juana. But I’m a bigger picture kind of gal. Therefore, I’m not going to scrutinize just the GCTA. I’m going to poke at the beehive of ignorance in which we live.

How many laws do we actually know nothing about? Which affect us in spite of our ignorance? How many of us actually knew that laws don’t get implemented until there is a set of IRR’s, which is authored not by the person who wrote the law, but rather by people in authority in the department or agency which is tasked to implement the said law? Some brilliant mind recently said to me: “That’s why the laws are written in such a vague manner. The IRR’s actually matter more than the law.” So now I’m thoroughly confused.

It turns out that the writers of the IRR don’t need approval from anyone else except themselves to put the rules into play. The lawmaker may not be knowledgeable about the IRR. Although I’m sure they are copy-furnished. But I suppose at that point, they are no longer interested, since they’ve got their name or names on the list of guys who wrote bills that were passed into law.

I was introduced into the power and stupidity of IRR’s when I was trying to question the Enhanced Basic Education law which created the senior high school program. Those were a naddening couple of years for me, reading this treatise which obviously was not written by educators, but rather by the powers that be of the Department of Education and Ched. Anyone who has risen so high in the levels of bureaucracy usually lose sight of their original mission and vision. So I’m almost sure the same thing happened at DOJ and Bucor regarding their IRR for the GCTA.

But back to the bigger picture. Maybe we should also try to be knowledgeable about the IRR’s for laws that govern graft and corruption, that govern how errant public officials can be held accountable, that govern how prices of commodities can be controlled, that govern the rice tariff act. All the laws that directly affect us. We should try to be knowledgeable about how these laws are to be implemented. So that we can truly be empowered to raise our voices and our protesting fists. So that we can make these fools who run our lives listen and pay attention.

If Sanchez gets released, he’s too far away for me to consider him a threat. My body is too unappealing for me to consider him a threat. And I don’t know that he still has it in him for me to consider him a threat. Here’s the other thing. In other correctional systems in other countries, there have been people who committed heinous crimes who were found to be not guilty after technology developed enough to re-examine the evidence. But I guess that’s different from a GCTA.

All this is too exhausting. I’m not saying Faeldon didn’t deserve to be fired… or maybe he did. And I’m certainly not saying that Sanchez doesn’t deserve to be released… or maybe he does. I actually worry more about those three idiots from Cebu who got released. I hope they’ve been collected. They’re closer to where we live. Now, about those others who were released, but managed to stay under the radar–should I worry about them? And should we just keep people in prison to avoid brouhahas like this? What if those guys in there really did wake up to the light? What if they really are becoming better people?

See? We wouldn’t even be having this ridiculous conversation if we enforced the death penalty for heinous crimes.


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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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