Saturday, February 24, 2007

Justice in the countryside

Justice is dispensed quite differently in the countryside.
I appeared in a municipal trial court in one remote town in Cebu.
I immediately found the stark differences between law practice in the municipalities and the metropolis.
Contrary to popular perception, justice is dispensed speedier in the countryside courts.
The reason is that disputes sometimes are resolved right there and then.
For instance, there was a case of slander between two women.
The accused sought forgiveness beofre the judge.
The complainant was asked whether she accepted the apology.
When the complainant accepted, she desisted from pursuing the case, and that's the end of it.
The judge was immeidately able to dispose of one case. No lawyers involved.
There are very very few lawyers in the towns.
In the town court where I appeared, the police officer acted as the public prosecutor or fiscal.
He is a better court room practitioner than many lawyers who tremble when inside a courtroom.
If this is the prevailing situation in many rural areas, I think there ought to be more trainings on public prosecution for policemen, because they are doing more than just police work.
They are acting as prosecutors of felonies---at least less grave felonies..
In that far away town, obviously there was no public prosecutor assigned.
I am very appreciative of my court appearances in the municipal courts.
It has been a good reality check.
What happens in the metropolitan courts is not necessarily reflective of the situation in other places, specially in remote areas.

Everytime I appear, the policeman-prosecutor would sit beside me and inquire little things about court procedures.

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