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A judge speaks on Philippine injustices

August 30, 2015 · 

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A human rights advocate, a prominent retired judge and well known US Attorney Frederick Norton has written a challenging reflection on Philippine injustice and the wrongful imprisonment of children and victims of alleged frame up and police and extortion.
He is familiar with the heart wrenching images and harsh cruel realities of children held in detention centers and behind bars with older inmates in Metro Manila. Judge Frederick Norton (RET) makes a scathing comment on how the Philippine leadership is losing its soul by allowing such injustices.

He comments on the case of Enda Coughlain,the  Irish psychiatric nurse allegedly framed up and who refused to bribe his way out of the  false charges and was sentenced to 12 years by a judge. Below is the comment of distinguished retired judge Attorney Fredrick Norton. Preda news

 

When Leadership Fails

Retired Judge Attorney Fredrick Norton.

28 August 2015

 

What does it say about the leadership in a country that imprisons children who have yet to reach the age of reason? What does it say about a democracy where corruption fills the legislative halls and the scabs of greed have hardened? What does it say about a government where the scales of justice weigh in favor of the amount of gold and silver that is placed on the plate instead of a system of justice that is truthfully blind and one that brings confidence to those who seek the sanctity of the laws of a nation?
As for the weak and the powerless, how is it possible to turn a blind eye to the hundreds of children imprisoned for being children who are used by the powerful solely for profit? It were better for those who have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to such children jailed in conditions not fit for the dignity of any human to have the proverbial millstone hung around their necks and tossed into the sea. And think of just one child, alone and frightened and hungry and thirsty and imprisoned. In some nations, animals have more protections and are better cared for than many of the children and youth that are imprisoned in Philippine jails. Is it true that some animals have a status somewhere between God and man?!

And so, I see Christ inside those bars that “house” children who are discarded and wonder if the leadership in a country that treats its most vulnerable as trash and turns its back on the youth that represents the future of the Philippines believes in a brighter future for their children and for their children’s children to the third and fourth generation or rather finds wealth no matter how obtained to be the be all and the end all of a life worth living.

To be fair, I must recognize that there is a strong effort to rectify

and address the unfair treatment suffered by so many young children. But

if the doors to so many cells continue to be opened and the endemic attitude continues and is allowed to fester with less than a concerted effort to amend the horrors of not only imprisoning children but of imprisoning children in the same cage and in the same filth infested cells with abusive adults what may this nation under God expect for its continued survival?

And let this be a further appeal for Enda Coughlan.

What may be considered a minor abuse of a system of justice is the treatment given or rather not given to an unknown and forgotten nurse who cannot leave the Philippines to return home. It brings to mind the injustice we here in the United States recognize in Iran where even a one-sided nuclear agreement does not allow for four hostages to be returned home to their families. May it not be said that Mr. Enda Coughlan is a hostage, held against his will, without the opportunity to be heard on such a minor charge as possession of marijuana and one that is more likely than not a case of entrapment? Has he not served his time walking freely among the people of a foreign land yet imprisoned in a country not his home and away from his family? Four walls do not a prison make nor iron bars a cage.

How the less fortunate and the weak and society’s outcasts are treated reflects greatly on a nation’s leadership qualities and on its soul. And the rich young man walked away from Christ because he had so many riches that he didn’t want to sell and give to the poor. Let us reflect on what kind of leader he would have made.
Frederick C. Norton, Esq.

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