Archive | February, 2011

The Fallacies of an Assistant Prosecutor

24 Feb

Quezon City Hall of Justice. 9:30AM. Today.

Vince and I can’t wait to attend the first hearing of our case. We thought that this was the first step in getting back what we lost and if not, at least justice may be served by seeing the thief behind bars. We just couldn’t let this pass.

On our way to the room assigned to us, I can’t help but imagine the scene that will face us in a few minutes. I thought of a room with the prosecutor, with seats available for (us) the complainants and the respondent/s, and a waiting area where we can stay in case the prosecutor is still working on a case. After a few minutes of hurried walking (because the clock already shows 9:20AM), we finally saw the room. But to our surprise, it was so crowded we thought we were in the lottery store. We squeezed ourselves inside to approach the prosecutor but we were informed that we have to wait for our names to be called. That means we have to stand there just like in a lottery line without any idea when we will be called. We also found out that a couple of people who were waiting there were also scheduled at 9:30AM.

What a disappointment. But I guess it’s understandable because the government don’t have much budget for more rooms or prosecutors for its citizens. So I reminded myself with the adage “patience is a virtue.”

Strike One!

A few minutes later, Vince’s name was called and at that time, I can say that it must be our lucky day. We approached the prosecutor and told her that the respondent didn’t show up. She started browsing through our file when she stopped, looking at Vince’s torso and said, “Ano yan, ha? Hindi tayo magbabarkada dito. This is the office of the city prosecutor…” Blah, blah blah.. I looked at Vince trying to understand what made her mad. It turned out that SHE DIDN’T LIKE THE IDEA THAT HIS HANDS ARE INSIDE HIS POCKETS! WTH! That’s strike one. She reacted as if she was harassed! If that really bothered her, she could have just said that she’s not uncomfortable with that kind of gesture and he would have obliged willingly. God knows how much I contained my laughter. Unbelievable.

Strike Two!

After a few minutes of ranting about Vince’s “misbehavior”, she asked, “SO WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?” In my mind, I was already freaking out, “What is it about? Why are you asking? Didn’t you read the file?”  Anyway, that’s just me though I’m sure that’s what on Vince’s mind, too. 😀 So Vince, realizing that this woman in front of us didn’t do her homework started to explain everything THAT IS IN THE FILE! When she asked if there was an agreement made with the respondent, I so wanted to tell her that everything is in the file if she will just read it. Instead, I just motioned into assisting her to get to the page she was asking about while telling her the details. Until she said… “WHO ARE YOU? WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? Sit down. ARE YOU EVEN A COLLEGE GRADUATE?” I replied, “I AM A WITNESS, NOW WHAT HAS BEING A GRADUATE HAVE TO DO WITH THIS CASE?” I wanted to say something more but I controlled myself because I am sure that my actions may greatly impact the results of the case, knowing that she is hopeless.  Why didn’t anybody tell me that a college diploma is a requisite in talking and dealing with a prosecutor? Ooops, let me correct that. She’s not even an official prosecutor. The subpoena says she’s just the assistant prosecutor! Should I have asked her, “Who are you? Why is this office letting an assistant handle our case?

She must have been shocked when I talked back at her. She started ranting about the kind of office we’re in, that she’s the prosecutor, and she’s “investigating” and that if I’m not happy with the way the investigation is going, I am free to leave the room. I replied, “Okay (with a sarcastic smile), but I’d rather stay here.” I decided to shut up after that and let Vince take over. But, no. she wasn’t satisfied with my answer. For her, “okay” is not okay.  I guess she would rather wish I cursed her or what not. She kept talking and talking about the same things (office of the prosecutor, blah, blah,blah) I WAS BEGINNING TO THINK SHE’S DELIVERING A SCRIPT OR A SPIEL IN A CALL CENTER. I just shut up and convinced myself that this is a small price to pay for the justice that we are hoping to achieve in this experience.

Strike Three!

Vince (still thinking about the case) apologized to her and explained that we were not told that there are “guidelines” in the office of the prosecutor. We didn’t know that putting your hands inside your pockets and trying to assist the prosecutor in looking for the page she needs to read are a big NO-NO. haha. Be ready for her reply. She said, “HINDI KITA KINAKAUSAP. GANYAN KA BA SA MAGULANG MO? SUMASAGOT KA BA KAHIT HINDI KA KINAKAUSAP? Blah, blah, blah…” (rants about the usual, “this is the office of the prosecutor..”) VINCE TRIED TO PUT SOME LOGICAL REASONS INTO HER NUT-SIZED BRAIN BUT IT WAS HOPELESS. She said, “ARE YOU ARGUING WITH ME? Because if you are there’s a police officer just a few steps away from you. ARE YOU A LAWYER? If not, then you might as well get a lawyer if you don’t like how this is going. (Then her usual script, blah, blah, blah) WTH?!!!!!

Vince, realizing how hopeless the situation was, just shut up. The prosecutor, as she claims, started talking about the case. (FINALLY!) Did she really have to waste our time with all that non-sense? Eventually, she pretended to write some important notes and told us that since the respondent didn’t show up, we have to go through the next scheduled hearing. If the respondent won’t show up again, she will file it for a resolution, etc…

This experience makes me realize how pathetic this country is. This is where our TAXES go– to the salaries of corrupt, incompetent, unprofessional “public servants” who doesn’t know how to reason logically. This is their version of public service. Prior to this, we had a different yet of the same level of incompetency in the barangay and police levels. They’re all the same. And anybody who dreams of “CHANGE”, might as well keep on dreaming because it’s never going to happen –at least in this country.