So many topics to blog about and so little time to do it in. I apologize to any readers I have out there for any delay between my opinions and the news.
Recently three Filipinos were caught and convicted of being drug mules in China and were sentenced to death. Naturally there was an uproar in our country and a demand given to the Chinese government for the commutation of the death sentence. We even sent our vice-president to negotiate with the Chinese over the issue.
First off, if we really wanted to help our innocent countrymen, wouldn’t we be better off sending our best lawyers who are versed in Chinese jurisprudence to appeal their cases? I understand that there were overwhelming evidence against them. Still if we believe in them then maybe we could argue that the drugs were planted? Maybe they were framed? Or it was not their bag and it was just an unhappy coincidence? If they are innocent why send a negotiator to beg for favor when we can send our best lawyers to fight for their freedom?
Of course the whole argument is only valid if they are indeed innocent. Which we knew that they were not. We knew they were guilty of the crime and yet we are still angry at the Chinese government for convicting them. We still ask for leniency knowing full well that they broke the law. What arrogance we as a people have. Are we some sort of exalted country, whose citizens are somehow immune to the laws of the nations we visit? It’s a wonder that any nations would welcome us into their borders if we are.
I wonder how we would react if a fictional foreigner, lets call him Daniel Smith, came into our country and violated our laws. He then gets caught and convicted. Then asks his mother country to intervene and either commute the sentence or totally exonerate him for it. Would we smile and give way, I wonder? Or would we fight and complain and stress that he broke the laws of our country, hurt our people, and must be punished for it. Why do we think the Chinese should react differently than we would and have? Do we believe that we are inherently better than them? So much so that we believe our citizens have partial or total immunity from laws in places they visit while they have none here? Why should China’s own citizens be punished more for committing the same crimes that ours have? In their own country no less.
We then take the low road. Offering snide comments only the small fish are being caught while the big ones are let free. Insinuating bias against our countrymen and implying that they should be set free. Did the Chinese do something wrong in arresting the minions? Were they not supposed to catch the “small fish” while at the same time building a case against the bigger ones? Think of the consequences of the suggestion. What would prevent people from becoming drug mules if there was no punishment involved? What would motivate them to stay in regular law abiding jobs, if they can get so much more pay as drug minions. At no risk to themselves to boot. Would not the kingpins organization prosper at this? They would have so many applicants that they can take the best people and put them to work for the cartel. Whether we like it or not catching the drug mules is part and parcel of going after the kingpins.
The whole thing is just disappointing. I have long thought that we have a false sense of entitlement buried in our national consciousness which makes me expect this type of reaction. It probably has something to do with our successes in people power or some other historical occurrence. What is truly disappointing is that not one person had the courage to tell the popular opinion that it might be wrong. It might just be acting like a spoiled brat. Instead you have Binay, Roxas, and the president….. our glorious leader, bending over backward to try and arrange clemency. It is just so disheartening. How can we expect meaningful change with leaders such as these?
There is nothing wrong with attempting to help our fellow countrymen. But help them in such a way that shows other countries that we respect them as well. Nations, like people, interact with each other with the expectation of mutual benefit. Remove that from the equation and no nation will want to deal with us again. Like I send earlier. Send in the best lawyers. Prove that they are blameless. But… but… if they truly have wronged then they must bear the consequences. It is what we would demand others do.