Thursday, February 17, 2011


A Plea to China

I am making this plea on behalf of my fellow citizens convicted of drug trafficking in your Republic. I am fully cognizant of the penalty that your law prescribes for such an offense. Having said that, I am also duly compelled to respect the law of your land with due recognition to the sovereign will of the one Chinese nation. This is why I am not making this an appeal to the law.

I am making this as a plea to your sense of justice.

Your civilization is old and your history learned. Through all those years, the virtues of your people have shaped the form of your civil society and the laws that govern its necessary peace. I myself have read, studied and reflected on it. It is also part of my culture here in the Philippines.

Indeed, your common experience as a nation is both varied as it is also diverse. This kind of tempering, through which all nations are subject, in the long withering away of time, must have unfolded through great adversity, as a flowering of the wisdom of your culture.

Therefore, I am making this plea in good faith to your sense of common humanity. Because law is constrained by its incidence in time, but virtue is timeless and resides in the wisdom of nations. Justice is such a virtue.

A great demographic of my people are presently living in poverty. We, like your nation, is also inescapably involved in that inevitable struggle to mature into our necessary ages in time. Those three Filipinos who were convicted by your court are part of this demographic.

That the poor in our humanity are vulnerable to exploitation is an inherent trait of the evil of every age, and one that is universally expressed in the strictures of all human moral traditions meant to counter it, as well as the laws, derived from these, meant to bind it.

It is clear to me that my compatriots were exploited, and their humanity violated. They were either deceived or coerced or both into exposing themselves to the penalties of your law by those who intend to defeat it. They were acting as drug mules.

And they were indeed vulnerable to this exploitation for the simple reason that they were poor. The were overcome by evil intentions. And they succumbed to it not by their own choice because they were, in fact, not given a choice. It is the unhappy circumstance of those who are in need to be vulnerable in this way. Prudential action, in this case, is often not the luxury of poor people. There are entire institutions of state that serve this cause.

Prudence here require an act of justice. Evil when repaid with more evil propagates it. Law by itself is not cognizant of this unless it is animated by the spirit of justice.

If this primary mitigating circumstance is ignored, the poor in my own Country will all the more become vulnerable. They will all the more feel defeated and unrecognized for their being in need.

And what of their immediate kin and kith? They themselves will feel deprived of the very causes that are meant to guide and to help their human development. These causes are universal and are present in the essence of every undertaking of Country because they are also present in the longings of every human heart.

Our Republic undertaking does not have legal recourse to capital punishment. This is the choice of my nation and one that is expressed in our laws. As a courtesy to our Republic undertaking, this is a secondary consideration. For what good there is in one Country is also the potential good of another. No nation learns in isolation. No Country matures on its own. There is an unspoken kinship that have long been eclipsed by the conflicts of the last age, among peoples, that through it all has always been.

It is in this spirit of a common humanity that I make my plea to you, the one Chinese nation and the older Republic that serves your people, trusting that those kinship bonds of good will have always remained between our two nations, to hear out the concerns that impassions me and my compatriots regarding that case of the three convicted.

I am humbled by the occasion to communicate this to you and thankful for your consideration.

Peace is all that I desire for your nation.