On Devouring our Young

14344843_10153791222196722_2271404665455213075_nI remember during the Flor Contemplacion case, the furor and appeals to emotion by the Filipinos, while the Singaporeans scratched their heads and wondered what all the fuss was about, since the rule of law to them was non-negotiable and did not hinge on “compassion”. Two different mindsets, two different systems, two different outcomes.

I am upset about the Mary Jane Veloso case. She is not the first, nor will she be the last, to meet tragedy, deception and abuse abroad. Not until this country is rich enough to offer decent jobs to everyone. That is the real crime, sending our most vulnerable and tossing them to the rough waters. Para tayong pamilya na kumakain ng sariling anak.

At the same time, I also realize we have to respect other nation’s laws. We are truly a drama nation, a “soft and forgiving culture”. Is it because drama works in our own justice system? Is that why the rule of law here is so elusive?

This is a picture of Goya’s Saturn Devouring his Son. I was able to see this in Madrid and was shocked at the graphic violence depicted. There are varying interpretations of this famous painting. For Filipinos, it may as well be the violence of our poverty and ignorance, the violence of relying on overseas remittances to feed our appetites.

Charles Englund

September 2016


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