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Peace with justice

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(BY: RIC ADJAWIE) “Peace with justice!” This has been the anguished cry of the Fallen 44’s families and relatives since January 26th  as shared silently but no less grievously by their friends and comrades-in-arms.  As bits and pieces of information about a gruesome “overkill” emerged, the now subdued cry must have intensified and become somewhat vengeful, understandably, yet still firmly anchored on a firm belief in God and our democratic values.

Inevitably, their cry profoundly touched the hearts and minds of a great number of our countrymen at all levels of society as its echo rang clearly during the congressional hearings on the “Mamasapano Incident.”  For sure, its muted sound will not be missed as the congressional hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is resumed early this month.  But is the grieving families and relatives’ concept of “peace with justice” the same as that of their friends, their fallen heroes’ comrades-in-arms, and their countless sympathizers nationwide?

In an attempt to divine what is in the minds of the afflicted as well as affected  groups,  I humbly offer the succeeding ideations and suppositions.  Peace, according to an internet source, is of three (3) kinds:  (a) Inner Peace – the quiet restfulness of the  soul;  (b) Outer Peace – the people we associate with and the environments we encounter;  and (c) World Peace – the global community as a whole.  (“Three Types of Peace,” http://medium.com)   Therefore, I think the cry of the bereaved families, relatives,  friends, and comrades-in-arms of the Fallen 44 covers the first two kinds of peace;  what their countless sympathizers have in mind includes the second and third kinds.   

These are analogous to Dr. Hanson’s first two of four kinds of peace:  Peace of  Ease – the peace of relaxation and relief, and Peace of Tranquility – deep quiet in mind and body.  His third is Peace of Awareness – a subtler kind of peace; a person who is upset has, at the same time, a place inside that allows him to simply witness and be untroubled by what it sees.  And the fourth is Peace of What’s Unchanging – peace that comes from acceptance of the fact that while one undergoes change, there are things in the universe that never change.  Examples:  The fact that things change doesn’t itself change;  two plus two will always equal four.  (“Enjoy Four Kinds of Peace,” http://www.rickhanson.net)

Now, according to another excerpted internet source, justice is of four (4) types:  (a) Distributive Justice – also known as economic justice, it is about fairness in  what people receive, from goods to attention.  Its roots are in social order where equality is a fundamental principle;  (b) Procedural Justice -  the principle of fairness is also found in the idea of fair play (as opposed to the fair share of distributive justice). 

If people believe that a fair process was used in deciding what is to be distributed, then they may well accept an imbalance in what they receive in comparison to others;  (c) Restorative Justice – also known as corrective justice.  Restoration means putting things back as they were, so it may include some act of contrition to demonstrate one is truly sorry.  This may include action and even extra payment to the offended party;  (d) Retributive Justice – this works on the principle of punishment, which in practice is more about the satisfaction of victims and those who care about them.  This strays into the realm of revenge, which can be many times more severe than reparation as the hurt party seeks to make the other party suffer in return.  In such cases, justice is typically defined emotionally rather than with intent for fairness or prevention.  (“Four Types of Justice,” http://changingminds.org)

On the basis of the preceding references, I think the cry of those afflicted as well as affected by the fall of the 44 covers the first, third, and fourth types of justice – distributive, restorative, and retributive – in varying degrees of intensity.  Almost certainly, the cry of the bereaved families, relatives, and their friends is for retributive, restorative, and distributive justice in that order.  President P-Noy has personally met with the grieving families and relatives at least twice to see to it that they receive what they rightfully deserve under existing laws – and more – pursuant to the principle of distributive justice.  Based on the poignant statements of the incumbent OIC of the PNP during the pertinent Senate hearings, the cry of the Fallen 44’s comrades-in-arms and their friends encompasses restorative and retributive justice. 

So, what exactly is the concept of “peace with justice” of those afflicted as well as affected by the fall of the 44?  I think their commonly held concept has three aspects:  First, those who unjustifiably killed the Fallen 44 should be caught and be held accountable for their crime, including the MILF fighters who had taken part in it (retributive justice);  second, the Fallen 44’s firearms and such other equipment as helmets, bulletproof vests, etc., including personal belongings like cell phones, etc., should be returned to the PNP and their families, respectively (restorative justice);  third, then and only then can they start to regain peace in themselves and agree on the continuation of the peace process with the MILF, particularly the enactment of the proposed BBL (inner and outer peace).

Thus far, the principle of distributive justice has been adhered to and served by the Aquino Administration;  restorative justice has been partially observed with the return of sixteen (16) of the Fallen 44’s firearms by the MILF leadership;  however, nothing has yet been done in regard to the principle of retributive justice. 

 And so to date, the cry for “peace with justice” of those who are afflicted as well as affected by the fall of the 44 has not been adequately addressed.  Nonetheless,  I submit that the GPH negotiators and the MILF would be hard put in trying to address such cry because the attendant issues must be time-consuming and  complex.

So be it!  What’s important is that they promptly take the necessary steps toward the required response.  What’s also important is they maintain focus on it as the congressional hearing on the BBL is resumed early this month.  Finally, what’s of utmost importance is that the cry for “peace with justice” does not end up as a voice in the wilderness! 




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