because it was Mama and I who watched and remembered with a heavy heart the story of the Vizconde Massacre on Cheche Lazaro Presents three nights ago, with stories of its victims. and when i say victims, i don’t just mean the family of Lauro Vizconde, he who has kept the house where the murders happened, he who has kept rooms exactly the way they are, living with such violence must be a tragedy in itself, too.
but as well, and this is the truth, the victimization of the Webb family, and how CLP showed what must be true of any family that has lost a member to prison: it is broken and in pain and in constant suffering.
i empathize on this level, having a good friend C in the same prison as Webb for the past 10 years, with no freedom in sight. he who had plans with us, a pretty solid barkada from college, he who we were/are sure is innocent. and i feel that for all of us who know him, there is a broken heart always, a missing, a loss, because he can’t be in our lives anymore, hasn’t been there for 10 years. and yes, that’s even when we visit him in Muntinlupa every time our lives allow, but as our lives outside happen this does become more and more difficult.
so i know what Mrs. Webb means when she talks of the humiliation of being body-searched — yes, as in kapkap nang walang pakundangan. i know how it feels when Jason speaks with an amount of anger and frustration. and i understand when Freddie Webb says that Hubert is innocent, he is positive, as Rene Saguisag is, as Winnie Monsod is.
because i am positive too, that C is innocent, but is doing time in jail, one of five fall guys for a crime that was done by a collective they had the bad luck of being part of. and Bilibid is payment enough, i think, 10 years in Bilibid is payment enough. for people who just might be innocent, for people who were judged guilty by our courts despite evidence to the contrary.
because there are many things extraneous to a criminal case in our courts, yes? there is a media circus and public outcry that any judge would be pressured by, even when they deny it. what i remember clearly about Hubert etal at the time they were being tried in court was this: we wanted them rich boys to go to jail. in our collective minds Hubert etal had proven us right about how the sons of the more powerful and rich are spoiled brats. how they always needed to get their way, how they would never take no for an answer.
we believed because we had already judged Hubert etal. just like we would believe any random set of fratmen to be guilty of a frat gantihan turned murder. just like we would already presume someone guilty, given our own issues as a society, making it impossible to prove anyone innocent really.
that is ultimately the sadness of this society, as it is the tragedy of our justice system. in the end, i think we are all victims, some more than others, some more painful and broken than others. some doing time in jail, others left with only inevitable distance.