Saturday, December 19, 2009


The QC RTC judge who inhibited himself from hearing the case against Ampatuan Jr for the sake of his family's safety gets a lot of flak for not taking on what is considered to be a "risk of the trade," that is, as a judge people do expect him to eat death threats for breakfast. So when he dispenses his decision in his other cases, is it out of true and objective appreciation of the facts of the case, or out of fear, his critics ask.

Let's not go overboard. He wasn't, isn't and will not be the last judge to inhibit on a case of this magnitude. Remember, none of the Cotabato RTC judges were available to try the case when it clearly falls under their jurisdiction. To begin with, they weren't too keen on taking on the case for fear of their lives, really. After all, it is not everyday that you get to try true evil, -in its most vicious form- personified.

So it doesn't necessarily follow that this response from him is enough reason for us to cast aspersion on his integrity or doubt his capacity as a judge. This is an extraordinary case, which may soon be in the running for the Crime of the Century. Trying somebody who kills 57 people without compunction isn't exactly SOP even for experienced judges. This was supposed to be his finest case should he rise to the occassion, his moment. But he's not interested in becoming a hero of some sort. All he wants is for him and his family to sleep soundly at night.