Chief Justice Reynato Puno yesterday said he would spearhead a workshop, tentatively scheduled for March, aimed at "leveling the playing field" and providing legal help to the poor, including farmers, fishermen and indigenous peoples, who were usually intimidated by the abstract court processes.
The Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy applauds this latest effort from the Chief Justice.
Coming on the heels of his valiant efforts to defend the victims of extra-judicial killings, the move to give "preferential option for the poor" in terms of justice certainly deserves acclaim from all sectors.
We are particularly happy with the focus given by the Chief Justice to those who are, for a long time now, at the margins of our society.
This, we believe, is essential to reclaiming the trust of the people in our justice system. The Moro nation is poorest of the poor, the most marginalized, and the most affected by armed conflicts. We hope that the Chief Justice will bear this in mind.
Poverty, exclusion and discrimination have long complicated the struggle of the Bangsamoro for self determination.This is a vital step towards changing the perception that justice in this country are only for the rich and privileged.
This is a significant stride in ensuring that we do not only have court of laws but court of justice as well.
We support this effort and hope that the proposed workshop will give all marginalized sectors a forum to address the injustice that they have long experienced. We gently remind the Chief Justice to ensure that Muslims, long victims of exclusion, discrimination and poverty, are properly represented in the workshop. (Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy)