Square off between truth and lie

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Friday, February 14, 2014

THE ABS-CBN news channel has every Friday evening a program called Square off. It shows two groups of law students from different universities in Manila who are debating certain issues for and against.

The program has the motto: reason versus reason. The students can train their mind in these debates and this is important for them when they become practicing lawyers. The problem comes when they start practicing law, especially criminal law.

Lawyers then have to defend their clients and prove beyond reasonable doubt whether the accused is guilty or innocent of a certain crime committed. What is at stake here is no longer a civil issue but a criminal issue.


Then the question of ethics comes into the picture. An endless debate can start between lawyers about pure technicalities and then lawyers can start telling lies left and right in behalf or in favor of their clients. Then the motto in the debate is no longer reason versus reason but wisdom versus wisdom and that is a contradiction in itself (contradictio in terminis).

The judicial system becomes a contradiction in itself like what is happening here in the Philippines today. The system is supposed to provide justice but it brings about injustice. Justice delayed is justice denied. When a lawyer accepts the case of a certain client, I am sure, he has in confidence discussed with his client what really has happened. Then he knows what is the truth, whether his client is guilty of a certain crime or not.

If a criminal expects the lawyer to prove in court that he is innocent beyond reasonable doubt then he has to resort to all kind of tactics and tell all kind of lies in behalf of his client. Of course, the client has to pay for that and the lawyer gets a fortune out of this, like what happened in the Ampatuan murder case.

In Holland we have a saying: “Al is de leugen nog zo snel, de waarheid achterhaalt haar wel,” Freely translated in English it says: the lie may run very fast, for sure, the truth will catch up on her at last. Look at the case of the Napoles pork barrel scam. Benhur Luy, the whistle-blower is already quite ahead in bringing about the truth and here comes out of the blue another whistle blower Ruby Tuason who, bothered by her conscience, makes finally the whole truth and nothing but the truth come out in the open.

How does that happen? From salvation history we Christians know that Satan is the first big liar in the history of creation. He was an inveterate liar thrown into hell for all eternity. God who is the source of all truth and justice is there through his Spirit in the conscience of every man and woman.

Truth and justice is not a matter for debate. You have to put it into practice and live it. The same goes for a Catholic faith defender. He makes faith a matter for debate and that is not what faith is for. You have to practice faith and live it in your daily life.

Fortunately we still have many Christian lawyers and lawmakers who do have a conscience and, thank God, will bring back into our justice system truth and justice and expose the culture of corruption in our government.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 14, 2014.


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