ALTHOUGH he went out of his way to deny it, acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra would not have reversed himself without the media and public outrage provoked by his April 16 resolution.
That resolution found no probable cause for the inclusion of two members of the Ampatuan clan in the multiple murder charges arising from the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre in which 57 men and women including 32 journalists and media workers were killed.
Instead of turning a bad thing into a good thing, acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra did exactly the opposite: he turned what was already a bad thing into something worse.
From the way he keeps smiling at the cameras, he looks as if he’s gained something from the whole wretched mess. But it’s certainly not the improvement of his public image or that of the government he serves. The widespread public cynicism over the capacity of the so-called justice system to do justice to those who’ve been aggrieved, as expressed in various ways by those familiar with the role of the Ampatuans in the so-called victory of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004 and of her candidates for the Senate in 2007, is now universal. (The results of a survey on which government agency the public trusts the least should be interesting. )