by Kyla Camille, GoGaGaH.com |
“The law should be a shield for the weak and powerless, not a club for the powerful.” – Gov. Roy Barnes, 2004 Equal Justice Conference
It was very evident in the film how everything, even the law itself, can easily be manipulated by influential people. By some means, the story of Hustisya isn’t so surprising anymore because of the countless reports on the different issues it tackled. Every day, we hear news on how some police officers are behind the crimes and top syndicates in the country. We hear rescues of children and teenagers being used as sex slaves. We hear our Filipino workers seeking for justice for being sent to different countries and forced to work on the field they didn’t actually apply for. We heed to this information, but never really thought of acting on them ourselves. We sympathize with their families, but never did we actually go to help them get evenhandedness. In the Philippines, I do think that it is rare to truly serve and be served justice. They say it’s a lengthy process, and to as to how I see it, justice is yet another thing that goes through a very, very long method that most of the time does not lead to anything at all. New issues arise, they get the attention of the “concerned”, cover the latest crime, and before you even know it, justice is found at the bottom of it all. When you appeal for your rights, it is mostly impossible when you don’t have the name, the money, or the position. In Hustisya, it appears that justice is in the hand of the powerful. It seems that the definition of what is fair depends on what the person in authority thinks is “just”. If they want something to be done for their welfare, then bending the law is “okay” and it will still be considered square.
Hustisya shows how private properties and power corrupt a person’s mind. When somebody has too much of everything, it makes one crave for more and badly ends in corruption. I was surprised on how the system of human trafficking was shown. I didn’t know that children are actually ordered like how meats are being demanded. Somebody asks for a specific number of girls and boys with definite ages, followed by the children being immediately taken in custody by the agency, being equipped with false passports, and being sent to the designated country at once. It’s sad knowing that people actually invest their time and money on such delinquency. To add to that, it makes everything worse to see that even the parents and children have the idea of what is happening but are still grateful to be able to get a job outside the Philippines. They didn’t even think of ratting out the powerful. Afraid to speak above a whisper, in fear of losing the opportunity to be as wealthy as how they imagined they’d be.
The scene in Hustisya that made me hold my breath and watch very closely is the one where Biring was walking in slow motion in an alleyway and every single thing that surrounds her is screaming injustice. There were illegal usage of drugs, robbery, homosexual act, prostitution, and herself with the crime of human trafficking. That scene had so much in it that it had the most impact on me. It was revealing the truth in the eye of one woman, boldly passing it on to the audience. It was valiant of the people behind Hustisya to depict Manila in such way. Reality inched up to the highest point showing how new inmates are being mistreated, how any crime can be taken casually and be covered by police officers themselves, how lawyers can defend injustice, how passive the people are, and how Manila itself is witnessing everything but doesn’t have the power to change any of it.
Media, having one of the biggest roles in society, played a big part in Biring’s life. She entrusted her notebook to a reporter who swore not to release anything without her consent. Having a very big scoop on a well-known crime, the reporter, as expected, did not stay true to his word. Although he was not able to publish it completely, he had the intention to release it without Biring’s approval. The only thing that stopped him from doing so was death. Biring had to pull the trigger to save her own reputation and that incident led to blurring her conscience to scarcely identify what is right from wrong. Since media has become a great influence to the society, the more did the powerful tried to control what comes in and out of it.
In the end of Hustisya, everything was still how it was when the film started. It just turned out to be a bigger and “better” business after Biring replaced Vivian. Good is supposedly to always reign over evil but then in reality, you don’t get to force things to function how you want them to. When justice is defined by the powerful, your ordinary perspective of fairness changes. Evil might not be actually evil for them, so as goodness. Well, you can actually argue on these things, but it is not you who will be deciding who wins. Sometimes, justice is just a matter of luck and goodwill. But most of the time, it’s a matter of wealth and supremacy.