No Birthday Bash!

Today is September 8th.   This day had always been special for me because my grandmother was born on this day in 1909.  But she had long passed away in 1981.  Still, I continue to celebrate this day because this is also the birthday of the Blessed Mother Mary, Jesus’ ma. I have no feast, anyways.  It is raining outside and it does not look like it will stop soon.  I wish I could concoct a meal for three later just to have our family’s birthday bash for Mama Mary.  Or maybe we could have pancit at Chow King.  That’s it.

The Blessed Mother is a constant companion.  I call on her everytime I wake up in the morning.  It is just like having a mommy by the bedside always.  And when moments of fear and desolation come, the Memorare comes to mind always.   To this day, that prayer never fails.

Many times, I picture the Blessed Mother at work.  There she is baking bread, grilling fish, or boiling stew.  She has also kept the house clean for the two men in her life.  And every nook is spotlessly neat, considering the sawdust carpenters keep on bringing home.  And her garden is a beauty.  She tends every flower plant with loving care.  That is why her surroundings are all abloom.  And she keeps her friends nearby, helping them with their daily chores, talking and advising.  I think she is the forerunner of psychologists and midwives.

I love the Blessed Mother so much.  Totus Tuus! And, Happy Birthday!

When the Culprit is a Minor

The robbers had broken into my home.  They had taken many of my priceless possessions, like the bronze statuettes from the World Trade Center circa 1965.  I was heartbroken when I realized how I had taken care of those family mementos for the longest time.  My family could not claim to be owners of tiaras nor heart-of-the-ocean like rare jewelry, but our heirlooms consist of old coins and precious graduation pins and medallions  that somehow tell our story.

Thus I deemed it wise to report the burglary  to the baranggay and the police.  I needed their help to catch the thieves, and retrieve my treasures.  The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) came to my house to get my story and the much-needed fingerprints.  The thief passed through a 10 by 10 inch exhaust fan at the walk-in closet.  I had wondered how someone could fit in such a small square passage but the fingerprints were all over the bathroom wall.  My neighbor Danny said he caught the boy peddler who gets recycled materials under my gate.  But the boy was so sleek  my neighbor  was not able to restrain him.  Considering the skinny frame of the child, he would be able to squeeze in smoothly enough with the aid of an adult.

The week had not been over yet when the boy was caught red-handed at my other neighbor’s house.  My neighbor Tessa screamed for help and the carpenters nearby responded to her call.  The baranggay aids found my neighbor’s bike at the child’s dwelling in the squatter’s area.  From the baranggay and the police station, the boy, together with his mother, was subsequently brought to the hospital for physical check-up, and to the Women’s Desk at the police headquarters.  Under the law, minors could not be interrogated without the permission of the parents.  Unfortunately, the policewoman at the women’s desk was quick to invoke a law that states a minor under fifteen years of age could not be charged in the court of law, whatever the crime maybe.  The law on minors was penned by Senator Francis Pangilinan and was passed in 2006. The most that could happen is for the baranggay to turn the child in at the Department of Social Welfare and Development.  The rationale behind the law is to give the offender a chance to reform and be an asset to society.  When the child turns of legal age, he could go scot free, as if he never comitted a crime.

I am all for the reformation of the child, who wouldn’t be?  But what about the incident where somebody broke into my home and robbed me of my possessions?  Every citizen has the right to live in a peaceful community.  That is a basic human right.  Was my right upheld when the law on minors was invoked? Or was my right violated by a law that serves to make more criminals out of children?  A television investigation team reported that minors had brazenly committed rape and murder.  A mother had grieved over the fate of her daughter who had been molested and killed by teen-agers.  And the teen-agers couldn’t be prosecuted because of a law that protects minors from being ajudged criminals.

When the law is in conflict with a basic human right, does it give justice to every man?