HomePHAVISMINDA Journalvol. 13 no. 1 (2014)

Can a Human Being be Just (or Unjust) to Himself?

Amosa L. Velez



We open this article with another question: Is justice (or injustice) a Filipino experience also? The answer can be found in the following instance that may shed light on the matter. A second to the youngest, twenty-four-year old young woman, who worked as a household help for a family, expressed her “pagmahay” and “kahiubos” for her parents who sent her eight siblings to school without her experiencing even “day-care” education. Her seven elder siblings, being all “drop-outs”, must have discouraged her parents in sending her to school. Only the youngest, 10 years her junior, is presently attending grade school. “Pagmahay kahiubos,” is difficult to express in English though it somewhat approximates “being downhearted” due to unreasonable dejection. It is an awareness that something is due to her (katungud niya / her right) being a daughter to her parents who ought to send her also to school (have the duty / katungdanan). “Katungud” (right) and “katungdanan” (duty) are the threads in the fabric that constitutes a society protected by “justice” through the law. So, when a person experiences “pagmahay” when something nga angay kaniya (ought to be hers) is not accorded to her, then she experiences “injustice.” But when something “nga angay niya” / “na dapat sa kaniya” (ought to be hers) is respected, then justice is experienced. This one example can illustrate other instances of justice and injustice experienced by a Filipino.