The Parable of the Punishment

Article excerpt

Byline: Juan M Flavier

THE farmer was out of luck. He was caught red-handed stealing from an old woman in the town market. There were many witnesses when he snatched and scampered away with her purse. A number of men collared him and it was only cooler heads that prevented him from being horribly beaten.

For a long time, many vendors had suspected this farmer as the culprit in a series of losses. So when he was finally caught, everyone in the market demanded that he be punished.

The head of the vendors group was called to preside over the kangaroo trial. The guilt was quickly established by over a dozen witnesses. The punishment was immediately announced. As a show of humane consideration the farmer was given the chance to pick from three punishments. One, pay a cash fine of fifty pesos. Two, 50 lashes on his outstretched arm with a yantok (rattan strip). Or, three, eat 50 pieces of siling labuyo (hot chili peppers). …