WE started the year continuing our fight against the corruption and impunity of people in high places. Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes gifted us with an awesome victory over these twin evils and ended the year for us on a high note.

Yet, we are really far from declaring final victory in our fight for justice in the country. By any reckoning we remain storm-tossed in a sea of corruption and impunity, in dire need of political, economic and cultural reforms substantive enough to right our course.

But how can we change our elitist democracy (which is really no democracy at all) when those who have the power to initiate essential (not just cosmetic) reforms are enamored of the status quo and its exclusive favorable bias towards them?

Like how can we expect the ruling elite to reform our ridiculously undemocratic elections when it is the perfect guns-and-gold system that ensures they alone take turns at exploiting the nation’s resources?

How can we change the economy when our legislators are either bankrolled by big business or big business themselves that understand only profit maximization by any means fair or foul?

Look how the House of Representatives quietly changed some provisions in the constitution. Look how our legislators take the lead in (preventing?) the proposed shift to federalism.

Finally, how can we change our culture of submissiveness and dependency when leaders of the principal religion (the core element of our culture) have no compunction enjoying their positions of privilege as the members of Philippine society’s elite that they’ve always been.

How do we enlighten and embolden people to push for social reforms when Luis Cardinal Tagle’s earth-shaking message to the poor on Christmas Day was that it’s okay to receive no material gift for anyway Jesus is better than any material gift.

How change when those who should be desperate for reforms are apathetic and accepting of their dire situation for religious reasons? How when foreign-controlled big media networks do not speak for the slaves but for their masters?

That’s how high and steep a wall we have to scale. One would like to be optimistic after Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes’s superb handling of the Maguindanao massacre case. But a second look quickly reveals it was more the triumph of a judge’s integrity than of a system righting itself. It was not due to, but in spite of, a flawed system.

But then Christmas is a season of hope for God has indeed come down to help untangle the mess we have made of our lives. Thus even if I end the year with the blues, I am having a merry Christmas, and hope you are too, knowing that God’s work continues with all people of good will. I believe there’s still a lot of them out there.