Won’t be posting updates this weekend. Will be in Baguio talking to students in a DepEd assembly on leadership. Like Alleba Politics, Sacha Chua, Dominique Cimafranca (who will be lighting a suman in Dumaguete), Ricelander, Miron, Paeng, Love & Light (in Japan!), Surigaonon, I will be lighting my candle for TRUTH tomorrow. If anyone wants to join me, I’ll light my candle in the Baguio Cathedral, because I don’t know where else to light a candle in Baguio.
Vergel Santos, in his column today (reprinted below in full, as his column isn’t available on line) explains what the candle’s for.
Ã¢â‚¬ËœCitizens for TRUTHÃ¢â‚¬â„¢
By Vergel O. Santos
I have just received a copy of a manifesto from a group that calls itself Ã¢â‚¬Å“Citizens for TRUTHÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ TRUTH in capitals since it is intended to be taken not only in its dictionary sense but also as an acronym for five other words, each naming a virtue. These citizens Ã¢â‚¬Å“demand transparency, take responsibility, foster unity, restore trust, and breed hopeÃ¢â‚¬Â (the italicization is mine, for easy matching Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I must say it is not one of those acronyms that feel like ill-fitting dentures; it will do, I think.)
For me, it may not constitute validation Ã¢â‚¬â€œ although IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m greatly tempted to seize it as such Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but it certainly offers more than mere consolation. As I lately have been saying here, ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the truth, stupid, not the economy, not constitutional change, not anything else! But where in my case it is a mere proposition, in these citizensÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ case it is an advocacy, declared thus in their manifesto:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Once again we find our country in crisis. But more than just being an economic or a political crisis, we find ourselves in a crisis of values Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one that forces us to question what it is exactly we as a people believe in, what we as a nation stand for. Perhaps even what we as a race are willing to die for.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But no one need die if only we are willing to stand up for what we believe in: To stand up, most importantly, for the TRUTH, because the truth is the biggest victim of all that is happening around us today.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And with the demise of TRUTH comes the spread of apathy among the ordinary citizens, the same apathy that is the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœquiet killerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ of any democracy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And so today we who count ourselves among the ordinary citizens of this country come together as Ã¢â‚¬ËœCitizens for TRUTH,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ determined through concerted action to take this country back from a succession of leaders who have not been true to their sworn oaths, acknowledging at the same time that all of these could not have happened if we ourselves had been vigilant in the defense of our collective interest.Ã¢â‚¬Â
These Ã¢â‚¬Å“Citizens for TRUTHÃ¢â‚¬Â (a first list of names are in a footnote) invite everyone who shares their sentiments to light a candle at six tomorrow evening and thus show his readiness Ã¢â‚¬Å“to spread the light that will banish the darkness that envelopes our nation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Definitely a dramatic first step, but still one chiefly symbolic. What follows after that and after that and so on will determine whether the starting light will grow big and bright enough to expose the liberating truth; and in order to in fact attain liberation, a much greater effort yet is required.
At any rate, even before the first step can be taken, truth has continued to be concealed and twisted. In fact, at about the time I got my copy of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Citizens for TRUTHÃ¢â‚¬Â manifesto, Mike Defensor was on television Ã¢â‚¬â€œ suddenly he was an audiotape-technology expert.
Apparently prepared to be anything in the service of his president, Defensor made his pronouncement on the tapes that have caught someone sounding exactly like her in a phone conversation with a supposedly seedy election commissioner. Speaking in the context of seeking assurances of a credible victory in the last election, precisely the one Arroyo won disputably, the voice is heard to say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“So, I will still lead by more than one Ã¢â‚¬ËœmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ [a million votes, that is]?Ã¢â‚¬Â
The tapes, Defensor said, were doctored. It was her voice all right, he added, but it was not her talking. Then you realize that either you are being made a fool of or some fool is seeking company.
For her part, the president has continued to stonewall, deciding for her own convenience what and how much the people ought to know.
The manner alone in which Arroyo and Defensor manipulate the truth should give the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Citizens for TRUTHÃ¢â‚¬Â an idea of what they and the rest of the nation are up against. In fact they are up against a crudeness of such amazing quality that, while they know they are not told the truth, they also know they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get it by any force of reason or by moral suasion.
The Ã¢â‚¬Å“Citizens for TRUTHÃ¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a first list: Manuel Quezon III, J. B. Baylon, J. J. Samuel Soriano, Lillibeth Nacion, Sonny Cuenco, Norberto Arespacochaga, Chito Gascon, Bobby Manzano, Tanya Lat, and Butch Jamon.
Today, of course, is dedicated to grandfather (pictures from family photos online).
Some links, the first, Claro M. Recto’s eulogy, 1946, which my father said was one of the best things ever written about his father; the other, the memoirs of an American Communist, Sol Auerbach, who dealt with him politically; then, an editorial from the Philippines Free Press, which to my mind is a good summation as well.
There is, of course, his autobiography, both in book form and as a privilege speech. In a related vein, my column yesterday, Sincerity of Convictions.