There’s a poignant article by the late Teodoro M. Locsin, which is as close to a meditation on freedom and resistance as I’ve ever read by that great writer.
Taking his cue from Ninoy Aquino’s famous statement, “The Filipino is worth dying for,” Locsin asks, “Is He?” And he proceeds to catalog the frustration, the sense of futility, the isolation oppositionists felt as a society gloated -even exulted- in the blessings of living under a dictatorship. And Locsin asks -as intelligent people asked, at that time- are a people so stupid that they would avidly embrace dictatorship, worth fighting, even dying, for? As Locsin wrote, still bitter a decade after the event he recounted,
There was no demonstrations of any consequence for years and years. While the Opposition dwindled into insignificance – except the Communist rebels in the hills’ business boomed. With borrowed money much of which the dictatorship stole. National economic growth rose with national foreign debt. The future of the Filipino people was morgaged more and more to foreign banks greedy for interest on their Arab deposits. The children will have to pay, but the parents did not care. The dictatorship was riding high on the back of the Filipino people and they did not feel the weight.
When Ninoy, in ultimate defiance and despair, went on a hunger strike, Masses were held for him in St. Joseph’s Church in Greenhills. A hundred or two showed up. An American Jesuit, Reuter, and a Filipino, Olanguer, said Mass for Ninoy, witnesses to his cause. The currently most conspicuous member of the order busied himself with teaching constitutional law and judicial resignation to Marcos’s “revolutionary” government. A banker showed up. No other demonstration for what Ninoy was slowly, painfully, straving himself to restore: the rule of law, not the rule of one man.
Read the whole essay, its aching bitterness, its skepticism about the capacity of the human condition to even acknowledge, much less comprehend, the isolated cases of goodness people demonstrate.
Solicitor-General asks Supreme Court to lay off cases questioning Proclamation 1017. Deficit drops by 5 billion and GMA praises GMA. Fr. Intengan gives Palace propagandists a hot beef injection. Congressmen are scurrying to collect each other’s autographs for the big dance.
Emil Jurado defends the President with the same slavish enthusiasm he used to defend Ferdinand Marcos. His column observes,
Let’s take the case of the ANC “breaking news” coverage of the Feb. 26 standoff of Marines at Fort Bonifacio, a very critical and incendiary internal Marine problem that could have resulted in a bloody showdown.
I watched the ABS-CBN coverage, and I must say, as somebody who has gone full circle in print, radio and television, that the ANC coverage could have ignited an already inflammatory situation when Marine Col. Ariel Querubin called for people power after his commandant was being relieved. The questions were leading with so much conjectures and speculations.
Yes, there was a need for people to know what was happening. But, the situation at Fort Bonifacio presented a clear and present danger if bloodshed. And this was made worse with politicians and anti-GMA elements getting into the act “bastardizing” people power and even prayers.
This is what I mean that media should draw the line in the name of press freedom and right of the people to information, not at the expense of national security and interests. In the first place, broadcast media are covered by standards precisely mentioned in their franchise, and as a member of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, ABS-CBN has to abide by KBP Code of Conduct and Standards.
I have to wonder though how Torn & Frayed (who described the ANC coverage as “exemplary”) and Jurado could have seen the same thing so differently. Anyway, Jurado then goes on to say,
I have some comment over the inciting to sedition charges filed against The Daily Tribune publisher-columnist Ninez Cacho-Olivares and columnists Ike Señeres and Herman Tiu Laurel, who are crying “harassment” against the Arroyo administration. If you can dish it out, you should be able to take it.
Olivares, Señeres and Laurel may not realize it, but the filing of the inciting to sedition charges against them has its beneficial and salutary effects since it draws the line how far press freedom can go.
It’s actually good for media as a whole since press and expression are so sacrosanct freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. But, the question that needs answer is: How far can this freedom go?
I remember telling a colleague when this news broke, that one of the things I can never forgive the President for doing, is reducing media to having to rally around and defend a bigot like Herman Tiu Laurel. But there you have it.
Tony Abaya says the government was correct in many ways, but wrong in others, and suggests the government may be able to look forward to a self-coup come July. Yes, folks, the autogolpe idea is still in play.
In the blogosphere, Philippine Commentary asks lawyers to analyze official documents. Speaking of lawyers, Punzi questions the authority of the National Telecommunications Commission to issue the circulars it has sent out.
Focus on the Supreme Court: Disini comes out blog hibernation, and tackles how the Supreme Court might sidestep some of the more explosive issues surrounding the proclamation of a state of national emergency. OFW in Hong Kong hopes the Supremes will dazzle the country. Kumintang says it’s all about conscience.
Fried Neurons is irked. He objects to the phrase “inciting to sedition.” He says it should be “inciting sedition.” My own view is that the Penal Code provisions are colonial, outmoded, and should be thoroughly revised by Congress.
Alternation 101, apparently, is oppositionist, but blames media.
Concerns of a Bystander has grim forecasts for the future. Red’s Herring says we are in a state of war. Tambayan ni Paeng discusses apathy, and how a taxi driver’s prepared to join rallies -once he meets his daily quota.
Overseas, interesting entries about the Thai PM’s political troubles. Never Trust a Hippy compares the Thai and Italian PM’s -and points to media’s emergence as a force even stronger than the state. The World of Fat4 defends the Thai PM. Meanderings has a good roundup on the situation. Keeping the red flag flying is an intriguing article on an economist critical of Thaksin.
In what might emerge as a regular epistolary department, some Rotarians send an open letter to fellow Rotary member Joc-Joc Bolante (emphasis as in the e-mail original):
AN OPEN LETTER TO ROTARIAN JOCELYN “JOCJOC” BOLANTE
Dear PDG Bolante,
Over the past 100 years, Rotary International has been been involved in humanitarian work dealing with various socio-civic advocacies such as poverty and hunger, illiteracy, violence, and environmental degradation. As a result of this humanitarian work done throughout the century, the name Rotary has become synonymous with the words “volunteerism”, “socio-civic consciousness”, “humanitarian work”, and “leadership.”
The one constant theme that defines Rotary from all other socio-civic organizations is its commitment to service, as contained in the Rotary motto “service above self.” This service is defined by the high ethical standards embodied in the 4-way Rotary test: truth, fairness, goodwill, and benefit to all.
It was because of these lofty ideals and values that we young Rotarians chose to become Rotarians. In doing so, we made a solemn commitment to uphold these ideals and values, and to protect all that Rotary stands for.
Our Club was chartered a few weeks after you wrote your Vision for The Philippine Rotary; and your patriotic essay was one of the early reading materials that affirmed us and our hopes as a new club during the first conferences that we attended for planning our activities. You ended that visions statement with a strong if “we as Rotarians shall move toward a coalition of forces to bring back the basic principles and tenets of Rotary into action”…the answer lies in our hands as Rotarians. It therefore pains us that you, a long-time Rotarian, a Past District Governor of Rotary District 3830 in the Philippines and now an esteemed Director of the Rotary International – have been allegedly involved in the controversy surrounding the “anomalous” disbursement of the Department of Agriculture Fertilizer Fund which was allegedly used to peddle influence and buy votes to ensure the election of a Presidency that is now accused of massive cheating.
You were given the opportunity to express the truth in scheduled senate hearings, but you chose instead to have your time available for ROTARY MATTERS SUCH AS THE ROTARY INSTITUTE more than national interest. ARE WE TO BELIEVE THAT YOUR GESTURES ARE – _EXPRESSION OF THE FOUR WAY TEST?
We, your fellow Rotarians, expect nothing less from you as one with such a lofty vision statement. The answer to the controversy surrounding the fertilizer fund of the Department of Agriculture lies in your hands. We have watched and waited for you to reveal what needs to be revealed for several months in disappointment. Your refusal to reveal the truth is, to us, irresponsible and cowardly. We believe that such a position has prejudiced not just Rotary but the entire Filipino people. Know, as we know, that your silence adds to our people’s suspicion and paranoia in the present administration. See, as we see, your accountability in this social unrest we have reached and whatever socio-economic/political divisions our country will face in the future. May you find no blood in your hands should violence erupt in our precarious state now.
As fellow Rotarians and as fellow Filipinos who care deeply about our country, we urge you then to step up to the challenge as you challenged every Rotarian in your vision statement. Do the right thing with no further delay and make that vision a shining moment in our lives as it becomes a mission accomplished by a heroic Rotarian. We beseech you to come forward and speak the truth, instead of skulking in the shadows. Do what is right and what is fair and beneficial to all.
We are at a critical juncture of our nation’s history, and what you choose to do or not do will forever be etched in the memory of young Rotarians such as ourselves. WE CHOOSE NOT TO FORGET! Let it not be said that we did not do our responsibility to care for the Rotary and our country when the power to speak up and do something were in our hands. Let it likewise not be said that we have been betrayed by our elders by directly violating the very first principle of Rotary–speaking and living out the TRUTH.
As one of our leading Statesmen, Jovito Salonga, said…”You can only unite a country based on TRUTH and JUSTICE. You cannot expect unity when there is no TRUTH “…
We await the truth to come from you!
Members of the Rotary Club of Mapasan (the first ever club in the Rotary World organized by TRF Scholars Alumni)
Floro Francisco – President 2005-2006
Jun Bernad – Charter President
Sed Candelaria – Past President 2004-2005
Del Domingo – Past President 2003-2004
Oscar Bautista – Vice President and President Elect
Cristy Fuentes – Secretary
Miel Reyes – President Nominee 2007
Gina Resultan – President Nominee 2008
Vibien de Guzman,
To close up today’s blog roundup:
World Famous in the Philippines points out the era of telegraphy is dead.
Paolo rants about podcasts. In his first podcast.
Poor Jove is grappling with being the last Filipino left in the Philippines -among his group of friends.
And latest to link: thank you to Trix Unmixed