My column for today is To Our Officer Corps. I think it speaks for itself. Just as the words of Gen. Vicente Lim in his letters to his children, first published for public consumption in the early 1980s (and I believe, recently republished by the AFP), continue to resonate among those who read them (I have been quoting him ever since I was a columnist for Today newspaper).
In a letter dated July 16, 1940, Gen. Vicente Lim made his political views, based on his military perspective, clear. He wrote, “The principal defect of our national defense is not the training or lack of finances, but the great and dangerous defect of democracy which has been implanted into the minds of the Filipino people. We have a nationally wrong conception of democracy. Our democracy in the Philippines is unilateral. It is only for the benefit, for the freedom, for the rights, comfort and happiness of each individual member of the nation. That is the common belief, and I venture to say 99.9% of our people beleive in that kind of democracy. They do not know their obligations, their duties, and the sacrifices that they should give to the state which is the relative counterpart of the amount of personal democracy he should indulge. The two should balance. We do not have yet in the minds of our people the thought that in order to enjoy the spirit of democracy they should give their lives and property to the state…” Two days later he would write (in another letter) “I would rather work in a Philippines half-way being totalitarian than on complete democracy which is misinterpreted by 99% of our people.”
This view continues to be widely-held today; there commentators in this blog who echo Lim’s sentiments. But to focus on the statements I quoted above is to ignore the fundamental view held by one of the most professional soldiers this country has ever produced: the purpose of the Army is to fight, not train civilians to be better citizens; the preoccupation of the officer corps should be professionalization, the curbing of institutional abuses, the cleansing of the military’s own ranks. The rest are political matters that are the jobs of civilians. Apparently I’m not as clever as I sometimes think I am. Pundit Manuel Buencamino said as much way back in 2003.
Tee hee hee of the Day department: Probe plot vs Arroyo, Gonzalez tells NBI. As I was writing this, friends start texting, telling me to turn on ANC. Someone said she was having a nervous breakdown on air. Others said she vowed to shoot herself in the head if she’s proven wrong. Uh. Ok. Sorry I missed it (the interview or whatever it was).
Tempest in a teapot department: The students of the UP College of Law are upset at the Inquirer over two things, a news story and an editorial about (ex) Dean Raul Pangalanan and the new Dean. The Inquirer editorial makes reference to a PCIJ blog entry, which itself has a counter-opinion from someone, I suppose, from UP, and of course there’s Pangalanan’s own explanation.
In the punditocracy, Fr. Joaquin Bernas has the last word on the concept of Executive Privilege: “There is neither wisdom nor legitimacy in burning a house to roast a piglet.” I finally discovered that Action for Economic Reforms has its commentaries, which appear in various papers, online. Read some of the more recent works of their chief thorn in the administration’s side (and posterior), Manuel Buencamino: Which God is She Praying To and also I Was Not Sorry Pala.
In the blogosphere, Expectorants merrily points to this blog, which defends the didactic nature of the Filipino novel: an assertation of theMarxist reason for being of literature. Check Leon Kilat for his series of interviews of bloggers and their views on blogging. Cyberbaguioboy has been writing (and gaining notice) for his coverage of the first case of computer hacking resulting in a quasi-conviction in the Philippines (lawyer JJ Disini has his take on the matter). Philippine Politics 04 points to a suicide bombing at the University of Oklahoma. Madame Chiang is unamused by the Filipino penchant for being unpunctual.
And let’s all welcome Positive Actions, a regular commenter and reader here, until he got sick of all that’s going and decided he would only concentrate on positive things.