Tuesday, August 09, 2011

What's wrong with us?

In Conrado de Quiros' column in the Inquirer's online edition today entitled What's Wrong with us, Conrado bemoaned the fact that we Filipinos have a forgiving nature -- that this covers all manner of sins. He cited as an example the drama that ensued as a result of Angelo Reyes' suicide. In his first two paragraphs, de Quiros wrote, and I quote:
The first time I saw it in quite a dramatic way was when Angelo Reyes shot himself in the heart before his mother’s grave. His preference for the heart rather than the head apparently held a symbolism of sorts. He had promised his mother he would never tarnish the name he carried. With his gesture, he begged her forgiveness, without necessarily admitting the things he was being accused of.

Reyes was in fact being accused of corruption. Specifically of soliciting, and receiving, millions in pabaon, or a send-off gift on his retirement. It was a grave charge that took him by surprise and embarrassed him thoroughly at a Senate hearing. This was his way of recovering from it.

What the veteran columnist missed was a very important point -- every allegation of corruption against Angelo Reyes remains just that: allegations. For in truth, in this country of ours, many people watching the ever-increasing idiocy of Senate hearings think of these investigations as trials, with evidences being piled up one after the other, failing to realize that what they are watching are not trials but hearings in aid of legislation. Even the phrase "in aid of legislation" seems to skip some of our less-than-brilliant solons.

Until all evidences presented in these so-called hearings are brought to an actual judicial venue, these evidences mean nothing, even for the sake of argument, if they are true. The Filipino people could be forgiven for not being able to discern the difference, but for people in the know, and by "in the know" I refer to people whose duty it is to know the difference, including, but not limited to, people of the fourth estate, there can be no forgiveness.

If it seems too way up there for the esteemed Mr. de Quiros, let me remind him that under our system, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and no matter how many evidences and witnesses may have been paraded before the Senate against Reyes, the Senate is not a judicial body to render decisions on one's guilt or innocence -- a simple truth that seems to escape many of our fellow citizens, and much more of our solons.

But the point is moot since General Reyes already took his own life.

De Quiros goes on to ask: Has the culture of awa so addled our brains we can no longer allow a space for justice in it? Look at how prevalent it is. Look at how malevolent it is.

Before we dismiss this culture of awa as sentimental balderdash, let me remind our readers, especially of the yellow variety (if they managd to read my blog up to this point) that the culture of awa is what elevated your venerated Cory Aquino to power. People rallied behind her in her bid for the presidency because they felt sorry for the widow of Ninoy Aquino. Make no mistake, it wasn't Cory's political cunning or her courage (remember Cebu) that got people to support her. It was, firstly, the disgust of the people over the Marcos administration and, secondly, the pity people felt for her and her family.

Can we no longer allow a space for justice in it? Of course we can, but not through columns, articles and hearings. Justice can only be meted out by the courts, and despite all evidences and witnesses people seem to have, it boggles the mind why no one bothers to file cases to bring about Mr. De Quiros' much-lusted-after justice. That's what's wrong with some of us.

What is wrong is that we as a people tend to believe the media because it is convenient. What is wrong is our love affair with the ensuing telenovela-type hearings, salivating from one juicy controversy to the next. What is wrong is that some of us tend to leave out the facts when it conveniently suits us, and print those that are sure to titillate the ignorant masses.

And aye, there's the rub!

No comments: