Post for Aug 14-20 2016

TaN: There is something subtly strange about the article titled “De Lima admits ‘snippets of truth’” in The Philippine STAR‘s August 20, 2016 issue.  Throughout the entire article, there appears to be only mention of the (vehement) denial of Ms De Lima regarding the illegal drug links but nothing about the supposed love affair with the former driver.  Does this imply that that segment of the issue is true?  Is that the ‘snippet of truth’ being referred to?

It was not so much what was said — in the long article — but what was not discussed.  It is not as if the article was so short that there was no space to fit.  This is quite intriguing indeed, at least to me.

The allegations made against Ms De Lima were sexual escapades and involvement in illegal drugs and yet she answered only those pertaining to illegal drugs.  It is highly unlikely that someone with a background in law and experience of many years of practice and now an elected official to no less than the Senate can leave some of the allegations unanswered.

Moreover, it is not as if there are numerous allegations made against her.  There were only two allegations so it is strange that she would “opt” to answer only one and not the other.  This would lead people to make assumptions that the unanswered allegation must have a significant amount of truth.  In addition, should she have a good reason for not answering the other allegation, if she does not want to answer it is her prerogative but at least she should give an explanation her choice.

TaN: Regardless of whatever is the argument — be it regulations, policy, law, etc — the fact remains that the Libingan ng mga Bayani is literally translated as burial grounds of heroes.  The controversial word is “bayani” or hero.  It would appear that emotions and sentiments are getting the better of everybody.

A hero is defined as a person whom one wishes others to emulate or imitate.  A hero possesses qualities that other people hold in high regard and would like these qualities to be present and practiced by others.

Given this aforementioned definition and remembering or knowing what happened during the Marcos years, it would seem obviously blatant that what Marcos did is not worthy of emulation by anyone (decent).  However, the argument of whether Marcos fits the image of a hero or not would hinge on which aspect of Marcos’ life is being considered.  He may have been a brilliant scholar and even bemedaled war veteran but it does not erase or even slightly mitigate what he did — i.e., declare martial law and subject the country to horrendous acts of unspeakable suffering and misery.

Regardless of the amount of goodness and heroism a person displays in the past, all that matters is the totality.  In addition, a hero does not subject his/her country to atrocities no matter how good the intention/s.

Machiavellianism is never a justification to inflict suffering and misery on others, especially when they are innocent lives.  No amount of justification can be acceptable to hurt an innocent life in exchange for serving justice regardless of the number of guilty people involved.  The greater or common good can never be served, no matter how many, when the innocent is hurt, especially when there are alternatives.

This is the same principle that Mr Duterte is employing in his campaign against illegal drugs and all the other (great) evils of (Philippine) society.  The question in his (Machiavellian) argument is how many innocent lives will it take to make Mr Duterte say that enough innocent lives have been shed for the sake of serving his country.

Both Messers Marcos and Duterte cannot use the excuse of inflicting harm and suffering on the few innocent (collateral) lives, no matter how unintentional it may be, and a hero does not harm the innocent, not for any justifiable Machiavellian reason.  The violence and destruction employed in bringing justice to the guilty cannot be justified by the (undeserved) suffering and misery endured by even just one innocent victim.  I reiterate, It is better to let the guilty get away free than to jail an innocent person.

In conclusion, there is no argument as to the many achievements the late Mr Marcos has done.  The argument is whether his deed of declaring martial law and causing, even indirectly, the suffering and misery of many innocent victims in his campaign to make the Philippines “great again” cannot be swept under the rug and make him a hero — someone worthy of emulation.  I, for one, do not want my descendants to follow in his footsteps.  Either change the name of the cemetery or keep Mr Marcos out of it.

TaN: In spite or despite all the boastful talk about killing, I sincerely doubt if Mr Duterte has ever, even just once, actually “pulled the trigger or the lever” himself.  Being a (savvy) lawyer, I am sure he is wise enough to get other people to do the dirty work while he stays “immaculately chaste”.  But then again, this is but my own opinion.

This perspective of mine comes from experiences with people who boast of nefarious deeds and those who remain quiet.  I am not saying that Mr Duterte is all wind but that I cannot believe that he has actually done any direct killing.  For all I know, he may have given the orders or even just hinted about it but never really done it himself.

From my talks with some people, those who have actually killed people prefer to remain silent and not advertise themselves and their deeds.  It is the silent ones that are more dangerous — the doers.  People who espouse killing wantonly are usually the ones who do not have the guts to do the job themselves.

Of course this is just my opinion and I can be wrong.  For all I know (and there is no cause or reason for me to think otherwise), Mr Duterte is a man of his word — when he says he “will kill you”, he means he will personally do it and not let some stooge proxy for him, otherwise he should have said “I will have someone (else) kill you”.  However, Mr Duterte is a thinking and calculating man (what him being a lawyer, a former prosecutor, a politician and all) and it would not surprise me should he use some technicality to “worm” himself out of a messy situation.

His law background enables him to exploit the technicalities to his end.  After all, it was once said in the television series Law & Order (and I paraphrase, because it was a long time ago and I cannot recall the exact words anymore), The law is not about what is right and wrong; it is about technicality.  In others words, he who knows the rules best wins.

One problem here is that Mr Duterte has forgotten about the verse in the Holy Scriptures — as in my previous post, in 2 Corinthians 3:6 [KJV], “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; NOT THE LETTER, BUT THE SPIRIT. FOR THE LETTER KILLS, BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE” — where practicing or using the letter to interpret the law frequently brings death (though not always literally) but the spirit gives life.  This means that basing our decisions and actions on the letter is using the technicalities to go around the moral or ethical aspect, which is the spirit (as well as the rationale behind the law).

Mr Duterte is using technicalities to escape guilt from the consequences brought about by his literal interpretation and exercise of the law.  His claim of having compassion is selective and limited only to those who are good citizens.  Well, that is commendable but what if an innocent becomes a victim of his selective compassion or the other way around — i.e., what if a guilty gets away scot-free?

Remember it is likewise said in the Holy Scriptures that the rain falls on both the just and the unjust.  God so loves us that when he pours out his love for us, He does not discriminate or withhold against those He deems undeserving.  In other words, the Holy Scriptures is teaching us that it is not our place to pass judgment on the goodness or evilness of a person but just his/her actions and decisions.  We cannot see into the future nor into the soul of a person.  It is the sole purview of God to determine the ultimate and final judgment of a person’s goodness or evilness.

While in this temporal world, until a person breathes no more, there is always still the possibility that no matter how much evil a person has done or caused, that person could still make a 180-degree turn-around — as in the case of the thief who defended Jesus at the cross who supposedly has been bad all his life but that last moment saved him.

In addition, one can never say what can happen in the future.  Let us say that the “guilty” person you put to death, had you let live, would have, sometime down the generations, be the ancestor of a person who will prevent a future epidemic, be the chief executive of a country, make a world-changing discovery, or invent something globally revolutionary.

TaN: I guess it is normal or expected that when we say that something or someone’s time has come, we usually think of time as a moment — as in the time and day — but it can also be based on a precondition.  This is similar to the Bible prophecy regarding the end (Matthew 24:14, which says “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. AND THEN THE END WILL COME.” (emphasis mine).

In this instance, the end of the world is not based on a specific time (hour and date) but rather on a condition…when the gospel has been preached to all nations.  God will never base the world’s end on time; it would be too quantitative, too rigid, and too easy.  Instead, He based it on when a certain condition or situation He has defined or ordained to take place to bring on the world’s end.  This way, it would be more unpredictable, more fluid or flexible, more “un-guessable”, more certain that the conditions He wants to exist as a pre-requisite would be achieved prior to passing judgment.

Most, if not all (except me), would be thinking of a particular time, although it is known that the Holy Scriptures mentioned signs to watch out for, but these signs are but mere forebodings of the beginning of the end but not the end itself.  The end itself is written to be the moment the gospel has been preached to all.  The specific moment is not fixed because it will all depend on when the gospel has reached everyone.  It may be tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, next decade, next century…

To set the end of the world to a particular fixed date (and time) would be too unfair for those who would not be able to satisfy God’s pre-conditions for salvation through no fault of theirs.  It is for this reason that God is making it impossible for man to guess when the world will end.  He knew it would be one of man’s penchant to guess the unknown and the greatest unknowable of all is when the end of the world will be.

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