You know, honestly I don't get it.
I don't get a lot of things. That's because some of my friends say I overdo it. I fuss over problems that I have nothing do with and can not / will never be able to solve. But it is good exercise to harass your mind. Like some mental cardiovascular activity. Or a form of masochism.
But still I want some answers. Some opinions will do. Or explanations.
What I hate about all this is that at the back of my mind, I think I know the answers already. But I still ask the questions any way. I still ask the questions because they affect me. More than that, they affect people around me. And I ask myself again if I am actually helpless and useless in bringing some sense of order to such beautiful chaos.
So let me just jot down the questions that I juggle in my brain ever so often like ...when I am caught in traffic or get too tired playing Scramble, Word Up or ... uh, Angry Birds on my iPad ... or right after I read the papers, watch the news or listen to the radio.
I really do not expect some epiphany to take place ... some light from heaven to pierce through the clouds and have one of the Archangels tell me the absolute answer.
But it is still worth trying.
First: is he or isn't he a hero? Was that an act of great sacrifice for the preservation of the honor of a revered institution? Or has that institution been so tarnished because of the scandal that the blood he shed was nothing more but the seal to certify the disgrace that has taken place and the magnitude of repair that is required?
Was his sacrifice an act of defiance, a means to show the world that his honor is far greater in importance than his life? Or is he a coward for his eternal silence was not meant to protect his integrity but to shield thieves?
A group of friends of mine were so furious at the public reaction of officials and the likes because of the rites and rituals displayed on live coverage saying that everything was being misconstrued. They felt that if there was a violation of any moral code, then it was the deification of dishonesty cleansed by suicide.
I remained quiet. And pained. Death is painful ... especially of this sort. I looked at the sons and realized that what they were going through was far too intense and unfathomable even by my melodramatic imaginings.
How quickly dignity, integrity and a reputation beyond reproach can be crushed to the ground, pulverized by scathing revelations ... from a close friend no less. I would like to think that if there was one important reason why the bullet was aimed at his heart was because of the pain that one of your most trusted friends actually turned against you. More so, because of your kumpare's words, the public grasped what was not only kept a secret but accepted as part of the system of a subculture.
So do went vent our anger on those who humiliated him? Should we condemn those who aimed verbal bullets at him by supposedly stripping down the myth to the core of reality and truth?
Second question: was it wrong for the senators to treat him that way? Did they overstep their duty or even their privileges by actually maltreating and deliberately embarrassing people invited to the august halls of the Senate? After all, as someone pointed out, these people --- regardless of station in life or position in government or society --- were invited as resource people and not made to sit there to be grilled as suspects or criminals.
Moreover, the two senators in question are said to axes to grind against the guest.
Uhm, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. But did they say anything that unequivocally revealed their biases rather than remain in the path leading to the discovery of truth? The highlights of the video pointing to the controversial Q and A have been looped a zillion times on news channels for everybody to see and analyze the body language of the people involved.
There was nothing wrong with the comments that clarified rather than passed judgment. But there was harshness in one brush-off... in being dismissive rather than explanatory ... in expressing anger like missiles aimed directly at the beleaguered retired general. But deep in my mind and heart, I am quite sure there was nothing wrong with the questioning.
What is the debatable is the fashion by which the questions were asked.
Third: after this, then what?
I guess that is the question asked over and over again by people who have seen one too many of these inquiries. Yeah, right. For a while it rattles the nation, challenges our imagination ... and even provokes our utmost indignation. But after all the sensational media coverages, the interest whittles down into a cloud of disinterested dust. Like an overstretched soap opera, the audience wanes ... loses grasp and even perspective then eventually interest because a story cannot he stretched that long to sustain excitement.
Think Jun Lozada. Think of all the other cases that through the long and tedious task of due judicial process or whatever bureaucratic terminology considered appropriate end up being part of the political collective unconscious. After all is said and done, it is still much ado about nada.
In this digital universe where consciousness and attention are diminished to the push button of a remote control, there is no time for dilly-dallying and unbearable delays. It is much easier to lose your audience than to gain them. And God knows we get enough drama from prime time television for the audience to remain interested in its novelty.
Which leads to some other questions.
Fourth: for anything concrete to happen, what is required is a sense of direction, an unwavering determination --- impressive resolve. But I am really, really bothered by this. These pre-requisites come firm leadership. The crop of problems that have surfaced because somebody opened Pandora's Box can only find viable solutions if there is an iron fist that clamps down on all the institutions to get their acts together and flush out all the vexations and toxins.
Uhm, do we have that? Do we have leadership with resolve?
Now I sincerely worry. Now I join those who may be accused of prematurely judging a relatively young administration. As one of the die-hard rah-rahs of the present dispensation yelped at me, "Can you give him a break? He hasn't been around for a year, OK?" to which I replied, "I know. And then after that there will be five more years to count."
Let me go the next questions as well.
Fifth: So whatever happened to the campaign promises that sent the Yellow Army screaming and stomping their feet and literally carrying him on their shoulders to the portals of the Palace?
Hey, wait a minute: let me clear myself lest I be accused of downright political bias here. I appreciate the removal of the wang-wangs. Nowadays when I hear that all-too-familiar noise while going down some road, I am assured that it is either an ambulance answering an emergency or some community of informal settlers is burning to the ground somewhere. I am already certain that this is not just another KSP-sonofagun trying to weave his way through traffic with a lot of noise and helluva lot of nonsense. I appreciate that.
I even like his choice of songs when he obliges his constituents (including his relatives) with his vocal prowess in videoke. After all, while Joey Lina and Bayani Fernando were paying tribute to the fallen third of their world famous singing trio, he was also singing at the birthday party of his baby sister. How is that for synergy? Or serendipity?
But still ... despite all his melodious displays and contributions, I am still really pissed that he suddenly changed tunes about the Reproductive Health Bill. (I heard somebody said that he was not exactly turning his back on his campaign promise because he never said that he would support the RH bill but he was one for Responsible Parenthood. Ahhh ... Ano yun?!) Whereas there was much courage in announcing the march following The Right Path, why do I suddenly feel that after all was said and done, it still boiled down to The Art of Compromise.
Well, yeah: the threat of excommunication can be quite intimidating if you have a prayerful family. And when bishops announce the possibility of a revolution if the RH Bill is passed, any Chief Executive should get oh-so-scared. Whatever.
Then there is that whole thing with the Freedom of Information Act. Suddenly the need to pass this as a Law (his words, not ours) has become lukewarm. I can almost hear the Teka, teka muna whispered in the background. True, before you chisel this on the rocks of the guide to the system, you have to clarify just how much information should be made free.
Uh, excuse me: didn't we agree on transparency? Weren't we cursing the mode of governance of the immediate past because of all the escape routes, secret passages and tricks of illusion employed to deprive the nation of the real score, of what was happening and the due process to find out who the hell is screwing our posteriors?
I guess it is not that easy to find answers to these questions. These are such strange times. Others would rather call it interesting.
But why do I feel that it is simply confusing. Disenchanting.
Yet I do not think it is textbook masochism that prods me to ask these questions again and again. It is a healthy exercise.
And maybe it assures me that despite everything, I have not give up hope.
Note: When somebody was asked, "When do you think we will ever have a country that is truly free of corruption and enjoying the fruits of progress like other nations?" Somebody replied: "Not in our lifetime, Honey." And I retorted, "Damn it. Why can't I have it in my lifetime?" That exchange took place more than eight years ago.
And I still insist that I want that change here and now. Because of my questions.