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Ronald Roy— 2012 November 14
One wonders how former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) feels about the recent statement of visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that the Philippines is “an emerging ASEAN tiger”—a bullish observation, incidentally, that is shared by business and political leaders around the world. As FVR surely loves to recall, it was he who bequeathed to his successor, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, a “Tiger Economy”.
We recall however that what Ramos legated to Erap was not a robust economy but a sick one, characterized by a bankrupt government and mind-boggling foreign and local debt accounts!
And, as if that was not enough, FVR would in two years engineer Erap’s unconstitutional ouster from office, partly because the latter had vowed to investigate the anomalous Centennial Project that had seen over a billion pesos worth of people’s money going up in smoke, not to mention other highly suspicious transactions involving public coffers and properties.
It is doubtful if Prime Minister Harper is aware that in this country, propaganda has always been a reigning president’s principal tool in documenting a legacy of ego-inflating achievements, and that his flattering tag of Philippines as an “emerging Asian tiger” was not exactly an original one. Mr. Harper would probably be horrified to learn that a previous “tiger economy” here later turned out to be less than real, and the dramatic proof of this was when its centerpiece, one named “Mang Pandoy”, reportedly passed away a pathetic victim of poverty.
In any event, we should thank and wish well the good Canadian Prime Minister for his graciousness, which we however generally view as the result of P-Noy’s cleverly (deviously?) crafted strategy known as the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement (BFA). Let us salute His Excellency for his stately good-neighbor policy, and pray we remain high in his esteem after the BFA-based peace accord ultimately explodes in national mayhem.
It is extremely difficult to not crave the sweet and intoxicating scent of political power after the first whiff of it. Ambition grows to boundless heights, nay, to a point where the politician begins to think he has become a grand builder of society itself. With his autobiography, or with whatever he proclaims as his legacy, he confirms the proverbial “unquenchable thirst for renown” Hmmm… by a preponderance of indications, isn’t it Pres. Noynoy Aquino that we’re talking about?
One such “legacy” that is intended to immortalize Ninoy, Cory and their son is the Martial Law Museum, a testimony in steel and concrete built to decry the horrendous facts about one man’s alleged unalleviated cravings for power. But an unidentified reader calls the museum a “scheme to distort the truth about Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, who did some great things for his country.”
Texter # 1041 stresses further that P-Noy’s conceit and bipolarity disable him from realizing that history is always the most reliable judge, and that because the museum presents only one aside of martial law, it is almost worthless.
Texter #1041 proceeds to exhort P-Noy “to learn a little humility from Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno”, who recently made a tearful public appeal to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to help her launch some needed judicial reforms. I agree.
Indeed, a good leader is one who lets his followers know that he needs them, that he needs to listen to them and to hear them out; so that together they can formulate the best game plan, as it were. By doing this regularly, he creates the imperative “chemistry” between his team and himself.
In sports, at the start of the current NBA season, it was clear that there was no chemistry between the Los Angeles Lakers and their new coach, as they had lost their first three games. But when management fired the coach, the team suddenly came to life with a huge win in fire-and-brimstone fashion! Chemistry—that tried and tested spirit without which no human group endeavor is known to have succeeded!
Let me borrow a verse from W.E. Henley’s Invictus, and—by changing the word “soul” to “spirit”, the pronouns, and a bit of syntax—pay homage to “chemistry” in this wise:
“Out of the night that covers me, from pole to pole black as the pit, we thank whatever gods may be, for our unconquerable spirit.”
Would that the IBP and all concerned in the legal profession would respond to CJ Sereno’s impassioned plea for chemistry, without which she, alone, would be impotent to design a reform program for the judiciary. I disagree, texter #6006, that CJ Sereno’s tears showed her up as a “weak” magistrate. On the contrary, in those tears I saw the strength of compassion, purpose and resolve.
Indeed, it would be to the tragic disadvantage of lawyers if they turned a cold shoulder to CJ Sereno’s humble entreaty for their support in strengthening their professional habitat, the judiciary. It wouldn’t make sense if they didn’t heed her call for chemistry, the same way it wouldn’t make sense for Christians to turn their backs on “agape” or spiritual love—the highest form of chemistry that binds God to all his creatures.
By the way, the French call their chemistry “esprit de corps”—a bond founded on pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group. The chemistry this treatise deals with is of course not of the destructive sort, such as is found in criminal conspiracies and secret societies, but of the community or nation-building variety.
To repeat, it is inconceivable that any kind of endeavor by a group can succeed without chemistry among its members. In building their city-hood, for instance, chemistry was the secret formula between Nagueños and their leader, the late Mayor Jesse Robredo. He lived and led by example, so they loved and followed him.
Assuming DILG Sec. Robredo were still alive, would it not be a grave injustice to deprive Nagueños of the right to ask his wife to run for Mayor of Naga City, and even some of his kin to run for other city offices, there being no statutory bar in the enforcement of the constitutional prohibition against political dynasties?
Isn’t the voters’ freedom to choose their leaders the very essence of electoral democracy?! Don’t constituents have the last say on their right of suffrage?! Isn’t the welfare of the people the supreme law anymore?! And, what of the voice of the people being the voice of God, is it now to be stifled?!
Heck, I have seen the downfall of some political families after their services turned sour, or when their private pockets inexplicably filled up. So, why break the chemistry-charged momentum between progressing communities and their favored dynasties? I rest my case.
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