Monday, February 14, 2011

Give us a frackin' break, Father

“I mourn his passing because he was a bright man, a true soldier and a faithful public servant... As for the ersatz whistle-blower who was budget officer or something in the Armed Forces and made the pabaon claims, he can sniffle and sound sorry all he likes, mourning, he claims, General Angie’s death, to score yet more points with a gullible audience. He has only my scorn and spite.” -- Catholic priest Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, on Gen. Angelo Reyes

Scorn and spite? You know, Father, the words of kindness would have been enough. Your paying tribute to the good qualities of Gen. Reyes would have sufficed. You are his friend--nobody would begrudge you your desire to highlight the better angels of his nature, and thereby remember him in the most positive light.

But you couldn't leave well enough alone, could you? You couldn't trust your simple words of charity to do their work. You also had to play judge, attempting to exonerate Gen. Reyes of the charges leveled against him not by an appeal to facts or hard evidence, but by assaulting the character of the person whose testimony led to your friend's sorry circumstances.

You are a Catholic priest. Your loyalty, I would reckon, has to be to something higher than friendship--the truth, for instance. Instead of lashing out against Lt. Col. Rabusa, might it not have been more helpful if you had called for a speedy resolution of the questions raised against Gen. Reyes? If you believed your friend was innocent, surely you would want the truth to come out, too, once and for all.

Why didn't you call for the investigation to continue--not only to persevere in uncovering more of the anomalies that have come to light, but, more importantly, to be fair, thorough and unrelenting in its work? Because, if Gen. Reyes were indeed the object of unjust accusations, only the truth would cleanse him of that taint.

Where was the call for the truth? Where was the call for the guilty to be punished--not in Gen. Reyes' death, which, it must be said, was his choice alone, but in the system and environment whose all-consuming corruption had led him to this tragic pass?

By your words, you would like the public to believe that Gen. Reyes couldn't have been capable of the transgressions attributed to him. You paint him in broad strokes--“a bright man, a true soldier and a faithful public servant.”. He might well have been all of that, and God bless him. But you'd honor your friend more if you were to acknowledge that he was also more complex, more human, than how you would allow yourself, and the nation, to remember him.

Here, for instance, were among the last words Gen. Reyes wrote, reportedly for an upcoming interview before his death:

“I did not invent corruption. I walked into it. Perhaps my first fault was in having accepted aspects of it as a fact of life... Tinyente pa ako, ganyan na ang sistema (i.e., 'conversion' system, etc.)... I can perhaps be faulted for presuming regularity in a grossly imperfect system."

Even Gen. Reyes was forthright enough to admit he wasn't lily-white. That he was, indeed, privy to the long-term rot of the institution he would devote his life to. He could accept that, if there was anything that could be flung at him, it was that he accepted the way things were, and didn't do much to change them. At the minimum, by helping perpetuate iniquity with his indifference or inaction, he was, in the Catholic Church's formulation, guilty of the sin of omission. Not as grave perhaps, as the active, conscious commission of wrongdoing, but still a big enough sin. Right, Father Aquino?

In fact, if I remember my catechism right, omission could, in cases, be the greater sin. Because, by such acquiescence, by such timid acceptance of wrongdoing, one only enables crookedness to thrive and do greater harm. If Angelo Reyes had had the boldness to stand up to the widespread misconduct in the organization he said he loved with all his being, had he openly damned the system for the grievous compromises it imposed on the character and consciences of the people working in it--had he said “Enough is enough!,” and then used all the power and influence of his lofty office to make sure change did happen--would we even need to be reminded now that he was, indeed, “a bright man, a true soldier and a faithful public servant?”

I would think, Father, that the best way to respect the memory of Gen. Reyes is to make sure his legacy is a more honest, more upright, more professional Armed Forces of the Philippines. He himself would have no quarrel with that, correct? And that means, at the very least, supporting any attempt to shine a light on the organization, to remind it forcefully of its moral and legal obligations to the nation--to search for the truth in all the lies, wherever it may lead and whoever it might implicate.

In place of all of that, however, you dismiss Gen. Reyes' accuser as an “ersatz whistle-blower” (you must have felt very clever using that word--ersatz). He was merely a “budget officer or something.” You mock him for his sniffles--an attempt, you say, “to score yet more points with a gullible audience.”

Father Aquino, I am part of the audience that's been paying close attention to this controversy. You insult me, and I believe the rest of the nation, when you call us gullible. We are not gullible. We may not know all the facts at this point (who does--except the stonewalling generals themselves?), but we can pretty much think for ourselves. We're not even guessing--the pitiless glare of TV cameras does the work for us.

If you have been watching the proceedings, as most of us have been, and you are of sound faculties, you would know by now who are probably telling the truth and who, through their weaselly words and sheepish dispositions, are shamelessly spinning lies; which testimony is more plausible, and which one deserves ridicule.

Unlike you, we're invested in more than loyalty to certain people here. Quite simply, we would like to know the truth. We are sick and tired of the unending corruption in high places, and we want to know how our money is spent. Yes, in case it has escaped your mind--the millions of pesos of misappropriated funds they're talking about? That is OUR money. Those are from the taxes that people like me pay month in and month out, without question--only to be misused, it is apparent now, in shopping trips by generals' wives for houses and properties in the US, and hefty pabaon to retiring generals.

I repeat: That is our money. That is the people's money. And to treat them in this fashion--as the personal petty cash of people who otherwise insist on honor and integrity as the very threads of their spiffy, bemedalled uniforms--is plain stealing. Now why should we not find that outrageous and enraging? Why presume, Father, that the enormous public interest in these proceedings could only be explained by the fact that people are “gullible,” unthinking?

You are a priest. You are supposed to know better. Or maybe that's where we've been gullible enough--believing that somebody like you is capable of fidelity to something higher--wisdom, in a word. Scorn and spite? Frankly, your words are a disgrace to you, your cassock and your calling.

Given the uncharitable, intemperate nature of your remarks, I'll offer my own. You and your ilk don't EVER pay taxes. Maybe that's why you can't even feign interest in this matter. A request then: on occasions like this when the country has a rare opportunity to rid itself of so-called public servants who rob us blind of our hard-earned money, do spare us the misguided, pompous bloviation and just shut up. You never share in the pot, anyway.

23 comments:

Ms. Chuniverse said...

Very well said Gibbs!

I agree. Completely.

Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly. Reyes died without honor. He claimed not to remember receiving hundreds of millions of pesos...really now. Instead of telling the truth and helping this country make a dent on the fight against corruption, he did the opposite. He killed himself thus taking his secrets to his grave. He could have redeemed himself by exposing the corrupt. He was selfish to the end.

Janellyn said...

Applause!! :)

joelmcvie said...

Bravo! This should be on the front page of the Inquirer.

Anonymous said...

sana ikaw na lang ang ginawang head ng communication group ni pnoy...

Anonymous said...

dear gibbs cadiz;

kaya pala ganyan ka kung magsalita kasi napakalinis ninyo jan sa inquirer! di ka pa nakaranas ng tunay na problema, inday, kaya puwede ba itiklop mo na muna yang mga napakalinis mong hintuturo bago ka manghusga sa kapwa mo! kelan ka pa ba iluklok jan sa malacanang ni abnoy at nang magtagisan kayo ng kagandahan ni manoling quezon, ha?

Will said...

Nicely written. It is becoming more and more apparent that the handlers of the religion are a tad bit unreliable. Maybe it's a good thing I stopped following it years ago.

Aleph's id said...

Spot on, gibbs.

And to the anonymous commenter, oh please, spare us the cheap tricks. My GOD, you haven't even realized how laughable your comments would sound within the context of this post, no? Ang dali-daling mang-insulto ng tao, talo ka pa ng mga bata sa kanto.

At the very least, we could all try to understand why Gibbs Cadiz had reacted this way (and either agree or disagree). Eh ikaw, you're just an anonymous troll. btw, sir, with all your supposed knowledge, alam mo ba kung ano ang original meaning ng salitang "bading"? But i guess you'd rather indulge in your pettiness.

alquin said...

very well said
I think the dead general bought his stairway to heaven trough this priest.. shame on those non tax payers and come to think of it, sila walang tax samantalang ang laki ng kinikita ng mga SCHOOL NILA....

Guyrony said...

Bashing to an intellectual level.

Pompous indeed.

Ah,but I see detractors.

Oh, they must love you so much...

iurico said...

Gibbs Cadiz, you just turned my favorite blogger EVER!!!

Would you mind if I share this post around? Credit goes to you, of course...

gibbs cadiz said...

sure, IURICO, thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

OA iyong reaction ng priest, pero OA din iyong article. kawatan si reyes, and madami ding skalawag sa inquirer. ...

gibbs cadiz said...

dear ANONYMOUS, the next time you have your own version of a lt. col. rabusa testifying that inquirer staff are being sent off to retirement with P50 million each OF THE PEOPLE'S MONEY, or that our spouses and families have houses and properties in the US bought WITH THE PEOPLE'S MONEY, balik ka dito--perhaps by that time pwede na tayo mag-usap ng matino. for now, pasensiya na, tatawa lang muna kami ha?

Anonymous said...

Kami matagal nang tumatawa sa mga ganitong istorya ng inquirer

http://donavictorina.blogspot.com/2010/12/jessica-alfaro-tale-god-have-mercy-of.html

http://showbizandstyle.inquirer.net/sim/sim/view/20110122-315972/Please-Dont-Give-Blogging-a-Bad-Name

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/metro/view/20100922-293803/Gov-Baby-Pineda-a-jueteng-queen

gibbs cadiz said...

dear readers, please do take time to check out the 3 sample articles mr. anonymous has so generously provided us because--yeah, they're on the same level as the afp mess. brilliant equivalency.

kidlatdakila said...

I couldn't have said it better gibbs! (mostly because I don't have the capacity. lol)

To Mr. Anonymous, your ad hominem terribly fails to debunk the arguments in this blog. What Gibbs wrote are rooted in verifiable claims and sound logic. With much irony, i state my case: go back to your filthy cave, troll. Empty vessels make the most noise.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gibbs - i felt exactly the same thing as I was watching his wake/burial ceremonies last weekend. I couldn't stand it. Unfortunately, I was not as eloquent and good in words as you are. Thank you for putting in writing what i felt - it seemed like i was able to make an outburst of all my negative thoughts while reading your article. Pa-share ha (with credits of course). At least I can express na to my friends my feelings - thanks to your article.

Don't get be discouraged by that anonymous poster. His posts alone manifest lack of breed and rational thinking - not deserving of anyone's attention.

More power!

joelmcvie said...

Gibbs, obvious naman na magka-ibang plane kayo ni anonymous. Patulan ba? Be kind to your back (Sustagen Premium or not), stop stooping.

gibbs cadiz said...

ah eh, sensya na teh mcvie, obvious naman kasi na ang blog na'to is mine alone, the opinions here are of a personal and individual nature na walang kinalaman sa inquirer, pero kelangan talaga idawit siya, dabah? akshuli, it's not so much na me 'skalawag' daw sa diyaryo--it's the spelling lang. LOLZ. :) where's my anlene?!

Fickle Cattle said...

@joel: Hahaha. Panalo.

http://ficklecattle.blogspot.com/

Dan said...

@ anonymouse.. laugh all you want... be satisfied with your utmost mediocrity, magpakasasa ka sa pagtawa sa mga bagay na hindi mo sinipat at sinuri..

"It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they only know their side of the question."
– John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism, 1863

Rarf! Gibbs nice nice nice!

Anonymous said...

Hi!

I totally agree with your opinion. I know Fr. Rannie personally and I hope this would reach him. This could/should change his "diva" attitude.

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