I was with my daughter at Chocolat and we were waiting for our slice of choco cake and frozen hot spanish chocolate when the headline of Manila Bulletin, March 2, 2008 issue, caught my attention. Bishops: Not Taking Sides On Politics . And to quote:
Catholic bishops are neither “pro” nor “anti”-Arroyo, Lingayen-Dagupan (Pangasinan) Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said yesterday.”As shepherds of the Church and people, bishops, who provide moral and spiritual guidance to people, do not take sides when it comes to the issues involving politics”
I was kinda surprised because the leadership of the Catholic Church has made known their guiding principle. That their primary role is to guide the flock spiritually and not to take sides on politics. They affirmed their respect for the separation of the state and the church. This, I believe should silence their critics. The present crop of Bishops deserve a pat on the back for resisting pressure.
This is a complete turn around from the 1986 era leadership. Though we still have bishops, maybe followers of a late Cardinal, who strongly believe on the interference of the religious leaders to state affairs and governance.
As I checked the local blogosphere, the 4 corners are rocked by the call for GMA to resign. I took note of a comment from Bendz from one of the blogs I visited. To quote, he said
Manila should always put to mind that they are not the only people living in this country
So far, the only dissenting opinion I read on the issue is his. And I am assuming that he felt imperialist Manila is forcing her will on his.
Yesterday, I also shared my insights about democratic processes and mob rule. I have a feeling that the People Power culture inculcated on us are turning our democratic institution into mob rule or mobocracy. The elements are there:
- Pressure is exerted to the military and police to withdraw support from the constitutionally elected official.
- There were pressures too, for the CBCP to do ala the late Cardinal, to call on the people to be on the street and support ouster calls.
- One of the reason why there is a call for the President to resign is to avoid bloodshed, a threat that if she will not leave voluntarily, she will be ousted by force.
- Those who have a dissenting opinion are not respected. I read a comment about the inconvenience the rally has caused, and a barrage of criticism followed.
- People being agitated to join, rather than convince them of the merits.
- Judgment without due process
As a young dude back then, (1st year college) I am one of the warm bodies at EDSA (1). After Marcos agreed to be evacuated to Paway, Ilocos, he was taken to Hawaii. This paved the way for the peaceful transfer of power. Being the first in the world, Filipinos were admired and respected everywhere. However, we failed to keep this admiration. Soon after that, farmers were shot at Mendiola, the bloodiest coup’s were recorded in history, and since most of the good projects of the former President was set aside, the country in (energy) crisis was turned over to another leader.
(Un)fortunately, EDSA has set the precedent and a culture of people power was inculcated.
At ERAP’s downfall (2nd EDSA) while we believe we were triumphant, we were laughed at by the democratic world because a constitutional process was terminated in favor of mob rule, but it does not share the sentiments of the majority (the violent people power 3 is a proof of this). Pressured by the mob, constitutional authorities defected or withdrawn their support from ERAP. Though ERAP left Malacanang, he did not resign. Though power was taken from him, the legality of “constructive resignation” is still being questioned.
My reservation for mass actions
- It is guided by emotion, rather than rule of law and due process. If not careful, this can turn into mob rule.
- Politicians have their own agenda
- We rally behind half truths (also lies, by the way).
- Rights of the minority may not be respected.
Learning from history
- Because Cory’s gov’t was founded by rebellion, her administration was also rocked by rebellion. Trouble is coming from both the rightists and the leftists groups.
- Because the legitimacy of the transfer of power from ERAP to GMA is in question, we ended up in this present predicament.
- Surprisingly, the only President who enjoyed a time of stability is FVR, though he is a minority President, the legitimacy of his election brought peace and stability.
In short, if a government is established by rebellion, it will also reap rebellion. If GMA will resign, it’ s good for the country. But let kabayan Noli serve as President until 2010. But some of the protagonist does not want a Noli presidency. We’ll have another round of mass actions, by then. Right?
If GMA will not resign, shall we oust her by force? What will happen next?
I hope people will exercise their rights with utmost care, and the future of the next generation will be given proper consideration.
I still believe on our democratic rights and freedoms to peacefully asemble, express our grievances, etc. I also believe on the rule of law and due process. Let a case be filed in the proper court. People may play around the loop holes of the law for a time, but their own web of lies and deceit will trap them. Justice may be slow, but it will certainly overtake and catch the wrongdoer.
I am for a change and leadership by example. However, change can only be achieved thru a total culture and systemic overhaul. A change in watch will not change the system and culture. It should start from the individual. From parents, to their children. From our homes to our educational institutions, businesses and every segment of our society.