You are wrong! Again!

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to forego the eligibility requirements for government officials as long as they are competent and honest.

– ABS-CBN News, December 12, 2018
There is a reason for eligibility requirements.  As in any professional line of work, eligibility is the primary qualifier before you even hire anyone.  During a speech at the awarding of housing units to Scout Rangers in San Miguel, Bulacan, the president said, “whoever comes to his mind during his term, as long as they are competent and honest, are enough qualifications for him.”

That’s if he actually knows the people he puts into office.  With several appointments at his disposal, it is impossible that he personally vets all these people.  From the lowly government official to the cabinet members. That would require too much time and effort from him. The preference in the selection of the people he can appoint, are after all, his.  The caveat here is – so should the ultimate responsibility and accountability of both success and failure!  

Competence and honesty are relative terms.  On the other hand, eligibility are standards that need to be met before someone can even be considered for a position.  This means that the person needs to satisfy appropriate conditions. Competence is the ability to do something efficiently.  If the person lacks eligibility, how can one be competent? Eligibility, after all, is a mandatory requirement and is an act of due diligence. 

There are only three reasons why there are those who will refuse to acknowledge eligibility requirements when vetting qualified people for work.  

  • They are lazy.  When one is lazy, the preference is to do things quickly.  Never mind having to pore all through the documentary requirements and checklist of the applicant or the appointee.  All that reading material isn’t in the DNA of the appointer. 
  • They prefer to bend rules because they have preferences. In short, whether they are qualified or not, come hell or high water, they will insist on their friends and relatives. Never mind if they are eligible or not. After all, “competence and honesty” is on their side.  One can be honest and competent, but isn’t qualified for the job description.  Hire a nurse to run the Bureau of Customs or a pilot to run the Department of Health.  There are highly technical agencies that will need someone who is at least a licensed professional with managerial skills and experience. How can you even consider hiring someone who is a fresh graduate with the necessary degree but is either not yet licensed or God forbid, has no experience at all for that particular job?
  • The appointing person is incompetent.  Aside from the fact that laziness is in his genes, he’s most likely incompetent for the position of being the big boss as well.  His selection methods are archaic and finding a reason to obscure the rules of appointing ELIGIBLE people who are competent and honest really needs a lot of work.  No one ever said that the job would be easy.  But I guess some people are used to getting their jobs in government through elections.  They get voted into office with minimum eligibility requirements – being a Filipino citizen, fulfilling age limits, and has resided in that area for at least a certain period of time.  

Civil servants are accountable to the citizens of the nation.  The taxes we pay after all should redound to better and efficient service.  But it can only be done if the people are FIRST AND FOREMOST eligible.  Otherwise, ineligible people end up as ON THE JOB TRAINEES for managerial positions who at the whim of the president, should be appointed into office.

Eligibility is about placing guardrails on qualifications for positions that can be potentially abused by appointing authorities and their ilk through benefactors. It may not be perfect, but a checklist of standards for the particular position applied for should be met. Bluntly, it provides quality to any project, business or government. The competence and honesty will always be a bonus when the applicants are head to head in the final choice.

To neglect eligibility is tantamount to abolishing the civil service commission. It is a bad precedent. A recipe for disaster in governance. Conflicts of interest rise out of the ashes. Rationalizing corrupt practices for the benefit of the appointing authority becomes the rule rather than its exception.

For the second time in a row, you are wrong! Again!

Age doesn’t matter…

When former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos was found guilty for graft on 7 counts last week, many people felt that despite half a century since committing the crime (three decades of the case in court), justice wasn’t blind.

Or isn’t it?

Police Chief Oscar Albayalde went on the record on the air to say that “considering her age” the Philippine National Police shall not handcuff nor arrest her hurriedly. Minority house speaker Danilo Suarez didn’t feel that the crime Imelda did was a “big deal” and we ought to just poopah and “forgive and move on.”

For these two to provide these statements, it meant that they acknowledged her guilt. BUT, insinuate that we need to show kindness and compassion because she is 89 years old.

No rational moral thinking human being would even have thought the way Albayalde or Suarez thought. Clearly, people like these have biases and it’s just hard to pick the right words to describe their vapid line of thinking.

The bottom line is – the Sandiganbayan finds the accused, Imelda Romualdez Marcos – guilty in the 7 counts of graft. For all the suffering of the Filipinos because of the crimes of this family, I don’t understand how some people get the temerity to brush aside the guilt? How easy is it to tilt the balance of justice just because the accused are political friends with benefits with the incumbent rulers?

When these elderlies are still eligible, willing and able to run for public office, by golly, they should also be answerable and accountable to the office they occupy. In short, if there is graft and corruption committed by them during their term in office, they must pay for that crime! It is unjust that we look the other way just because of age. You cannot be willing to do one thing but not be accountable to answer for the misgovernance or corruption you committed.

The Philippine judicial system is slow enough that these people would have died before they got convicted. There is no moving on as long as the suffering and crimes are not reconciled. There is no forgiveness unless there are apologies.

Let’s call a spade a spade.

Justice cannot be selective. Justice must be tantamount to the crime committed. Regardless of people, power or personality.

Majority of our countrymen have limited funds for a decent meal, clothes to wear, shoes or slippers to walk kilometers to go to school, or a decent roof over their heads. When politicians deprive our countrymen of basic needs or even the sheer decency to live and survive day to day because they engage in shenanigans for personal gains, it is enraging that they are treated with kids gloves when they are found guilty of criminal acts.

If we stand for nothing, we fall for anything.

Remember: For fools to fall for the folly of the elderly, we deserve the injustice we get.

“How Democracies Die” (Part 2)

It is interesting how Levitsky and Ziblatt are on point with autocrats and authoritarianism.  They point out former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori’s rise to power as a case in point.  Fujimori is described as a demagogue.

Although some elected demagogues take office with a blueprint for autocracy, many, such as Fujimori do not.  Democratic breakdown doesn’t need a blueprint.  Rather, as Peru’s experience suggests, it can be the result of a sequence of unanticipated events — an escalating tit-for-tat between a demagogic, norm-breaking leader and a threatened political establishment.

The process often begins with word.  Demagogues attack their critics in harsh and provocative terms — as enemies, as subversives, and even as terrorists…Fujimori linked his opponents to terrorism and drug trafficking…These attacks can be consequential: If the public comes to share the view that opponents are linked to terrorism and the media are spreading lies, it becomes easier to justify taking actions against them.  

The assault rarely ends there.  Though observers often assure us that demagogues are “all talk” and that their words should not be taken too seriously, a look at demagogic leaders around the world suggests that many of them do eventually cross the line from words to actions.  This is because a demagogue’s initial rise to power tend to polarise society, creating a climate of panic, hostility and mutual distrust.  The new leader’s threatening words often have a boomerang effect.  If the media feels threatened, it may abandon restraint and professional standards in a desperate effort to weaken the government.  And the opposition may conclude that, for the good of the country, the government must be removed via extreme measures — impeachment, mass protest, even a coup.

They use a soccer game to explain to the reader on how elected autocrats can subtly undermine institutions.  To consolidate power, would-be authoritarians must capture the referees, sideline at least some of the other side’s star players, and rewrite the rules of the game to lock in their advantage, in effect tilting the playing field against their opponents.  

The referees are usually independent bodies that provide a check and balance in the democratic institution of the country.  They can be the judicial and law enforcement agencies of the nation.  It is, a referee’s job, after all, to prevent cheating.  If these agencies become controlled by loyalists.  Rights and the constitution violated.  Governments acting with impunity.

Capturing the referees provides the government with more than a shield.  It also offers a powerful weapon, allowing the government to selectively enforce the law, punishing opponents while protecting allies…

To entrench themselves in power, however, governments must do more — they must also change the rules of the game.  Authoritarians seeking to consolidate their power often reform the constitution, the electoral system, and other institutions in ways that disadvantage or weaken the opposition, in effect tilting the playing field against their rivals.  These reforms are often carried out under the guise of some public good, while in reality they are stacking the deck in favour of incumbents. And because they involve legal and even constitutional changes, they may allow autocrats to lock in these advantages for years and even decades.

These events do not happen overnight.  They are interplayed with other events in society that make the citizens lose track of what the real objective is.  For example, one can create a fictitious war or claim dissent and sow terror or economic crises and natural disasters in order to rationalise their next political moves.  Citizens are slow to realise that their democracy is being dismantled — even as it happens before their eyes.

We do not have to look at other countries as examples to how to kill a democracy.  Ferdinand Marcos is cited as a homegrown reality.

In 1969, after winning reelection to his second and final term in office, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines began to consider how he might use an emergency to extend his rule.  Marcos did not want to step aside when his second term expired in 1973, as the constitution dictated, so he drew up plans to declare martial law and rewrite the constitution.  But he needed a reason.  An opportunity arrived in July 1972, when a series of mysterious bombings rocked Manila.  Following an apparent assassination attempt on Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, Marcos, blaming communist terrorists, enacted his plan.  He announced martial law on national television, insisting somberly, “My countrymen…[this] is not a military takeover.”  He argued that “a democratic form of government is not a helpless government” and that the constitution — the one he was suspending — “wisely provided the means to protect it” when confronting a danger like insurrection.  With this move, Marcos ensconced himself in power for the next fourteen years.

Many constitutions allow executive power to be used during a crisis.  When civil liberties are threatened, elected autocrats will often need crises to stay in power.

There was a backstory to Ferdinand Marcos’s declaration of martial law in 1972: His “crisis” was largely fabricated.  Acutely aware that he needed to justify his plan to skirt the constitution’s two-term limit in the presidency, Marcos decided to manufacture a “communist menace”.  Facing only a few dozen actual insurgents, President Marcos fomented public hysteria to justify an emergency action.  Marcos wanted to declare martial law as early as 1971, but selling his plan required an act of violence — a terrorist attack — that generated widespread fear.  That would come the following year with the Manila bombings, which U.S. Intelligence officials believed to be the work of government forces, and the assassination attempt on Defense Secretary Enrile — which Enrile later admitted was “a sham”.  In fact, he said he was “nowhere near the scene” of the reported attack.

Constitutional safeguards are not enough to secure a democracy.  Even the most well designed constitutions fail.  With changing times, and circumstances, the constitution should be revisited every so often.

Note that the Philippines’ 1935 constitution has been described as a “faithful copy of the U.S. Constitution.”

Drafted under U.S. colonial tutelage and approved by the U.S. Congress, the charter “provided a textbook example of liberal democracy,” with a separation of powers, a bill of rights, and a two-term limit in the presidency.  But President Ferdinand Marcos, who was loath to step down when his second term ended, dispensed with it rather easily after declaring martial law in 1972.

The need to educate the people is a vital step in assuring that majority understand the meaning and value of democracy.  Dynastic rules in local governments are the most dangerous kind of power.  Perpetuating allies of the ruling party through dynasties kill democracy and a nation.  Unfortunately for us, no one in Congress or the Senate would be willing to throw the hat into the ring to show their sincerity in keeping democracy alive and well.  All rhetoric is spat into our face while back channeling happens within our very eyes.  After all, there is a saying that “what we don’t know won’t hurt us”.

Until it is too late.

“How Democracies Die” (Part 1)

That’s the title of the book authored by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (copyright 2018, published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York).  Politics is not my kind of read. When a friend had told me about this book, I was skeptical at first. The long weekend was a perfect time to pour over the 312 pages of discourse on “how democracies die“.

It’s an interesting read, and yes, hard to put down.  The historical data were on point (with appropriate references).  It comes at a time when populism is on the rise, not only in the United States, or the Philippines, but with reference to the world.  How fragile democracy is in the hands of a few.  Who the gatekeepers and players actually are.  And the destruction of not only an institution, but a nation and its people.

In their introduction alone, the argument that many of us think of the “death of democracies in the hands of men with guns” through military power are only one end of the spectrum.  These are cases where democracies “dissolve in spectacular fashion”.

But there is another way to break a democracy.  It is less dramatic but equally destructive.  Democracies may die at the hands not of generals but of elected leaders — presidents or prime ministers who subvert the very process that brought them to power.  Some of these leaders dismantle democracy quickly, as Hitler did in the wake of the 1933 Reichstag fire in Germany.  More often, though, democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps.

…..

Blatant dictatorship — in the form of fascism, communism, or military rule — has disappeared across much of the world.  Military coups and other violent seizures of power are rare.  Most countries hold regular elections.  Democracies still die, but by different means.  Since the end of the Cold War, most democratic breakdowns have been caused not by generals and soldiers but by elected governments themselves. Like Chávez in Venezuela, elected leaders have subverted democratic institutions in Georgia, Hungary, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Ukraine.  Democratic backsliding today begins at the ballot box.

…..

Many government efforts to subvert democracy are “legal”, in the sense that they are approved by the legislature or accepted by the courts.  They may even be portrayed as efforts to improve democracy — making the judiciary more efficient, combatting corruption, or cleaning up the electoral process.  Newspapers still publish but are bought off or bullied into self-censorship.  Citizens continue to criticise the government but often find themselves facing tax or other legal troubles.  This sows public confusion.  People do not immediately realise what is happening.  Many continue to believe that they are living under a democracy…

Because there is no single moment — no coup, declaration of martial law, or suspension of the constitution — in which the regime obviously “crosses the line” into dictatorship, nothing may set off society’s alarm bells.  Those who denounce government abuse may be dismissed as exaggerating or crying wolf.  Democracy’s erosion is, for many, almost imperceptible.

If these few lines sound familiar to you, it should interest you in purchasing the book in order to get a clearer grasp of power and how rulers use existing laws to change the world.

The first litmus test of a democracy is “not whether figures emerge but whether political leaders, especially political parties, work to prevent them from gaining power in the first place — by keeping them off mainstream party tickets, refusing to endorse or align with them, and when necessary, making common cause with rivals in support of democratic candidates.”  Why do you think there are new alliances and dalliances that we have to contend with? “Isolating population extremists requires political courage.  But when fear, opportunism, or miscalculation leads established parties to bring extremists into the mainstream, democracy is imperiled.

The second test is once a would-be authoritarian makes it to power.  “Will the autocratic leader subvert democratic institutions or be constrained by them? Institutions alone are not enough to rein in elected autocrats. Constitutions must be defended — by political parties and organised citizens, but also by democratic norms.  Without robust norms, constitutional checks and balances do not serve as the bulwarks of democracy we imagine them to be.  Institutions become political weapons, wielded forcefully by those who control them against those who do not.

This is how elected autocrats subvert democracy — packing and “weaponising” the courts and other neutral agencies, buying off the media and the private sector (or bullying them into silence), and rewriting the rules of politics to tilt the playing field against opponents.  The tragic paradox of the electoral route to authoritarianism is that democracy’s assassins use the very institutions of democracy — gradually, subtly, and even legally — to kill it.

How does one detect an authoritarian?

Political scientist Juan Linz in a small but seminal book published in 1978 entitled The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes highlights the role of politicians, showing how their behaviour can either reinforce democracy or put it at risk.

There are four (4) behavioural warning signs that can help us know an authoritarian when we see one.  We should worry when a politician:

  1. rejects, in words or action, the democratic rules of the game
  2. denies the legitimacy of opponents
  3. tolerates or encourages violence
  4. indicates a willingness to curtail the civil liberties of opponents

A politician who meets even ONE of these criteria is cause for concern.

It’s an interesting discourse on what kind of political candidates tend to test positive on a litmus test for authoritarianism.

Very often, populist outsiders do.  Populists are antiestablishment politicians — figures who, claiming to respect the voice of “the people”, wage war on what they depict as a corrupt and conspiratorial elite…They tell voters that the existing system is not really a democracy but instead has been hijacked, corrupted, or rigged by the elite.  And they promise to bury that elite and return power to “the people”.

This discourse should be taken seriously.  When populists win elections, they often assault democratic institutions.

Recognizing the issue is the first step at reckoning the problem. The second step is addressing — how to avoid it.

At any point in our history, or even in the future, there will be players who will want to kill democracy. Today, technology plays an important role. Nevertheless, no matter how one looks at the means — people will always be behind the political ploy in the death of democracy.

Selective mutism

I learned two new words today.

Selective mutism. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) puts this into perspective:

Some children are shy and do not like to talk to people that they don’t know. They usually start talking when they feel more comfortable.  However, some children will not talk at certain times, no matter what.  This is selective mutism.  It is often frustrating for the child and others.

The DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition) classify and diagnose social and mental disorder for selective mutism when you notice the following:

  • have an anxiety disorder
  • be very shy
  • be afraid to embarrass themselves in public
  • want to be alone and not talk with friends or others

I am seeing this more frequently in children who are bullied. But bullying into being cowered to the point of being silenced out of fear is not privy to kids alone.

Adults are not included in the DSM V classification for this as a social and mental problem.  And while its disorder is primarily for pediatric patients, hypothetically, the two words encompass what is seen in every walk of society and social class today.  When people refuse to voice out their opinion because are afraid of being bashed or sounded off when they provide personal thoughts on various social issues, “selective mutism” are two words that find relevance during these times.

It’s really difficult when you have to deal with intellectually disabled people who have a lack of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) in their brains because they think they wear a crown.

We need to speak out, when we should. After all, that quiet voice is still a voice that needs to be heard. When all that silence is broken, it will be louder than you think.

Well F you too…

di ba parang tanga lang kung minsan?

nakakinis na eh.

You’re reading a news report and when you scroll down there are idiotic comments from irritatingly irrelevant trolls. They’re everywhere. Like maggots or pests that just sprout out of nowhere. They’re the bane of life.

kung minsan ayaw mong patulan yan mga engot na pag nagcomment ka ng matino sa isang issue, walang sinabi kundi, DDS tayo!!! Die Hard!!! Huwag kalimutan ang SAF44, at ang mga biktima ng Dengvaxia, etc., etc.

susmaryosep!

di naman yon ang pinaguusapan. pero talagang pag tanga, wagas! mga gago! Sobra naman ang pagiging die hard lang talaga. Kahit na sobrang epal at tanga. Grabe.

Most of them are just that – trolls. They have fake identities. You can tell. They repetitively post and repost comments (cut and paste) that have no relevance at all to the issue at hand.

Oh and this isn’t about PNoy. The previous presidents had their shining and shaming moments as well.

But what the F! It used to be that when one needed to say something about an issue, we did. Let’s just say that there was room for intelligent discourse rather than unnecessary comments with no reason or rhyme.

Commenting against a faux pas regardless of who is the sitting president does not mean being against the administration. It means calling a spade a spade at atrocities from the get go. It keeps the democracy of a country vibrant and healthy.

The most difficult issue with these maggots is that they have no accountability. Well yes and having no brains at all for that matter is a different story altogether.

They punch the keyboards with senseless comments and don’t bring anything to the table. Obviously they can’t because they’re pseudonyms. They’re not real people. I’m willing to even bet that more than half of them are not registered voters or have no right to vote or aren’t even taxpayers.

You sometimes want to look the other way but can’t help it. Either shake your head at so much stupidity going around and wonder if it’s a mental illness or new found disease or have these people just simply lost it?

Basic logic and common sense has been thrown out of the window.

This is an example of a post online.

It’s just news. But no!!! You get reactions that range from idiotic to threatening and you know that dumb shit is just everywhere.

I’d understand if you’re getting paid to peddle misinformation and display a pompous attitude towards freedom of expression. After all, the bias of these trolls is quite obvious. It’s for the money. Sadly, I can’t say the same for those who don’t receive a centavo and yet are at the giving end of lies and evil.

Really, whoever is doing this, is giving a bad name to the president. If I were Duterte, I would have all these bastards flushed down the drain and incarcerated for destroying his reputation. (Unless of course his camp is propagating all these.)

When you cannot determine the thin line between being stupid or just a turd, you can just use or sense of smell. And you can tell the turd isn’t far behind you.

Mentors and tormentors

You’ve got to give it to the Filipino people. Not only are we a nation with the most beautiful smiles in the world. We’re probably the most patient as well.

My barometer for patience is how we react to inefficiency and injustice.

Of course, I say that with sarcasm.

I’m guessing that the root of why we are and who we are as a people is because of our colonial history. Yep! That’s right. Everyone’s destiny is shaped by our invaders. You know the drift – divide and conquer.

If we look at our Asian and ASEAN neighbours alone, we all share a history of being colonized or invaded by a foreign country.  I think enslaved would have been a better term.  From out of the rubbles, all these countries stood tall.  Even Vietnam, a country that saw a war with the United States tear that country apart, has resurrected from the ashes to become one of the most rapid economic regions in ASEAN.

The Philippines has gone through several foreign colonizers and oppressors. Let’s face it. As a people, I think we’ve grown accustomed to the fact that we were bullied from the get go in the writing of our history.

They have a term for that in psychology/psychiatry – it’s called Stockholm Syndrome.

Our level of bullying was so ingrained that the Filipinos could not tell if they preferred getting abused by a foreign invader or later on, by fellow Filipinos who would eventually believe that their actions are to deliver the Filipinos from hell. Aguinaldo would become a household name to Philippine history. He was the President of the First Philippine Republic.

Our history was riddled with presidents and invasions from foreigners in between the terms of these presidents.

Philippine History tells about how foreigners saw the strategic position of the Philippines in Asia and the ASEAN region. I am sure they knew that were a nation worth the conquer. The rich resources. The beautiful people. There was more to gain than lose.

We’re definitely up there when it comes to patience.  We’re patient with gaining our own independence and our self worth.  Sometimes we come close to achieving it and when it is within our grasp, we let other people take away our national pride.

We’ve not allowed history to be our lesson.  We’ve let history repeat itself.  This time allowing Filipinos who torment and lead by tyranny and injustice become their voices.

Think about the disambiguation.

Those who still believe that there will be deliverance in the midst of impunity most likely suffer from Stockholm syndrome. And we only have history and our colonizers to blame for being unpatriotic.

Or when we sleep with our tormentors.

Common sense and logic

In my first year in college, one of our subject was Logic.  I recall my professor, Mrs. Estrella de Leon passionately going through the essentials of simple logic.

Logic after all is fundamental to how humans communicate.  Public debates, ways of reasoning are daily exercises that are shaped by the principles of logic. Mathematical background and symbolic methods are not prerequisites to symbolic logic.  All that is required is the brain in between your two ears in order to appreciate Argument and Critical Thinking.

Symbolic logic is the simplest form of logic and is a great time-saver in argumentation. It works on basic premises of common sense. It requires minor intuitive neuronal capacity for understanding. There is, after all, a scientific basis for something as basic as logic.

Basic logic, after all, is common sense.

Aristotle once said that

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Logic and common sense escapes many of us today.

From government officials to the trolls who have nothing better to do in life but leave vile useless, brainless comments. Or make inutile decisions that are tantamount to making stupid a daily exercise in judgement.

It is obvious that these oppressors are simply trying to silence the noise. But not everyone lacks logic or common sense. Balls and courage may be lacking but hopefully we find enough moral values that isn’t ready to sell our souls and integrity to the devil.

We all know where this is leading to. Because in politics today, common sense and logic just don’t go together.

Let’s not even try to argue the obvious fact that those who still embrace the way the government is being run have run out of the remaining common sense and logic they have left. If you feel alluded to, take a bow.

Good people don’t need laws to tell them to act responsibly, and bad people will always find a way around the laws.

– Plato

Survival

When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder stay around the people who don’t.

It’s unfortunate that there are those who undermine freedom of expression so casually by posting fake stories or simply just thoughtlessly lying. Oftentimes, it’s like tiptoeing on eggshells when you’re reading the comments section. Sadly, it’s obvious that there are simply “paid” trolls who provide no opinion at all except some hard core, brainless bashing.

More often than not, it’s hard to look the other way at what’s happening in social media today. The politicking at a level unheard of in the past decade has escalated to the point of having to deal with inutiles.

When you see posts that get advertised for the wrong purpose, one cannot help but be incensed at how callous these lowlife people get.

It’s not about being with one side of the political spectrum that’s disillusioning. It’s the fact that whoever even owns these troll farms should be held accountable for sowing disinformation, particularly to the gullible.

Political survival is a difficult conflict to manage. The interest of the nation should always be at the forefront of every government personnel and official. Especially those that hold critical positions in government. When vested interests supervenes for the sake of surviving a political conflict, these officials should be prosecuted for being traitors to the nation.

What is most disappointing are the silent ones. They refuse to be caught in the fray or make a stand because of a variety of reasons, including personal ones. As Desmond Tutu points out

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Silence in the midst of impunity is tantamount to being complicit with injustice.

You cannot fight the battle only when the war is in your backyard. Because you were silent and just watching when the war was being fought in my backyard, now that your house is burning, would you expect me to sympathize with you and fight the same battle you so unwittingly didn’t care to lift a finger to help me fight?

When democracy is demonized and truth replaced with lies, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Because all we wanted to do was to silently survive with evil when we wined and danced with the devil.

Lies & the liars

People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.

And that’s the problem today. There’s so much lies being peddled around.

They say that senile dementia has set in with the 95 year old politician who lied about the peachy years during the Marcos Martial Law. I beg to disagree. While mental deterioration in the elderly is a normal phenomenon, there is a clear difference between lying and dementia. His pronouncement is not only disgusting but outrageous as well.

The only people who are mad at you for speaking the truth are those who are living a lie.

He benefitted from the ouster of a dictator. He slept with the political foes and friends. He and his family has amassed wealth out of his existence in politics. It is a shame that there are fools who even believe his pronouncements that no one was ever killed during the Martial Law years.

Denying the truth does not change the facts. And history can never be rewritten to benefit a few.

As a people, the actions of politicians who twist the truth is tantamount to betraying a nation.

We will never change what we tolerate.

There is a need to recalibrate our moral compass if we are to survive as a nation.

And this old man is not the only liar in our midst.