Sunday, July 09, 2006

Greatness Can Never Be Legislated

Greatness cannot be legislated. Politics never had, never has and never will have the monopoly of power, truth and that rare attribute called wisdom.
For that matter no one person or group of persons can claim that he, she or they are absolutely honest and without hidden and tainted motives up their sleeves.

Susan Roces’ decision not to send anyone to receive the National Artist Award for her husband, the late Fernando Poe is not a mere political move as Mike Defensor and even independent movie producer Kidlat Tahimik imply.
Susan’s statement is her statement, as the widow of Fernando Poe. A widow expressing her feelings and convictions speaks from her heart and not according to the scheming minds of political advisers nor even the hurting fans and supporters of the late Fernando Poe.

Fernando is Susan’s husband. She is closest to him. She knows his mind and heart better than anyone. Let Susan say what she thinks and feels about Fernando Poe. When she says it, I, nor anyone should not question and diminish its value for it comes from someone whose love and devotion to Fernando Poe cannot be questioned.

Mike Defensor is quoted saying, “I think she (President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) is sad because this had been tainted with politics.” I laughed and wished to congratulate Mike for yet another feat of political acrobatics. (Baliktad yata Mike?) Who is tainting what with politics? No, Gloria is sad because like eager and impatient politicians she did not get what she wanted.
Two words caught my attention in Susan’s statement, diminish and trivialize. First, Susan says that “the Poe Family does not wish to diminish the value of the award by accepting it form Mrs. Arroyo. I cannot in all conscience go through the motions of the awarding ceremonies just for public display.” Second, Susan, to remind distinguished institutions like the NCCA and CCP of their elevated role in society says, “The Gawad Pambansang Alagad ng Sining is too important and prestigious to be trivialized and I feel that would be doing my husband and those who believe in him a grave dishonour.”

Who are the people at the helm of the NCCA and the CCP? How did they get there? Who choose the jurors for selecting National Artists? What hand does the President of the Republic have in the selection of National Artists?
Soon the Death Penalty will be abolished again. The Catholic Bishops are happy. Gloria is happy that they are happy. If Susan is not happy about the National Artist Award posthumously awarded to her husband, Gloria is not happy too. But Susan’s unhappiness cannot be manipulated. In her own words her feelings and convictions cannot be diminished nor trivialized.

If Fernando Poe is great let his fans, the Masses, his family and friends decide that. Politics in our country and anywhere else for that matter presumes too much. Politicians even think that they can define greatness. The pain brought on by Fernando Poe’s death continues to linger in the hearts of those who love him. An Award cannot remove the pain. The great German poet Goethe once said, “All things ripe want to die!”

Perhaps Fernando Poe was ripe. Perhaps Raul Roco was ripe. In our language the word for ripe is “hinog.” There is another word that is related to but quite the opposite of ripe, “bulok.” An award does not make what is ripe riper. Ironically, an award may in fact unmask the “unripe” and worst the “bulok.”

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
GOMBURZA, June 9, 2006


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