Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Eliminating the Opposition

Extra-judicial killings, forty two libel cases filed by First Gentleman; Lucio Tan’s P 25 Billion tax evasion case dismissed by Marikina Court; Comelec officials and Mega Pacific P 1. 3 Billion questionable deal declared clean by Ombudsman; former UP President Dodong Nemenzo accused of protecting rebel soldiers; cheating in the 2006 National Nursing exam divulged; Mayor Braulio Yaranon of Baguio suspended; and now Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati suspended on allegations of corruption and hiring of ghost employees.

There are so many mixed, incompatible ingredients in the current “stew mixing in the witches’ cauldron.” What can you expect from the final outcome? Expect anything but good and nourishing food for body and soul. Each day as the political crisis in the Philippines deepens, one imagines more than a can of worms. I am led to imagine a coven, a sinister gathering of witches, ugly, greedy, evil and utterly despicable. This is a frightening and unhealthy sight to imagine yet as each day passes, instead of tipping over and spilling out the poison stew brewing in the witches’ cauldron, we seem to allow the adding of more and more pernicious ingredients to make it deadlier.

The cauldron boils and the witches gather in Makati where Mayor Jojo Binay defies the administration order for his suspension. Binay is standing his ground and staying put. He will not allow himself to become an ingredient in the deadly witches’ stew.

While Binay is no saint and will probably need to so some explaining, why, if I may ask is he the only one being singled out now? There are hundreds of Mayors all over the country, why Binay?

The other day, no less than former President Corazon Aquino visited Mayor Jojo Binay and gave him her support. It would be foolish for Mrs. Aquino to go to a leader of the camp of ousted President Joseph Estrada. Clearly, it is more than this. Like President Cory, others who also visited Mayor Binay believe that a plan is afoot. Binay is an important symbol of the opposition. In a few months, even as the air cools towards Christmas, heat will begin to flow from the approaching election fever. In order to remain in power, the Administration should at least neutralize if not eliminate the opposition. A good many among the opposition have already been neutralized through the usual way. But Binay will not be bought. Perhaps at a shallower level, we can say the issue is power and not money. On another level, it is more than power or its survival but the very survival of a gasping democracy apparently on its last throes.

If Mayor Binay does not fight and Malacanang would have its way, then not only Makati would fall into their hands but all other opposition bailiwicks as well. Everything is already falling one by one like a deck of cards. Many have fallen never to get up like Bishop Alberto Ramento and the many silenced as they drowned in their own blood. Many are threatened with civil and criminal cases. The effects of the “witches’ brew” can be fatal both for democracy and more the very integrity and survival of the Filipino soul.

There is dirt, slime and poison spread around from the “witches’brew” but what must we do about it?

On the human level, we must resist and stand our ground as Mayor Jojo Binay is doing in Makati. Binay has to resist a greater and bigger evil hypocritically claiming that it wants to clean up evil everywhere starting with Makati. Binay has this ambivalent duty to fight against a greater evil now without reneging on his duty to do the same for his own soul. Malacanang wants to intimidate Binay as it has done to many. So many have already shrunk and given up under the threat of physical, political and economic annihilation. The “witches’ brew” spews out cowardice, compromise and shameful subservience. Mayor Binay is no virtuous man, but many say that among his few virtues is his courage and determination. Our Nation and her people are beginning to cower and shrink. The opposition both the organized and the un-organized, Binay and the rest of us need to reflect on something the writer Anais Nin once wrote, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

A woman or man of faith is courageous. Her and his courage comes from faith, the undying light and energy of the life of God which dwells in their hearts. More than just fighting the evil of a stronger, bigger power, Mayor Binay now needs to recognize where ultimate power comes from. This was what former President Cory Aquino meant when she told him, “We should show that we are all for justice. Jojo you can count on my support and prayers. We should all pray for Justice.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 18, 2006, p. A1)

After all the “witches brew” is not frightening at all. It pales into insignificance compared to the light and energy that comes from God.

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
October 18, 2006


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