Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Faulty Wiring or Faulty Thinking?

Less than forty eight hours after I left the Philippines, a fire hits the Commission on Elections building in Intramuros, Manila. Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos was quick to announce that “everything the poll body needed for the May polls was in the adjacent main headquarters at the Palacio del Gobernador.” (cf. Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 12, 2007) The District Fire Chief Pablo Cordeta who is presently supervising an investigation is looking into a variety of possible causes from “faulty wiring” to sabotage. The firefighters claimed that they responded to a complaint received six minutes after the fire began.

Not only the opposition is concerned and asking for a quick explanation of how and even why the fire took place. Long before any credible and reasonable explanation can be made, government officials have already spoken in an obvious attempt to stem the tide of criticism and suspicion. The public, not only the opposition is angry and rather cynical that anything believable and credible can come out of the investigation. How could anyone be blamed for incredulity and cynicism? What has come out of the Melo report? How has the government responded to the recent visit of the United Nation rapporteur for human rights? Where is Garci? Bolante?

If some other government agency burned instead of Comelec, the reaction would probably be less. The election campaign period has begun with public interest in and attention towards Comelec becoming more and more intense. Besides, notwithstanding what is expected to be in certain buildings, materials could have been shifted long before the fire. What does the public know about what documents are in Comelec and in the Palacio del Gobernador? The government has given all kinds of explanations for all kinds of mishaps and accidents blaming these on nature (force majeur) and on communists, its favorite culprit. The people watch and listen with halted breath only to be forced deeper into cynicism and disbelief.

The District fire chief tries to be objective by naming two possible culprits: faulty wiring or sabotage. In the minds of many, whatever investigation conducted by government invariably arrives at conclusions in its favor. Any act or statement made or given is seen and perceived as less than sincere. How can many forget the contrived and forced sincerity of her statement, “I am sorry” after the “Hello Garci” incident? We might as well look not only into faulty wiring and better perhaps into other faulty things.

Why don’t we consider among the vast array of faulty things something more than a thing. Why don’t we look into “faulty thinking?”

Amidst the election campaign chaos and raucous, we can pause and take a deeper and more discerning look at faulty thinking as it afflicts both others and us as well.

First, consider “survival thinking” which she and all those dependent on her are anxiously clinging to as a drowning person would even a stick?

Second, “butterfly thinking,” and how it afflicts even the closes of kin like an aunt who was then with Erap and now with Gloria and her nephew , who was then with Gloria and now with Erap?

Third, “wishful thinking” dangerously tending towards deluded thinking as seen in one senatorial candidate whose below average height makes people smile at his “Walking Tol” campaign posters that imply something otherwise.

Fourth, “showbiz thinking” as when a less than graceful male Senator forces a gig reminiscent of another female Senator’s infamous obscene gyration at the victory of those who wanted to keep the envelope sealed.

Fifth, “clean, as if never dirty thinking” of a known gambling king who makes sure that there is nothing in his television image that would give his shady character away.

Sixth, the “people’s boxer, people’s nightmare thinking” of a one who thinks success and popularity in one arena means the same in any arena like politics.

Seventh, the “people’s actor, now her actor thinking” of one popular actor who in a recently concluded film festival was critical of the money criterion as basis for a entry’s victory. Too bad for him that people have begun concluding that it was her money and not his idealism that made him run.

Eight, the “always cool but keep dem skeletons in the closet thinking” of a candidate who cautions against blaming government for the Comelec fire while he prays that people would forget his participation in a heinous rub-out.

Ninth, last but not least the “people’s let them but leave us alone thinking” of so many who relinquish their sacred right and duty of honorable, deep and loving thinking at the expense of a dishonored, cheapened and un-loved nation.

Tenth, while we know how faulty wiring will most likely be blamed for the Comelec fire, let us at least try not to be guilty of faulty thinking the way so many of those in and aspiring to have more power are so disgustingly guilty of.

They have power but we have our minds, hearts and souls which they can never take away from us. They can have their faulty thinking but we will always have our freedom which one day we will all fully celebrate.

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
March 13, 2007


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