How narrow minds can ruin our country
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-07-31
President Manuel Quezon had the right words for it when he said that: “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.”

That often quoted Quezon statement somehow fails to register with many Filipinos, many of them oddly trying to help improve our country and the economic conditions of our people. In many of the current raging issues, we can observe many instances when narrow and often-parochial interests get in the way of recognizing and thus serving larger national interests.

Take the case of Lawyer Harry Roque who had been crying “WOLF” over the government’s interest to get former ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan to spill the beans on the cheating operations that Zaldy Ampatuan himself confessed happened in Maguindanao under the alleged direction of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), former President and now Pampanga Representative. Roque’s interest is tied to the Maguindanao Massacre. He represents the relatives of the victims, helping them get justice.

We commend Roque for his dedicated pursuit to attain justice for the Maguindanao Massacre victims. However, when he starts getting hysterical and starts saying that the administration is set to strike a deal with Zaldy Ampatuan — implying getting the former ARMM Governor off the hook for the Maguindanao Massacre in exchange for providing the evidences to prove the 2004 and 2007 ARMM and Maguindanao election cheating operations — we wonder if Roque is not suffering from being too close to some trees and totally misses out on the entire forest.

To begin with, Roque missed the point that to strike such a deal with Zaldy Ampatuan would be tantamount to political suicide for the President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) administration. Babe-in-the-woods in politics would know that but Roque opens his mouth as if P-Noy is a political amateur who is about to bite at Zaldy Ampatuan’s gambit. The interest of the P-Noy administration is to ferret out the truth that has made elections during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo era highly questionable — resulting in national instability.

Normally, elections are the mechanisms of a democratic state for facilitating smooth leadership transitions, hoping in the process that the transition results in improved social, economic and political conditions. During the GMA era, the 2004 elections and the 2007 elections almost set our country on fire. These dark chapters of Philippine democracy must not be allowed to remain unverified and unexposed.

The truth about real cheating done wholesale during our elections will set us free once we confirm such incidences and convict the perpetrators. Harry Roque lost this perspective to the Zaldy Ampatuan usefulness in bringing out the truth about the 2004 and 2007 elections.

All decent Filipinos with a sense of fair play and justice would definitely want to see all those involved in the Maguindanao Massacre to be made to account for their heinous crimes. But there is a bigger perspective to the Maguindanao Massacre and this is the unverified report of massive cheating operations in the ARMM and Maguindanao during the 2004 and 2007 elections that are believed to have altered the true national will.

There were 58 victims in the Maguindanao Massacre and over half of them were journalists. Compared to the 58 victims of the Maguindanao Massacre, there were over 90 million Filipino victims who continue to wonder if indeed they elected a legitimate president in 2004 or if Juan Miguel Zubiri indeed deserves to sit as a Senator. These are over 90 million victims of electoral fraud which if allowed to perpetuate will result in the continued stealing of the national aspiration, as supposed to be expressed in every election.

The reality is that it is this kind of politics that cuddles warlords like the Ampatuans that are also inclined to resort to cheating operations during elections. Warlord politicians are the perfect perpetrators of sham democracies like ours.

Another example of narrow mindedness that allows high crimes to go unpunished and to be repeated all over again in our country is this talk we hear from several quarters that the P-Noy administration should not focus too much on making GMA account for all the charges that have emerged against her and all the other charges that have not yet been verified.

This is exactly what my friend Peter Wallace observed during a very nice lunch he hosted for me — that the Filipinos cannot remember yesterday, much less history. High crimes will continue to be repeated in our society if we do not make its perpetrators account and make them serve time for it.

Trust your Chair Wrecker. We succeeded in jailing a president already — Joseph Estrada — whom we caught with his fingers in the jueteng pie. If we succeed in jailing the perpetrator of the climate of impunity in our country, especially for electoral fraud and plunder, believe me that all other presidents after P-Noy will think twice before indulging in electoral fraud and plunder. I say all other presidents after P-Noy because he is not the type to engage in such activities that will only erode the legacy of his heroic parents.

The truth is a lot of reforms that we want to undertake in our country will not be attainable if the sins of the GMA regime are not resolved. This is as important to us as the Nuremberg Trials were to the world following the end of World War II. Great crimes against the people have to be made to account otherwise greater crimes against more people will be perpetrated. That is a historical truth that we cannot get away from unless we are inviting repeated high crimes to be inflicted on us.

We can only move forward once we are reconciled with our past. That is the single biggest challenge facing the Filipino nation and we’ve been facing that single biggest challenge for decades. Not knowing our real history, we have been suckered time and again into putting our faith and trust on false Messiahs.

The real Filipino heroes who will save this country will only succeed to gain the levers of power once Filipinos know how to differentiate the villains from the real heroes in our country.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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