Sunday, December 05, 2004

Is the Filipino worth dying for?

Is the Filipino worth dying for?

Updated 00:44am (Mla time) Dec 05, 2004
By Isagani Cruz
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page A14 of the December 5, 2004 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

"IS the Filipino worth dying for?" my son Caloy asked me one day. I said, "Yes, of course," almost automatically. He reacted with a quizzical smile, as if I was bluffing or lying. That needed an explanation.

I was not bluffing or lying. I was generalizing. Filipinos in general are worth dying for. I am not ashamed of them nor do I disown them. Our race is honored by the past, tested by the present, and if it manages its current problems, will conquer the future. Our people are not the misbegotten of the earth.

Yet this principle is not absolute. For every rule, there is an exception that makes the rule. On the question we are pondering, there are so many exceptions that they practically make the rule.

So when is the Filipino not worth dying for?

Ferdinand Marcos was a Filipino who betrayed his country. His despotic reign for more than 14 years reduced the Philippines to the tail-ender in Asia from its former leading and promising status. He debased freedom, scorned human rights, and plundered the national treasury. His death was worth dying for.

Those corrupt and greedy generals are not worth dying for. They deserve the condemnation of the nation they have robbed blind. Their wives who are their partners in crime should also be denounced and punished. They are imitators of the conjugal regime that despoiled our country during martial law.

And so too should we spurn that PMA valedictorian who brought shame upon his people and wrecked his own future with a petty theft. Like many of his shady superior officers, he has tarnished the gleaming record of the PMA as the breeding ground of honest and intelligent patriots sworn to defend the land with their dedicated lives.

That Filipino lad who murdered his parents and sister in Australia defies belief and disdains compassion. He slew his own blood and kin to claim their wealth, part of which was already potentially his. He was not only evil but also stupid. He is part of the blot in our nation that should be cleansed and permanently erased.

And let us not exempt the shameless congressmen whose attachment to the pork barrel is as muggy as their greed. At a time when the country is beset more than ever before with a financial crisis that only the president casually ignores, their avarice disgraces the whole Congress and demands their summary and irrevocable eviction.

The misfits in the Senate are also not worth dying for. Those who elected them deserve the same harsh judgment. They have dishonored that once august chamber where once trod the great statesmen of our country. Not even good at their original occupation as B actors, these new senators are still acting as comedians in their now serious role, and at public expense.

The President of the Philippines is not worthy of her position. She won it by dancing in ethnic costume, distributing goodies among the voters, and some say by cheating. She is now rewarding her supporters by appointing them to choice positions, like the one she gave a retired solon who did nothing during his two terms in the Senate.

She has also demeaned the country by acting as if we were still a colony of the United States, with her as viceroy. Many would not die for her but would rather impeach her.

And there are many ordinary others who, although Filipinos, are not worth dying for.

Among the scoundrels are the jeepney driver who loads or unloads in the middle of heavy traffic and claims, "Naghahanap-buhay lamang," which may excuse also the thief and the embezzler who are likewise working at their trade; the mulcting cop who specializes in daily graft or major extortions for the support of his several live-in partners and their respective breeds; the priest who sexually harasses parishioners and, in a show of crocodile tears or unrepentant piety, publicly prays for absolution by the cover-up hierarchy; the judge who renders a crooked decision purchased by the winning party or delays a conviction for the benefit of a paying accused; the drug dealer who has infected the whole country, especially the youth, with his malevolence and deadly rapacity; the vandal who mars newly-painted walls with senseless and ugly graffiti that have made Metro Manila a veritable skid row; and many other scalawags who have given the unfair impression that the Filipino is not worth dying for.

For all their wide disrepute, they constitute only a small minority of the 86 million Filipinos who lead honorable lives, fear and revere God, love their families, observe their civic duties, assert and protect their rights, and cherish nature and all its bounties. These are the Filipinos worth dying for.


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