‘Judge not lest ye be judged! and let he who is without sin cast the first stone’

AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman () - October 22, 2007 - 12:00am

It is unfair that some people even in the Senate blame the Administration for the bomb explosion at Glorietta 2 shopping center last Friday. According to those scoundrels this could have been a possible ploy of GMA to distract the media and the citizenry on the issues confronting her government today.

What do you think of La Gloria – an anti-Christ? Golly gee! That is too much thinking. That is way below the belt this time. Why are you so quick in passing judgment? Why not also look at yourselves? How dare you point a finger at the President? Pareho pareho lang kayong lahat! I am pretty sure La Gloria herself is not that kind of person. She has strong Catholic values. You may be barking at the wrong tree. Maybe you should instead point your fingers to the people around her.

As a Catholic, you know that all authority emanates from God, and that duly constituted governments must be respected as long as you do not conflict with the divine mandates and the fundamental rights of man. This is especially true in a democracy, where the powers of government are largely derived from the consent of the governed, in conformity with natural law and the law of reason.

Democracy itself is a product of the teachings of the Catholic Church as found in the writings of St. Thomas of Aquinas, and many others. The underlying principle of democracy that all men are created equal is a Catholic Doctrine and Catholic Filipinos may well be proud that a democratic form of government has been set up in our country. But in order that democracy may achieve its purpose as a government based on the will of the majority of the people, with only such limitations and restrictions as reason and reasons God imposed, there must be maintained civic order and social discipline.

In a democracy, the highest officials and those entrusted with political powers are chosen by the free suffrage of the people. Men may differ on matters of policies and the choice of public officials, and may engage in bitter controversy during electoral campaigns but once the people have spoken and made their choice through the ballot, their decision and verdict must be accepted and obeyed. The successful candidate ceases to be a mere individual, he represents the people and is clothed with their august authority, and is vested with the legitimate powers of government. This does not mean that the official may now do as he wish; for he, in turn, must perform his duties to the state and to the people, irrespective of party, of affiliations and partisan leanings. He should remember that in political matters his prime loyalty is to God and to the people themselves. He should bear in mind that he belonged to the people before he belonged to parties, and that the powers he received by his election impose upon him the stern duty of an impartial and just administration of the laws. The Catholic, either as an official or a common citizen, stands for civic virtue and social discipline.

I remember my father in one of speeches say, “The days of knights in armor, with lance and sword are gone. But there is a knighthood no less noble than theirs: the knighthood of Catholic men. These do not necessarily have to engage in spectacular combats with might and main, but their battles of amoral order is in everyday life, for all that Christianity stands for, are no less glorious than the greatest ever fought and won when knighthood was in flower!”

*  *  *

One of the most formidable forces in the contemporary world is the press. But it is a power that may be utilized not only for good but also for evil. It is indeed alarming how the press has become the most effective instrument of corruption. Newspapers of the widest circulation, attractive magazines, brightly colored and gilded, are carriers of poisons, are contagious of the deadliest of diseases, the moral plague that saps the vitality, pollutes the mind, and kills the soul of its victim.

If media is not responsible in carrying the news, we may end up driving away not only the foreigners but also our own people. We must balance the news – showing how beautiful our country and culture is. We should show the other side of the Philippines, the areas that have not been explored, the good programs initiated by the government, NGOs and private companies.

The news on the mall blast may just drive away our tourists and if media is not careful – they will definitely make the situation worse. Quite timely for today Ace Durano, Secretary of Tourism will speak to the Manila Overseas Press Club (or MOPC) forum about Tourism in the Philippines at the Inter-Continental Hotel, 7:30 pm. It will surely be an interesting night – so don’t miss it.

*  *  *

Because of the gravity of the situation created by politicians and the media, in face of the questions raised on issues our government now confronts, it is necessary that we pause in earnest and serious reflection. We should not doubt the sincerity of any Filipino. But we must think not as individuals but as a nation. A nation is such because it has a common destiny, a solidarity of interests and aspirations, traditions and ideals that are the bottom-rock of its existence.

Without such unifying principle, without such traditions and ideals that unite the past with the present, people becomes an aggregate of individuals who live for the day and are guided by their particular interests and convenience. I would very much want to believe that, that is not the status of our people, for our nationalism, is firmly welded by the epic struggles and sacrifices of our ancestors, and it has been consecrated by their patriotism and their ideals.

Hence in times of national crises, or when problems that profoundly affect our people demand a decision, it is proper that we submit our judgment to the test of our national ideology. To this end, it is necessary that we bear in mind the high ideals of the nation and keep ever burning in our hearts that flame of patriotism that gave our ancestors the courage to dare all dangers, and to our heroes and martyrs the strength to make the supreme sacrifice for their country.

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