Gentlemen: Go to Proverbs
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2015 - 10:00am

When news broke that San Miguel Corporation CEO Ramon S. Ang had filed a case for syndicated estafa against GMA-7 President Felipe Gozon, a number of columnists as well as businessmen began posting comments on Facebook as well at parties regarding the unfortunate situation where potential allies now find themselves in the legal arena over Ramon Ang’s money.

The comments on Facebook were largely along the lines of “What a pity” and “Gozon does not need this kind of publicity and gains nothing.” This is perhaps due to the fact that both Gozon and Ang have established themselves as hardworking, respectable and admirable individuals and businessmen who would be more formidable and would have much to gain together than apart. As they say “Iron sharpens Iron” (Proverbs 27:17)

During a recent product launch of the Range Rover Sport at Green Sun, I caught up with a number of media practitioners and businessmen who were apparently talking of the unfortunate situation and as I eavesdropped, I heard a very interesting analogy from an elderly businessman: “Gentlemen, if a tricycle driver and a jeepney driver were fighting over money, I’m sure we would all understand their motivation and the sense of desperation that would make them fight. But in the case of Gozon versus Ang, one has to wonder if that amount of money is worth all the hard work that has gone into building a reputation as a respectable businessman and gentleman?” Proverbs. 22: 1 “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

If all the talk out there is merely sympathetic and concerned commentaries, perhaps we can all pray that the parties concerned will eventually smoke the peace pipe and “Move On.” However I am concerned that some elements might unwittingly add fuel to the fire, or pride could plant itself in the situation and as we all know from the Bible: “Pride comes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” (Proverbs. 16: 18 – 19)

Later in the week someone claimed “Gozon did not like the idea of his family being dragged into the legal matter and will now make everything personal.” The person who told me this was clearly sharing what he presented as personal knowledge but to the ears of the wrong person “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts” (Proverbs 18:8) where the wrong person can relish them or use them for ill intent or can mislead or offend parties involved.

When then President Cory Aquino filed a libel case against my late father Louie Beltran I heard, read, and saw how good people try to save friendships while bad people don’t care for anything except their agenda and how to benefit from other people’s conflicts. To this day, I hold the belief that Cory was made to believe, was convinced by at least two cabinet members that Louie Beltran was her enemy. Cory won in the RTC, my father died, Cory lost in the Court of Appeals. Because Cory filed the case as a private citizen, certain people told me it was “payback time” and that the family could sue her for damages. We chose not to. We chose to honor the friendship that my father had with Ninoy Aquino. We chose to stand by the belief that Cory had been lied to and misled. We chose to honor my father’s friendship with the Cojuangco’s. “Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family” (Proverbs 27:10)

Years later when I finally got to write this column, I twice defended Cory from her “haters”, once when she was being harshly criticized for making an apology to Erap. I forget what the second scenario was but on both occasions I received a text message of appreciation. Whether it was Cory or an assistant, I don’t know and I don’t want to know. Suffice it to say that friendships will experience memorable moments as well as trials and difficulties. I may not have been a player but I had been privileged to watch it from the sidelines and blessed to have learned much from those times and those relationships and therefore it was incumbent on me to honor it.

Whether you are a Gozon, Ang, Cory or a Louie, we all need to read the book of Proverbs intently and daily for it is there where we find age-old wisdom far deeper than today’s management and leadership gurus. It is there where we find the following lessons that you may also Google if you are not much of a Bible reader:

Prov.23: 4-5 “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust in your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle”

Prov. 15: 16 “ Better a little (wealth) with fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil”

Prov. 15: 27 “Whoever is greedy for unjust gains trouble his own house”

Prov. 19: 11 “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense”

Prov. 18: 11 “The wealth of the rich is a fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.”

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At a time when success is measured based on how rich one is, it is easy to forget that many persons have great wealth but have no health, have great possessions but have no time. Great achievements but have no great loves or loved ones just relatives. I share with you the prayer of a man called Agur:

“Two things I ask of you Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies afar from me; give me neither poverty nor riches; but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30: 7-8-9)

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