EDITORIAL – Delayed tears, overloaded consciences at NAIA

(The Freeman) - November 10, 2015 - 9:00am

It is often said that a picture tells the story. This is why photographic evidence is often regarding as unassailable proof. But as with any rule, there is always an exception. While a picture may not lie, it is not always that it tells the whole story. Sometimes there are details that, in their absence, require a picture to be described in words to bring context to the idea that is being conveyed.

This is precisely what characterizes that picture, published in the newspapers last week, of workers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport attending Mass, some of them openly in tears. The Mass was apparently intended to seek divine intervention in the mess that has descended on the country's main airport as a result of the bullet planting controversy.

The controversy involves the planting of single bullets in the luggages of airline passengers going through the airport by a cabal of extortionists who accost their victims with the unlawful discovery in order to soften their underbellies enough with fright that they might come across. The controversy has so embarrassed the nation, especially when the United Nations alerted its staff to be extra vigilant, that it has become the hottest topic on social media.

The airport employees have all come under such an accusing light that, indeed, divine intervention appears to be the only harbinger of peace and comforter of conscience. That some of the attendees were so moved as to break into tears can be an indication of their own hurt, which is justifiable. But weeping in Mass does not necessarily exculpate nor absolve anyone, not even those who truly are not a party to the scam.

There may be hundreds of employees at the NAIA. But they still belong to the same community within the complex, the same family within the premises. There is no way word does not get out as to who may be involved. There are not that many who are in a position to be in contact with passengers and their luggages. Given such a small circle of possibilities, it is not impossible to know whose hands are dirty and whose hands are not.

Those who wept at the airport Mass may themselves be actually clean. They may not have anything to do with planting bullets in bags. As to whether or not they know anything -- that is another thing. And that is something that can never be washed away by tears, even if shed while attending Mass. They have to know. It defies credulity that they don't.

But knowing is one thing, keeping what one knows to one's self is another, and the difference is what makes for a crying shame. No amount of celebrating Mass and attending it can gloss over what is commonly known as open secrets. And so, it is all up to the NAIA employees whether they want to keep up the facade of innocence or they start truly reaching out to God to clear out their burdened consciences. But while the first is free, the other may come at a price.

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