EDITORIAL - Black is the color of blindness

The Freeman

For the highly-anticipated showdown between archrivals Ateneo and La Salle at the end of the first round in the ongoing UAAP basketball tournament, the respective administrations of both schools issued circulars to their fans to wear black to the game as a sign of protest against extrajudicial killings and the planned burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

As widely publicized as the circulars were, no more than 25 percent of the fans responded positively to the circulars by wearing black to the game at the Mall of Asia Arena over the weekend. The vast majority of the fans opted to wear the colors of either school - blue for Ateneo and green for La Salle - as how it ought to be, the game being a sport and therefore not a tool to express political sentiment.

But if sport is to be insulated from politics, how come the circulars came about? Well, the circulars came about because both schools are run by religious congregations that have little or no love lost for the sitting president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose aggressive war against illegal drugs and positive stand on the planned burial of Marcos at the Libingan have so miffed the Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church in this country is, however, no stranger to politics. In fact, it is an active participant in it. In the last election, it openly and unabashedly campaigned against Duterte. Apparently shamed and humiliated by the election results, where more than 16 million Filipinos chose to ignore and reject an anti-Duterte pastoral letter issued by no less than the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the church is now coming back at him with a vengeance.

It would have been less offensive if the church or any of its congregations chose its venues prudently. But the thirst for vengeance apparently blinds, even the religious. Instead of using a UAAP game as a platform for protest, both schools, whether singly or jointly, could have called for rallies and marches or similar activity, thereby making their actions exclusively their own. But UAAP games are for everyone, not just for fans of particular member schools.

Besides, there is a bigger perspective to the message the church wishes to convey that it either has not seen or has conveniently chosen to ignore: That extrajudicial killings and the muddling up of historical facts in the Marcos issue are the direct results of a bigger failure of morals of which the Roman Catholic Church is the main guardian.

Whether Duterte merely inspired or actually ordered the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, there is a bigger question to be asked if this country indeed deserves to know the truth. And that question is: Why is Duterte, a Roman Catholic and Catholic-educated, like that? What drove him to become the man that he is? More importantly, why was there never any Roman Catholic moral intervention anywhere along the way? Yet now that he is who he has become, we wear black in protest?

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