One admonition uttered by Pope Francis during his visit—before the University of Santo Tomas community, I believe—that has indelibly stuck to my memory is the simple “Be quiet.” Had he been briefed early on about our garrulous nature, how we babble at the littlest provocation, arguing over one thing or another, unmindful of whether we are talking intelligently or spouting nonsense?
I raise the Pope’s admonition because it looks like no one is inclined to obey him, at least not at this time. Not the politicians, not the opinion writers and broadcasters, not the street marchers, not even the so-called soldiers of the Church (some priests and bishops). All are talking at the same time, some frothing in the mouth, denouncing the Mamasapano tragedy, urging the scuttling of the peace process and the Bangsamoro Basic Law, capping their philippics with the demand for P-Noy to step down and say goodbye to power. So much noise drowning out the call by the emotionally restrained and thinking people for calm, sobriety and, yes, for everyone for a moment to be quiet.
What is to be gained by making noise to the max about how awful the Mamasapano incident was, and in light of it, how proper and right to junk the BBL and peace process and demand that P-Noy resign?
Well, lamenting the Mamasapano tragedy, squeezing it of its last gory and wrathful detail would ease the pain it has brought to all of us. But… For how long should we let grief and casting about for the party or parties on whom to bring down our avenging anger rule our daily life? And to what end are the noisemakers aiming by increasing the volume of their racket instead of sobering up and heeding the Pope’s wise counsel?
I think this was made more than obvious by the noisemakers, who are not just diverse in composition but with diverse strategies as well to achieve their goal. The goal? To force P-Noy to leave the presidency. The noisemakers? The militants who hope to oust P-Noy by massing on Mendiola and in front of the US Embassy; a clandestine group, rumored to be financed by a mysterious person with tons of cash, which hopes to dismiss P-Noy through a coup attempt; a coterie of aging bishops who hope to get rid of P-Noy using absolutely nothing but their saliva.
Many grounds are being cited by angry voices in justifying their call for P-Noy’s resignation. None of these, I believe, can be found in the Constitution. To my knowledge, presidents may be removed from office through a constitutional process; mere demand that he resign will not get him out of office—unless the demand is backed by arms or a massive congregation of people fed up with thievery in government and large-scale and unbearable abuse by the powers that be of the citizens and/or their human rights. To my understanding, neither threat of violent social convulsion nor disgust over, say, P-Noy’s dipping of his fingers in the national coffers exists.
But what do we hear from those vociferously demanding, especially the aging bishops, that P-Noy resign? Do they say he should do so because he is corrupt? Because he consorts with shady characters? Because he is lazy, drinks, gambles, womanizes, spends more time shooting the breeze with his kabarilan than on state matters? No! What the bishops are faulting P-Noy with are that he is intellectually challenged, clueless, wishy-washy, does not know what he’s doing, incompetent, short of accomplishment, and incapable of handling any challenge that requires brains.
Are the bishops and other P-Noy bashers correct? Is P-Noy really a wee short of being a moron? Before I go to my own take about the P-Noy Resign call, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not and have never been an apologist of the man. If this short dissertation looks like it’s developing a perspective quite kind to him, it’s because objectivity and fairness dictate so.
Now back to the call for P-Noy to quit because he is supposedly brainless on top of being incompetent. Incompetent? He is no rocket scientist, to be sure, but for someone pictured as incompetent, he has racked up truly enviable achievement records. Information about these achievements can be accessed at government information centers, but let me mention one here which cannot possibly escape our notice and wonder. This is what he has done and continues to do to modernize our armed forces. No longer is our military decrepitly equipped, it now boasts of modern arms and assets. Modernization of the military is far from complete, but neither is P-Noy done with his effort and his resolve to finish it.
I have decided not to add my voice to the P-Noy Resign call because I am skeptical about its worthiness and service to the nation. Also, I am leery about the hidden agenda of those passionately vocal in wanting to short-circuit his term.
Suppose they succeed in nudging P-Noy aside, in getting him to quit. Now what? Who takes over the presidency? VP Jojo Binay, of course. That’s what the Constitution says. But the bishops want Binay to resign, too. And everyone else that smells of P-Noy. They say they’ll set up a national transition council that will proceed to abolish Congress, the Supreme Court, the bureaucracy, other government institutions they fancy to dismantle. They don’t say who will comprise this NTC, but Kit Tatad and Norberto Gonzales (oh, my!) look like they have the inside track. Can you imagine the chaos this bunch will create if it succeeds in its lunatic dream?
I think we’re wasting much time discoursing and haranguing with no beneficial purpose save to give vent to our emotions crushed by the Mamasapano tragedy, and to no useful end except the exercise of our lungs and vocal chords. I think we’ll achieve more solace and develop more insights, more practical options, if we follow what Pope Francis has advised: Be quiet.
Mart del Rosario (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a retired advertising-PR consultant.
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