Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Honor or horror?

Honor is very important. It must be to any person living in a civilized society. A person without honor is nothing. A person can be a billionaire and be nothing if he/she is devoid of honor. Honor is the credit of distinction given to a person whose life is governed by honesty, fairness and integrity. As such, honor can neither be bought nor sought from anyone. It is freely given to a person worthy of such admiration.

Honor is very important to the Japanese. To them, losing face is the penultimate opposite of honor. In ancient Japan, warriors called samurai lived by a certain code called Bushido, a stern code of ethics one of which was when one is disgraced or loses face, the only recourse was seppuku or what we popularly know as hara kiri, a ceremonial ritual of suicide by ripping the abdomen apart by means of a knife called tanto or a short Japanese sword known as the wakizashi. This is done for the firm belief that death is more honorable than a life in shame. Usually, when the deed is done, an assistant finishes the job by severing the head with the famous katana. While this practice was banned in 1868, there had been cases of seppuku in modern Japan. The last recorded seppuku was that committed by Yukio Mishima, a Japanese writer who wanted to regain the traditions of the past. Traces of this ancient belief still holds true to some devoted Japanese. There was a public official who, on a mere charge of being corrupt, committed the act.

Here in the Philippines, it is totally different. Many politicians have been charged of corruption with a great deal of evidences enough to prove guilt but manage to stay on. No less than GMA, the former president of the Philippines and members of her family have been riddled with corruption charges but still hanged on to power until her reign ended in 2010. She had been charged of having cheated during the elections to which she merely apologized and continued to rule the land. The ousted President Estrada had been found to be guilty of corruption and was even incarcerated but managed to get out by virtue of presidential pardon (maybe to set a precedent so that when her time comes, the present president will have no doubts as to his/her ability to grant such pardon, who knows?)and even ran for the highest position in the land once more.

Such kapalmuks (thick-skinned faced) characteristic is not lost to other government officials. During the SONA of PNoy, he unravelled how much the managers of the MWSS had arrogated themselves almost equal to 30 months pay and building houses on land which should have been used to plant trees. These managers impliedly gave credence to the accusation when they replied that they were willing to cut down on their fat bonuses! This was during a time of the dismal performance of the MWSS to solve the water shortage problem causing havoc in some areas of Metro Manila. Considering the time and place the alleged anomaly was said, they should have resigned immediately at the very least and/or returned what they have allegedly put into their pockets and have their houses demolished just to save face. But no, they were just willing to shave it off. The allegation of plagiarism in the Supreme Court is another noteworthy phenomenon that is enough to lose one's face. Not only did the verdict contained plagiarized items, the same was misused to argue against the very stance the plagiarized portions were written for. How can we teach the young about the evil of plagiarism when the highest court itself is guilty of the crime?

Then there is the office of the Ombudsman. Is spite of the very strong clamor for her to resign or be ousted in office, she continues to cling to her post like a komodo dragon hanging on for dear life. She has been accused on merely sitting on the cases filed against the Arroyos and considering that she was a classmate of the First Gentleman in college, puts a cloud on her inaction or sin of omission. She would declare lack of evidence putting finality on the charges of corruption. Why? I think it would have been more prudent for her to let the cases be heard in court for the sake of the people and, as ironic as it may seem, even in fairness to the Arroyos. If indeed, there had been no anomaly there, so be it. But for heaven’s sake, let the truth come out.

For delicadeza’s sake, she should have resigned from office to erase any and all doubts surrounding her person. Instead, she is hell bent to square it off with anyone who challenges her to date even when her so-called protectors are no longer in office and their allies in congress, the once strong Lakas-Kampi, has been reduced to be the minority.

Incidentally, speaking of the minority, they claim that the Truth commission formed by PNoy is unconstitutional for it is only Congress who can create such a commission. Granting that is true. I say to Congress, form one already!

Honor has been lost to most of these politicians and government officials a long time ago. I am just glad I am not one. I may barely have enough food on the table at times but the food we eat is sufficient to nourish my family and not cause us any ailment for we eat what we earned through hard work. There is honor in that.


BlogusVox said...

Although the tirade of Bello in his privilege speech is bordering in distaste, the subject of his outburst deserves every words of it. Ano kaya ang pakiramdam nya ngayong siya naman ang bina-bastos!

As for Mercidita, does her children still have the guts to face people for what she did or didn't do?

rolly said...

blogusvox I did not see the Bello privilege speech so I cannot comment on that pero ganun ata talaga yun. Kaya nga privileged speech eh. I don't know how the subject of the speech feels but during Dato's eh nag walk out ata siya after.

We can only surmise how these people thinks. Maybe they think they are right ergo, manigas tayo.

Anonymous said...

very nice article Sir Rolly.. sooo true.. - Kat

Anonymous said...

Sir, I agree with your point that honor is deliberately disregarded by many public officials both from the national and local government.Ironically, there are so many instances that politicians guilty of dishonorable acts are rewarded intead of being persecuted. For the reason that is inexplicable, people who are trying to be honorable are the ones suffering from criticisms and punishments. Between Romulo Neri, and Jon Lozada in the ZTE controversy, the former was given an honorable position as the head of SSS while the latter is busy attending to his court cases and continue live a miserable life.

This also happens in the micro level of the present Filipino society. In social gatherings, those who came late are enjoying the graceful entrance and all eyes are on them. These eyes are the ones who came right on time or even earlier. In schools, students who are giving wrong and funny answers during recitations are admired as "cool" and "entertaining" so they become popular. On the other hand, students who recite intelligently and courteously are labelled as "nerds" and so they become notorious.

Distortion of moral values is not exclusively imputable to the people
in the government. It starts from every Filipino. And it is happening just right beside us.

Anonymous said...

You are very brave cousin in writing these out excellent to be publish in the news paper opinion.
I agree that honor nowadays is sometimes ignored but I am afraid reading an expossure of some powerful politician. Take care darling.

rolly said...

Kat/Ralph Thank you.

Anonymous I don't know about the parallelism vis-a-vis the micro level but if this is true, we must do something about it. We cannot accept this as a habit.

cousin Me, brave? Nah! Most of what I've written here are based on what I read in the papers. I don't have personal knowledge of these guys. Thanks for visiting and commenting in my blog.

Mela said...

Well written essay Tito. I especially like and apprecite your knowledge of old Japan particularly of the Samurai Society. I think corruption in politics is widespread even in the so called "developed nations". A candidate for the Green Party once told me that "politics corrupts". It might be more rampant in poorer countries because most people are disenfranchised. They are fearful to fight for their rights because they might get killed, lose their jobs, or incarcerated. But until the people choose to fight for their rights corruption in the government continues.

rolly said...

Mela I know that corruption is rampant in developed countries, too but that does not justify our political leaders to be corrupt. Especially when our troubles are brought about by the culture of corruption.

rolly said...

Mela I know that corruption is rampant in developed countries, too but that does not justify our political leaders to be corrupt. Especially when our troubles are brought about by the culture of corruption.

bertN said...

Politicians with honor are extinct.

rolly said...

bertN You think so? I hope not. :)

Anonymous said...

Sad to say that many filipinos are still blind about the people they choose to govern....some elected officials have been charged before because of graft, corruption or plunder but where are they? They are in congress, senate etc. etc.. sana matuto na ang ibang mga Pilipino, hindi dapat iboto ang mga taong nagkamali at hindi gumawa ng paraan para ituwid ang pagkakamali-MEPINOY

rolly said...

Mepinoy Pag bumili ng boto, wag iboto! Simple no?