Wednesday, December 12, 2007



By Joel E. Ferraris

I cannot help but pour out my sentiments on the recent events in my country, the Philippines.

Another failed attempt to oust the president took place at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati at a time when pre-Cristmas fever preoccupies people's minds as they prepare for the festivities. There were lots of reactions from people regarding this one in a series of attempts to oust a leader and her administration perceived to be so corrupt.

But despite two almost heroic attempts of a failed coup plotter-turned-senator, who is still serving a jail sentence, to bring abrupt change people seem not to bite the bait anymore by not joining in his cause. His recent caper started a ripple of reactions from people. I am one of them.

I have my own reactions too as a homesick, concerned citizen and Christian who see the ills in my predominantly Catholic country and is concerned about its welfare. It's sickness has got the attention of people who wanted to apply their own brand of medicines but despite repeated doses of antibiotics called "ouster of presidents after Marcos" the virus called moral vacuum and corruption persistently digs its roots on people's being.

Biblically this social and moral sickness is explainable but how the people will accept the explanation is another big question.

One man, in the last moments of his life, wrote (as translated here in English) in his blog how disgusted he was with what happened. This prompted one columnist to write:

"It's all very well not to be impatient because the process is slow. But what if the process is completely blocked? What if patience becomes indistinguishable from inaction and becomes the very ground upon which injustice thrives?

"What if the Rule of Law is the Rule of the Few?"

I myself have these questions for my countrymen to reflect on:

So whose to be blamed here? Is it the frats who have, in its memberships, law students and lawyers who are locked in the cycle of violence when in fact they are supposedly the guardians of the rule of law? (Watch video here, here and here and read more articles in the links provided here)

Or the churchmen who are divided and have different approaches on how to solve the moral crisis in our country... (Read some of the articles here, here and here)

...when in fact the church has its own conflicts to face:

"Catholics in the Philippines have been too complacent.
We have to reach out to the unchurched, who are very
gullible and are attracted to fundamentalist,
fire-and-brimstone Protestant preachers on television
and radio. The church must counter that with their own
preaching, because these nominal Catholics are not
hearing any alternative. Protestant churches have made
big inroads in the Philippines. Now we have to fight
back." (Read the article here)

And the laity are also divided to either help the poor or not through GK.

My question is, would it be a lot better to oust GMA first so that we could concentrate in our spirituality or we take care of our souls first so that she and the corrupt people surrounding her will not be able to tempt us to be corrupt ourselves?

Another question I have is this: Is our Almighty God and Father deaf to the prayers of millions of Filipinos clamoring for change?

Does He not see the evils that the corrupt leaders are doing that He allows the "religious to do what is morally right" by attempting to have another violent coup d'etat that might have influenced the spiritually blind and spiritually ignorant to use force and violence to change rotten system of our society?

There must be something wrong with the connection between the multitude of believers and Him above who is the Owner of the floodgates of heaven.

Are we really ready not to take any slice of that tempting pie that could lead us into temptation of being corrupted ourselves once we are included in the caretaker government which was so envisioned by those who are so eager to grab power?

AND WHO ARE THEY? That human rights advocate and lawyer and that military man-turned senator did not name names!

Isn't it that the present administration a product of the victory of the united opposition that ousted Marcos? So, why is it that after years of having the chance to rectify the ills of society after getting rid of that dictator ...why are we left in a state of disarray?

Will the alliance of the faithful believer in God the Father Almighty through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers who don't give a damn about the Gospels produce good fruits? Whose decision will prevail?

If bishops, priests, pastors, evangelicals and all those religious leaders, in the midst of their squabbles who is best to shepherd people and save souls despite the claims to have the fullness of the truth by some, failed to correct the spiritual ignorance of people to make them spiritually enlightened in order to do what is good, what is moral and what is pleasing to the eyes of our Almighty God and Father, how could we, the people, expect a president, a secular leader, to correct a deeply-rooted problem she inherited.

We cannot even solve a perennial problem that is frat violence in a small community like UP.

We have to think, act and have strong faith in God the Father Almighty not to be corrupted ourselves.

Maybe let's try thinking like a president and we'll see what concrete moves are we gonna simple things for example:

1. To eradicate the problem of traffic congestion Juan will reduce the number of buses in Metro Manila and replace all existing buses with double-decker buses so that there will be free-flowing traffic.

2. As a Christian leader, Juan will not allow miniskirts and spaghetti straps in the churches so that men will not be tempted by the vulgarity of women's dresses and destroy homes and families because of their infidelity.

3. While the color-coding is still being imposed, Juan will not allow people to have more than one car.

4. Juan will ban all cigarette smoking and the tobacco businesses in the Philippines because smoking causes cancer and is a problem of both the rich and the poor.

5. Juan will ban all frats in all universities because frat violence destroys the young and fratmen in power create a powerful political machinery that might breed corruption and therefore are inimical to the existence of a better society.

6. Juan will close all bars and ban the alcohol business in the Philippines because alcoholism is bad not only to one's health but causes family problems and domestic violence. Besides, it will be a waste of money to pay more police officers to see to it that this law is imposed.

7. Juan will regulate and censor all movies and videos and ban sexy films, whether it's art for art's sake, because morally it is unacceptable.

8. Juan will imprison all men or women with illicit affairs or have kabits and kulukadidangs because these acts destroy the family and the moral growth of children. Divorce will not be allowed by Juan.

9. Juan will limit the salary of professionals to just a few thousands of pesos, not so high, and raise the wages of the poor manggagawa so that the gap between the rich and the poor will be narrowed.

These are just a few and the idea sounds funny to others but not funny at all. Imagine the battery of lawyers and activists to argue the freedom of expression and the rights in a democratic society (to practice their own brand of freedoms which are against the teachings of the Holy Bible as echoed by religious leaders) being crushed by such initial moves to restore morality as listed above.

Therefore it all depends on the individual and how he/she is being guided by his/her spiritual leader and if and only if she will accept, absorb and live by such sound teachings or not. Lord Jesus Christ did not come to topple governments but to free us individuals from captivity to sin whether we are rich or poor.

That includes those who criticize the leader and those who are possible candidates of that caretaker government or else...HISTORY WILL JUST REPEAT ITSELF WHERE ALLIES WILL JUST BECOME ENEMIES AGAIN!

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