• What can DU30 teach the nation now?

    24
    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    I THOUGHT the error was plain, and President Rodrigo Duterte would correct it, after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who heads one of the two Houses that make our laws, said, “who doesn’t have any girl friend?” to absolve himself of his adultery after it had been publicly exposed. But DU30’s response shocked even his own supporters.

    “How many lawyers/lawmakers are without affairs?” he said. “Who isn’t entitled to happiness?” Among desert travelers, this wasn’t just a man giving a thirsty traveler a poisoned drink. This was a real character poisoning what could very well be the only well in the desert.

    In one of his columns in Crisis Magazine, Fr. George Rutler, pastor of St. Michael’s Church in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, and a well-known author, said that bad men do bad things, but evil men destroy the truth. PDU30’s unusual take on the banality of adultery and fornication in public office does not just condone a moral wrong but exalts it, and damns and destroys the good. Manuel L. Quezon tried to teach generations of Filipinos, up to my youth, the basic rules of “good manners and right conduct.” Today, when we hear the President’s defense of Alvarez, we have to ask: what does he intend to teach the present and future generations of Filipinos?

    Not only a sin but a crime
    Adultery is not only an offense against the Ten Commandments. It is also a punishable offense under our laws. What happens when, instead of punishing public offenders, the President promotes them as role models instead? Has the time come for us to scrap our entire educational system, Congress, the courts, all our moral laws, and seek “happiness” in moral depravity and crime under the guidance of our President?

    In absolving Alvarez, DU30 has put on trial everything we have learned through our reason and our faith. He has erased the distinction between good and bad, right and wrong, lawful and unlawful, and made himself the final arbiter of what is to be permitted or not, purely on the basis of what he says. He has now invaded the depths of the moral realm, where no one may intrude except to abolish all our inherent rights.

    Pleasure can deceive
    We have descended into a new Dark Age, where the sexual orgies at the tyrant’s court defined its noblest achievements. DU30 must save himself from this, and he can do so only by going back to the basic truths. Man has an intellect that perceives the good, and a will that desires it once it is known. Written in his heart is the first principle of practical reason—-Do good and avoid evil. He, therefore, seeks “happiness” in the good, never in the bad, or in evil. His ultimate happiness lies in God, his First and Last End. Crime or sin may give him pleasure, but such pleasure is passing; it leaves a deep wound in the soul and the taste of ashes in the mouth.

    DU30 would be shortchanging himself unless he learns to support the good. There are still a few of them left in government. He needs to work with them, not against them. Yesterday, the late former Finance Undersecretary and National Treasurer Victor Macalincag was laid to rest at Heritage Park, after long years of dedicated and unblemished service to four Presidents. DU30 should try to find a few men like him. We remembered Macalincag at a short necrological service on Monday evening. Jimmy Laya and I were asked to speak, and some friends asked if I could run my eulogy in my column today so that friends and former co-workers who were not around would be able to read it. Thus, the following piece.

    Tribute to Vic Macalincag, 81
    We gather here today to offer the Holy Mass, as we have just done with Fr. Louie David, S.J., to pay our final respects and say goodbye to our dear departed friend and brother Victor Macalincag, who was many things to many people. To his beloved wife Remy (former president and chair of Landbank), he was a loving husband and a conscientious provider; to his three lovely daughters—-Sylvia, Susan and Sonia—his son-in-law (Anton Guanzon), and his grandchildren, he was a doting father, grandfather, and role model. To us, he was an irreplaceable friend and heroic comrade in our daily search for relevance and meaning. And he was, incontestably, a priceless and tireless resource for the nation.

    Vic remained in the service of God and country, long after he had retired from his last official position, and men and women of lesser substance engaged public attention. Like many of us, he complained a lot, unceasingly I would say, about the many wrong things he saw every day with his own eyes; but unlike many, if not most of us, he did not just complain, he tried to construct, even if only in his mind or in our private conversations, a remedy for every wrong he complained about.

    How to make the poor a more productive part and co-owner of the economy; how to feed, house, educate and look after the health of millions by managing our modest resources well, instead of just trying to eliminate the poor through draconian measures of population control; how to decongest our cities, create more parks and open spaces instead of those asphyxiating residential towers and malls; how to create mass transport systems that run on time; how to create a more gentle and egalitarian society where the rural areas would rise to the status of the cities, and everyone would share the benefits of expanded opportunity, education, technology and innovation. How to have a government that talks less and does more, leaders who have something to teach the nation and are willing to learn from others what they have not learned, like Robert Fulghum, at kindergarten

    Solving problems
    Our coffeeshop conversations could have gone on interminably, until his sudden, unreported and ultimately fatal illness intervened. No grander or nobler ideas could have filled our conversations at Temple Drive and at the Podium, had we been actually in charge of governing the nation, or tasked to design the course and conduct of our society and government. We dreamed together, despite our age and the harsh realities around us, which have never been kind to dreamers.

    He was relentless in his pursuit of ideas, and uncompromising in opposing anything wrong. Wrong was wrong, whoever was behind it. He was always morally upright without ever moralizing, and would not yield an inch to those who would want to bend the rules, for whatever reasons. Had the Lord not taken him away from our midst when He did, I wonder how many cups of coffee it would have taken to quiet his rage over the latest official quip that every public official is entitled to an extra girl friend, in the pursuit of their own corporeal happiness and wellbeing.

    Our faith in the living God, whose passion, death and resurrection we will once again relive this coming Holy Season, allows us to believe that our friend and brother has left us for an infinitely better world. But we have the courage and confidence to believe that Vic was, for all his human failings, a genuine gift to us all—-sent in our midst to help us make our imperfect world a much better place to live in. How much poorer we would have been if we had not been blessed with such a friend and brother.

    A self-made man
    Like many of us, Vic was not born to wealth or social status. He had to work for his own education, at the University of the East, where he majored in accounting before he took his master’s degree in Economics, and where he first met the love of his life and silently carried the torch for her from a distance. But by dint of hard work and native talent, he soon found himself holding his own at high-level international financial conferences with foreign executives who had gone to Harvard, MIT, Wharton, Stanford, Kellogg, Oxford, Warwick, etc.—the most prestigious international schools abroad. In the company of highly pedigreed technocrats and academics, he did not have the academic pedigree, but it was clear he did not need it, nor did he suffer from the lack of it.

    He spent his longest years in government as Finance Undersecretary doing the work which his bosses did not mind presenting as their own. At one time, according to a friend, he found himself seated next to an economic Cabinet member who had difficulty reading the government’s balance of payments statement. Apparently, the minister had entered the Cabinet without this rudimentary knowledge. Vic very casually helped the minister out of her problem without anyone in the room noticing.

    This was typical of Vic who helped people without making a show of it. All sorts of people—from sitting and aspiring presidents and senators to serious journalists—would ask him for an intelligent reading of the yearly budget and highly technical congressional tax proposals. And he would gladly give it, without any second thoughts or expectation of being thanked. Remy remembers that he would stay up late poring over these documents just to accommodate a friend. He remained the quintessential civil servant, long after he had left the civil service.

    Specialist and generalist too
    Vic was a specialist, but he never lost sight of the big picture and never ceased to be a generalist as well. And he never allowed himself to be mixed up on anything. Although he married the fairest and brainiest woman in the Lava family—-(he had all As in his report card, while Remy had all A+ in hers)— there was no sign he ever allowed himself to be drawn to the ideology with which three of the famous five Lava brothers (Vicente, Jose and Jesus)—all Remy’s uncles—-tried to mesmerize the Filipinos after Independence, as the first pillars of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

    It probably helped that Remy’s father Horacio was only a communist sympathizer, rather than a communist ideologue, says his daughter. There was therefore no risk of Vic getting ideologically infected because of his marriage. But Vic, who did not share the politics of the famous Lava brothers, had such an unalloyed humanist view of society, which put the poor at the very center of all his hopes and fears. This must have done the Lavas mighty proud.

    From sunrise to sunset
    Vic was a visionary. He had an acute sense not only of the present and the past, but above all of the immediate future. He saw many things happening before they actually did. To borrow the words of Kipling, “he saw the sunset long before others saw the sunrise.” And yet for all the gifts, he was never one to call attention to himself. He tried to pass unnoticed, like many called to be saints. Invited to a public function, he would take the most inconspicuous place until the host would ask him to take a more appropriate place. Exactly as Scripture says-—that, when you are invited to a banquet, do not take the front seat lest the host tells you to take a lower seat, but rather take a lower seat so that the host, when he notices, will tell you to take a higher seat. This is what our dear departed friend and brother Vic did all his exemplary life.

    My deepest prayer and sincerest hope is that when our Lord, who died for all our sins and rose again to redeem us from our Fall, notices our brother and friend so calmly poised in that lower seat, he would say to him, “Come, my brother and friend, I have prepared for you a higher seat.”

    fstatad@gmail.com

    Share.
    loading...
    Loading...

    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    24 Comments

    1. Alvarez can have more than one wife because his religion is Islam.He is vry bold to challenge anybody to file complaint againt him regarding his mistress , he is wise and deceived most of us by admitting in public of his mistresses.

      Rolson

      • We’re talking about WIVES here, not MISTRESSES. Are mistresses allowed under Islam?

    2. MARIANO PATALINJUG on

      Yonkers, New York
      05 April 2017

      Shocking!

      So-called President Rodrigo Duterte and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez are two of the country’s top leaders’; both occupy the very apex of the bureaucratic pyramid–and both are brazen ADULTERERS who should be ashamed no end for being such, but who, instead are proud of being such and even flaunt their adulterous lives!

      With “leaders” like Duterte and Alvarez, one can say that the Philippines “has gone to the dogs”–or gone to the adulterers, the amoral and the immoral!

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    3. “THOU SHALL NOT COVET THY NEIGHBORS WIFE”.

      Basta single naman ang babae.. paano ba masasabing married sa bible? Hidi klaro kung paano ang proceso ng pagaasawa ng lalake at babae.

      So saan galing ang doktrina na sinusunod sa simbahan ngayon?

      Iyong married men ba sa bible ay di na puwede ulit mag asawa? Sa old testament, mga iba doon na character madami asawa.

    4. Mario Subaru on

      Why stop with Duterte and Alvarez? Why not ask what the Catholic priests in the Philippines have been showing us as the norm? These priests in sheep’s clothing have already been doing these offenses long before DU30 and his minions came into power.

      If one reads Tiffany Ang’s report in Al Jazeera about sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests in the Philippines, one will agree with Fr. George Rutler when he said that bad men do bad things, but evil men destroy the truth.

      Here’s portions of what Tiffany Ang reported:

      “Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who heads the Catholic Church’s National Tribunal of Appeals in the Philippines, says he is receiving more complaints of sexual abuse involving priests, including allegations of paedophilia.”

      “Some alleged victims say they have been pressured not to file charges and were paid money in exchange for their silence.”

      “Al Jazeera has also found that some Filipino priests are breaking the vow of celibacy and fathering children.”

      Father Elmer Cajilig, who has four children with his long-term girlfriend, says that the celibacy vow for ordained priests is “only a man-made rule”.

      “God did not say this, so I think I cannot say that I’ve committed sin. I am just continuing His mandate … to go and multiply.”

      “Father Jaime Achacoso, secretary of the Canon Law Society in the Philippines, condemns these ‘father’ priests, but says in some remote dioceses, one in five priests has had children.”

      “When asked if Filipino bishops are obliged to report sexual assault allegations to civil authorities, Father Achacoso says all investigation should be left to the Church.”

      It begs the questions “Who is the evil one destroying the truth now?” and “What is the church trying to teach us?”

    5. Jovelyn Rojas on

      Duterte should set good examples rather than trying to save a political ally who is into immorality. As President, he is duty bound to execute the laws; he cannot do otherwise.

    6. As usual, Mr. Tatad, you have spoken with truth and fairness. What is happening to the country when the garbage spouted out by Duterte when endorsing Alvarez’s actions, is not heartily condemned by one and all. Is this the moral compass that is being set for the youth and children of this country?

      Your tribute to your departed friend is also most touching.

      Yes I agree that Duterte and his cabinet members should read your columns for the good of themselves, and even more so for the good of the country that they are governing.

    7. What the President is forgot is that, on his best day, a government official needs to have all the integrity he can muster when a pile of money is being offered to him as a bribe. How is he going to do that if he has an extra marital affair, knowing that a government official is earning so little?

      Everyone knows that people -unless we consider politicians as people – who are deep in their vices like gambling, drugs, extra marital affairs( as the president puts it, love is his only racket), 2nd family to support are more susceptible to corruption, from stealing or commission of a crime.

    8. How about your Leni Robredo and Delima?? These people too have their boytoys.. :D Don’t play the innocent Mr. Tadtad..

    9. Good fearless watchman in you Sir. His Excellency Duterte is all sinful human besetting just like everyone of us. His hedonistic defense of Alvarez’s girl friend brouhaha is just so awefully overt and extolled which for sure further erodes the moral fiber of our society. The understanding, that the sinful cravings of the flesh; lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is what distinguishes us from animals. We can willfully rationalize whether we nurture them or live civilly over them. Everything we have done while in this temporal temple called body will soon chart the soul and spirit’s destiny into eternity when the One Upstairs calls up each one to account – the very essence of this coming Lengthen Season’s observance. Happy holidays ahead.

    10. With or without Duterte, the people knows what is right and wrong and they know how and when to decide so stop putting all the blame to PRRD.

    11. Your piece on the late Finance Underse Macalincag shed precious info before my eyes regarding the man, a good example for many rank-and-file people in the service, doing their honest best for the good of the country. My petition before the Risen Lord includes His taking Mr. Macalincag by the hand toward our Eternal Father. I’d say the man’s life reminds well how the current top man of the land needs to rehash his words, esp. touching on public morals, to ensure that our countrymen, particularly the young, heed the dictum, “Bonum ex integra causa, malum ex quocumque defectu” (Good is out of a whole cause, evil from any defect.) In other words, good remains good whatever the circumstance. Kahit pa si Speaker ang nangangaliwa, di pwedeng tama yon. Thanks for being forthright.

    12. I believe the president is in the same situation thats why he cant admonish alvarez nor floreindo for having an explicit affair. It goes with the saying that you cant teach what you dont practice. Or It is like throwing a mud to his own face. So in order to save their asses, duterte didnt bother morality and ethics in good governance. He tried to absolve himself by simply justifying alvarez act but he failed big time. He also failed the young generation for not acting as their role model. For me, it could have been better if duterte just silenced his mouth.

    13. is this the same DU30 who called down Sen DeLima because she had an affair??? Not only are his actions proving himself immoral but also sexist.

    14. Leland Sacro on

      What is wrong with having a relationship with another woman when the marriage is simply over?you can be legally separated but you can’t marry again so the option is annullment which is used by many who can afford it.

      That is why divorce is necessary.

      Morality? Why kiĺl other animals for food? Isn’t that immoral?

      • I understand divorce is necessary but in the real world where there is law against adultery, the right thing to do is simply knowing how to silence your mouth and not justifying your own action and pretending the law doesnt exist. These lawmakers are the biggest law breakers of all time. Divorce will not pass in congress either because they will upset the catholic church; the church depends their election victory or more are still believing in the sanctity of marriage; pretending to be righteous.

    15. Duterte is giving a bad example to all of us Filipinos, especially the young. Alvarez too. They should be thrown out of office ASAP. The country does not need any of these bad leaders. Duterte’s constant attack on the Catholic Church tells us that he is an idiot, who thinks of himself superior to others and he is a misfit for the office. Who does he think he is?

      The Church has withstood 2000 years of attacks from different sides. It will continue to be here long after Duterte is dead.

      • Do you know what those “mga banal daw” were/are doing up to now? You have to open your eyes Josie. I was a “sakristan” for almost five years and to be honest with you, those running our churches are worst than animals. I was too young then when I learned what these people were doing and I cannot believe what I have seen and learned.

      • PRRD nag papakatutuo lang sa realidad ng buhay at yan ang dahilan kaya unti unti na tayo umaangat sa estado ng buhay. IKAW Tatad na moralista na feeling elitista ang lalo nagpapahirap sa aming mahihirap dahil wala na kayo alam kundi punahin ang Presidente tunay na nagmamahal sa Pilipinas at sa mahihirap. Wala ka binatbat kay PRRD. Magmumukha ka lang basura kung iko-kompara ka sa kanya sa lahat ng bagay.
        Your Fr. George Rutler, pastor of St. Michael’s Church in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, and a well-known author, is your bad man.said that bad men do bad things, but, Tatad is the evil man,said that evil men destroy the truth.So, therefore, who destroy the truth?Who is he, Mr. Tatad? Madali sagutin yan pag tumingin ka sa salamin kasi ang makakaharap mo siya yon. Ha ha ha.

      • nonito s esposo on

        naturingan pa naman ang pilipinas ang only christian nation in asia number corrupt naman sa tayo sa asia

    16. Well done, Mr. Tatad. Normally, I would disagree with you especially in political discourse as we come in opposing views but in this article, I commend you for correcting a shameful and truly indefensible position of the president. Some people say he is a smart. I wonder, for it doesn’t show in a lot of his previous statements and being a lawyer is not a credible proof either.

    17. Duterte and his Cabinet members must read this Column-Article of Tatad as they would learn a lot of good things for the general welfare of the country and for their own souls!!!