Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia

Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia

Singapore: It has been a year since we lost Jesse Robredo. As the advocacy for the suspension of PDAF, pending a serious and thorough congressional investigation, is personal, the lost was personal too because a future star suddenly dimmed out early and with it, simplicity and decency became collateral damage.

It’s one thing to be simple and another thing to pretend to be simple in politics. I have seen too much of the latter and few and far in between of the former. As to decency, actions across time are the best measurement of it. One can be decent for a year or two but when one has been in the system for years, terms and decades, decency becomes relative.

Much has been said about Jesse but much remained unknown to most Filipinos on the simplicity of the man and his decency. His was a realization that he can’t go up the political ladder because he had no money and serving Naga was the ultimate political goal. And yet when he met his fate, people learned much of the man and was surprised that there was a person in politics who can epitomize our collective aspirations for a true Filipino leader. What would have Jesse offered as wise counsel to his president now, amidst the Napoles scandal? Or even to his party, LP, with the very selective COA audit?

Napoles is just the catharsis this nation needs to once and for all confront the hydra of corruption. More revelations will come out in the days ahead as individuals, groups and other stakeholders plan for mass action that hopefully could be a massive show of national disgust on how taxpayers’ money are used by elected officials.

Hopefully, COA will also find in its heart to serve the public end, which means to open its audit to 2010 and present. The days leading to the Napoles revelations, media ululating and DOJ somersaults leave a bad imprint in the national consciousness and the irony of it all is this is an Aquino administration. Here is an administration in its midterm so unsure of what it needs to do. Instead of confronting, they waltz their way to a slomo reverie hoping things will disappear with every distraction, produced or real.

This time around though, people are not willing to take things sitting down. On the other side of the equation, scenarios are being formed what with all the bombings in Mindanao, the corruption rocking the Aquino administration, and the US pivot in Asia leading to a negotiation on rotational support for the Americans in the region. Without a strong candidate for 2016, could a scenario for the exercise of emergency powers be far behind? What appears to be a painting on the canvass has an endgame that appears to be a game changer, another Black Swan.

Dan Simmons wrote in his novel, “every age fraught with discord and danger seems to spawn a leader meant only for that age, a political giant whose absence, in retrospect, seems inconceivable when the history of that age is written.” Will we see a new star in the horizon to fill the void that a Jesse Robredo could have, would have?

And talking about what could have, would have, it is quite refreshing to be with your high school batch ages after. Traveling together and laughing at each other’s quirks just made up for the past weekend. Thanks to Cynthia Jose-Colet of the Arlington Memorial Chapels Inc., for pursuing what others thought could just remain in the drawing boards. It was our first time traveling together. We had a good three days and two nights in Singapore just bonding, laughing and shopping (it was mean shopping for some) St. Theresa’s Batch ’81 had fun time in the Garden State. Present were Ymay Jeturian, Maro Parado-Bewer, Dra. Cynthia Sumulong-Caparas, Nikki Cuz-Ibanez, Dra. Vedy Yuzon-Veritas, Tonettte Gaynilo, and Issa Abad Santos-Baron of Good Thinking, Inc. Our “eldest” chaperone was Menchie Jose, a reliable hand from Batch ’84, the biggest batch that graduated from STC-QC.

Among friends decency is experienced through the years that even border arguments on what is safe and entertaining may end up in arguments by the canal . . . still it is decent because you know the principles that bind the group together is part and parcel of our DNA: raised with strong faith on a Being, inculcated with concern for community, molded by steeped tradition that makes clear blacks or whites, and tested by fire that makes one truly a warrior in life’s greatest challenges.

And so as Singapore celebrated its 48th and Manila is again swirling because of institutionalized corruption, decent people would have to step up on the plate and hit a homer because that is the only way we can recover hitting the canal. As Chogyam Trungpa once said, “if you are a warrior, decency means that you are not cheating anybody at all. You are not even about to cheat anybody. There is a sense of straightforwardness and simplicity. With setting-sun vision, or vision based on cowardice, straightforwardness is always a problem. If people have some story or news to tell somebody else, first of all they are either excited or disappointed. Then they begin to figure out how to tell their news. They develop a plan, which leads them completely away from simply telling it. By the time a person hears the news, it is not news at all, but opinion. It becomes a message of some kind, rather than fresh, straightforward news. Decency is the absence of strategy. It is of utmost importance to realize that the warrior’s approach should be simple-minded sometimes, very simple and straightforward. That makes it very beautiful: you having nothing up your sleeve; therefore a sense of genuineness comes through. That is decency.”

And so we march on the 26th rediscovering the heroes of our youth and recalling why it is worth fighting for our country’s soul. By the RIZAL monument, we will light our nation’s soul. A million marchers for decency!


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