SO far it is indisputable that there are 44 Special Forces dead as a result of an ill-fated mission to Maguindanao last January 25. That is 44 families bereaved, whole towns in mourning and a pall of gloom on the Philippine National Police from whose ranks they came as well as on the rest of the country.
This is a grave crisis that requires that it be handled well for the many bad consequences that could erupt, if not. This country has to act with maturity and circumspection as it looks for what really happened, why and how. It will be a critical undertaking in the annals of our history.
Public emotions are at all time high – anger, vindictive feeelings, disappointment, despair, grief. The families of the dead can be excused if they are overcome with them at this moment. Let us hope that in time with God and society’s help, they persevere in life, remembering their loved ones and leading lives they would have approved of.
For the rest of us feeling the same way and about to be carried away into precipitate conclusions and actions, let us be restrained.
All the facts are not quite verified. The truth of what happened remains shrouded in conjectures, bits and pieces of news, rumor, accusations, gossip, maybe even falsehood. The picture is too incomplete and hazy to base a judgment on.
Let us not be misled by those around us who following their own agenda of self-service or delusional belief in their utter infallibility in this instance are making demands and accusations that will make things worse by destabilizing our government just when it needs to be strong and purposeful. Sobriety is essential as we deal with this crisis. We need the facts, the verified facts before we take decisions.
The truth must be found through the best means possible – an investigation by persons of proven integrity and minimal biases with the total support of government and the public as well as the two parties of the peace process that has been imperiled by this event. Every party must be convincingly and truly honest. And the rule of law must be foremost.
When the truth emerges, and it should for the public demands it and will watch that it comes, the next steps can be taken in fairness and justice, in clarity and firmness, in strength and righteousness with the view that history will judge whether we did right or wrong, were honest or dishonest. We are now in the hands of the future. This is a test for all of us as a nation. Will we acquit ourselves honorably?
Meanwhile, let us watch and wait with as much restraint as possible. While we do so helpful suggestions and voluntary work, work to gather information, an effort for education, community work and other nation-building activities would not be out of place as long as they are done for the greater good, for goodwill, for the ultimate end of arriving at true nationhood achieving a lasting peace.
Eschew precipitate demands, intemperate accusations and judgmental conclusions. They are out of place and time at this point for the public to indulge in Time will bring us what we need to know and from there act.