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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bishops and Sarcasm

This part of the Bishops’ pastoral letter regarding impeachment bothers me:

“For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindset of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise dismaying every citizen and deepening the citizens’ negative perception of politicians, left, right and center.”

I heard this line of reasoning before.

This was when the late U. S. President Ronald Reagan accused both sides, Marcos and Cory's camp, of cheating during the snap elections. Suddenly, the opposition and those who signed the impeachment complaint appear to be just as devious as the administration.

Questions for the bishops:

Question No. 1: Knowing that the administration has the numbers to thwart a genuine impeachment process, how can the bishops claim bad faith on the opposition or decry a lack of a genuine concern for the common on those who executed the complaint?

Question No. 2: Where is the lack of a genuine concern for the common good by those parties just because the pro-impeachment people want the process to continue?

Question No. 3: Why are the bishops implying that the opposition does not have the common good at heart when they seek to impeach the president? Do not the bishops realize that the opposition is going to hand to Noli de Castro, not necessarily an opposition figure, the head of GMA and the presidency on a silver platter?

Question No. 4: The bishops say that the impeachment process will deepen the negative perception of politicians. Assuming the impeachment process is not pursued, will the citizens' views of the politicians change and obtain a more positive perception?

While it is understandable that the bishops would like to strike a balance between the administration and the other side, the bishops ought to realize that there is no balanced equilibrium between the two forces. The power, influence and the wherewithal are with the administration and the only forces available to the opposition and those who signed the complaint are moral suasion and access to a free press. Beyond that, the opposition has nothing to crow about, not even ill will to grab power as soon as the president is impeached.

And so, I find it strange that the bishops would blame an obviously biased impeachment process on the opposition and ascribe bad faith on people like Nini Quezon Avanceña, Helga, et al. who signed the impeachment complaint. I know Helga and she cries the beloved whenever we speak of country and people.

The bishops should not lecture us on even-handedness when the balance of power is tipped against the people. Maybe, I was laboring under the assumption (and the bishops were not) that Jesus came down to earth to raise up the valleys and make mountains low, not build flat highways.

If they really want to be shepherds and point the moral compass north, the bishops should not hesitate to call to task the President. Unfortunately, the bishops were wined and dined and came out of the conference speaking still a wee bit tipsy from the attention and the largesse. As the title of Manolo’s blog which is as sarcastic as sarcasm goes: How much is that bishop in the window?

As Fyodor Dostoevsky once said: “Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”

Well, to be sarcastic about it, save for the impeachment, their pastoral statement is nothing more than Diet Black and White or One Voice Softer.

Been there, heard that!


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