A response To Tonyboy of the Office Of The Mayor- Bulan
Thank you for the kudos and for reading things about Bulan. And I’m glad to know that our mayor is open-minded and that she reads things that concern Bulan and her constituents. It’s always an advantage for her to listen so she knows what is in the hearts of her “manga padaba”- ( am I one of those? ). Padaba or not, Bulan Observer is created for all of us Bulanians to share our views and concerns for our town. It is relatively young but has already attracted many people who are watching our town. No matter how it came into being, the main purpose of Bulan Observer is to connect us Bulanians and not just to entertain ourselves but to reflect seriously about matters that concern the present and future form of Bulan. It’s for the people of Bulan and I just function as the administrator to see to it that things do not run wild.
This Bulan Terminal case is the point of departure between the good or bad political De Castro and of a concerned or just a personally-motivated critic Guyala. This is the thorn that pains everybody in Bulan- as long as it is not yet cleared. I’ve read and heard all interviews with Mr. Guyala and the De Castros pertaining to this case as well as comments from people of Bulan. It is imperative to have a balanced view of the matter, and since it’s now in the court, we just wait and see. There is nothing else to talk about it at the moment but rather focus on the business of running our town efficiently and of solving the basic problems facing our people.
Tonyboy, I suggest you better admitt that vote-buying is a practice in the Philippines and then assume that the people may assume without admitting that they forgive and forget as long as the “elected (?) is trying his/her best to be a public servant even if the means by which he/she has been elected to office are not so moral”. You assumed yourself, “Yes, that can be possible”. I believe you because you are experienced in this area . But even then, we might rightly say that though this is possible it is still not a thing we can be proud of. It is considered though a strength of us Filipinos that if we cannot solve the problem, we just accept and live with it. We know, however, that this same strength is also what hinders us to move forward. The Philippines is not a safe place for people in the government, guilty or not, to declare that they did not resort to vote-buying. The best way is either you just don’t talk about it anymore, try and prove your best once in office or get out of politics. Indeed it is possible to forgive them for the not-so-moral means (vote-buying, extortions, etc.) of getting to their public office- for everybody knows it anyway and things like that are “normal” in our nation. Unlike Japan for instance, we do not have a legislation that’s designed to punish vote-buying political candidate. It’s practiced by our national politicians (see Arroyo ) so the local ones are forced to follow. Moral or not, the main problem is that once they’re in office, it’s their turn then to get back the money they paid to the people before or during election day. It could be that not all are doing this but still here we are again back to the vicious cycle of poverty and impoverished political system. That’s the logic of greed: It gives in order to get back more than it has given. The result is a sick nation, a dead town.
All the time we have always been mentioning the word opposition. Opposition is such a noble denotation, coming from the latin word “opponere”, which means to counter or to resist. In politics the opposition has the duty to criticise and above all offer alternatives to that which the government has opted to undertake. But strictly speaking, there is no opposition in Bulan for they are not represented in the administration. The Guyalas are just political foes in our local traditional politics and though they oppose by watching and criticizing every move of the De Castros, they are, strictly speaking no opposition party, for they have no people (seat) to represent them legally in the government of the De Castros. To be critical and yet responsible political foes however, they ought to separate definitions and start to work with the government when it comes to things that the whole town will benefit. Otherwise, a political foe or so called critic that only criticises, only on the look out for mistakes but refuses to work wit the government in situations where everyone’s help is being called for or to offer help for people’s sake is standing partly apart from the people. The people of Bulan should sharpen their senses so that they may rightly distinguish a constructive from an obstructive critical stand towards the local government. An obstructive opposition has at its nucleus the motive of revenge, therefore, it has no place in a town that’s fighting for progress.
We acknowledge that the De Castros are a strong political family in Bulan. I myself spent my elementary years under a De Castro ( Luis? ) mayor. But I think he was shot in his office one afternoon by another mayor from another town. A young boy that I was, I was enraged to hear about the incident that somebody killed our mayor just that! I don’t remember the details anymore. But the name De Castro has always been a big name to me so as Ginete, Gonzales…
And there is no doubt that after over a decade of governing Bulan, the De Castros have also done good things to our town and to the people, or also have thought good thoughts for the people of Bulan. For other things done not palpable, maybe they have informed the people about such things very little. Nowadays, informations travel almost at the speed of light. A good or bad thing done is instantly known in all corners of the world. So we expect that the De Castro government should be as communicative and open as possible. This will do them good. When the doors are open we will come in to help spread any good news. Our town people are willing to help when it’s for their own welfare- and also to oppose when it’s for their own welfare. But the government has no other option but to be concerned about the welfare of the people, never to oppose the people.
It is fair to admit that nobody from this site ever declared that the people De Castros are the meanest people. It is not right to attack people personally, but is legitimate to criticise the political De Castros. These are two distinct attributes. We never hate anybody personally, in fact we love and respect all of our townmates as people.
Yes, prudence is needed in judging, and for christians like us to judge is allowed. Though the popular verse “Judge not, that ye be not judged ” Matthew 7:1, seems to be contradicting my statement. But seen in the whole context, i.e. Matthew 7: 1-5, judging is allowed after you have first judged yourself. Take note that the word “judge” is mentioned about 700 times in the Bible, one book alone is titled “Judges”, written when God had chosen judges to lead ( like mayors of to-day) HIS people. And consider this verse: “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:14-15) . Therefore, it is in fact a sin not to make use of our sense of judgement of good and evil, of right and wrong ( see atty. benji’s a call for moral revolution?). So the biblical justification.
Now, from our common sense. Imagine Tonyboy if during election time, nobody has the right to judge a presidential or mayoral candidate! To quote you, “what the heck are we here for ? It would be chaos”. Chaos has been with us for a long time already. The political mess in our country is actually partly the result of our many people’s loss of capacity to judge because of the long vote-buying tradition in our country, a fact you can really just admitt and can really just assume the people had already internalized and “legalized” it. To generalize is wrong, but against this widespread, culturally-embedded vote-buying and selling practice in our country, it’s like blowing in the wind for some remaining righteous politicians to declare innocence. Nobody would just believe them anymore. I do not deny that there are such politicians but mostly they do not get the office. But again, not all who don’t get the office were righteous during the campaign. The sense of political judgment has been taken away from the Filipinos long ago. Generally, this leads us back again to the problem of moral corruption which is, to quote you again, “a very contentious issue, we can debate and argue, this blog will not suffice. Sorry po”. For me the facts about vote-buying, graft and corruption speak for themselves. There is nothing contentious about this issue. Bulan Observer’s storing capacity limit is more than enough if we don’t argue about things already obvious, but you are right, maybe this would not suffice if we keep on arguing they do not exist.
You seem to be anticipating attacks when you say “expect me to defend my Boss Mayor De Castro.” No one in Bulan who has done nothing unconstitutional/illegal should worry about defending him/herself against criticism. You are duty bound to protect your employer, as we are also duty bound to defend our mayor should she met with unjust criticism. My only freedom is that I can even speak in defense of other things that are in you which concerns Bulan about which you have probably no more this freedom to speak due to your position.
In any case, let’s move forward.
“God gave each individual reason and a will of his or her own to distinguish the just from the unjust; all were born without shackles and free, and nobody has a right to subjugate the will and spirit of another.” J. P. Rizal in “A Letter To The Young Women Of Malolos”.