Friday, May 27, 2016

PERSONALISM AND DEMOCRACY



As values usually stand for what is proper and correct, what is right and worthwhile, what is ideal and the like, people should be vigilant  and careful lest their value system become but ego-centered.  These are the times that seem to promote if not actually affirm the social liability  of personalism in what is right or wrong, what is virtue or vice – particularly in the sphere of governance anchored on egoism.  Whereas such down right egoism would readily and eventually promote if not even facilitate socio-political disorder in terms of individuals and/or groups thereof simply doing what they please, a supposedly democratic government would find it really hard if not practically impossible to work for the common good, for the public welfare of society in general – precisely under such a personalistic or egoistic orientation in the local/national level of governance anchored on egoism.  Whereas such downright egoism would readily and eventually promote if not even facilitate socio-political disorder in terms of individuals and/or groups thereof simply doing what they please, a supposedly democratic government would find it really hard if not practically impossible to work for the common good, for the public welfare of society in general –precisely under such a personalistic or egoistic orientation in the local/national level of governance.

Democracy and self-discipline are not contradictory.  True freedom and proper regulations are not mutually exclusive.  In other words, without discipline, democracy becomes a moral difficulty if not a downright political impossibility.  There is however a big difference between the freedom upheld and promoted by true democracy vis-à-vis  relativism subscribed to and justified by liberalism which considers objective truths as inimical even to what is true, right and proper.  The truth is that freedom promotes choice such that there is even the reality known as “Freedom of Choice”.  So it is that there is really no objective ethical and moral choice between what is virtuous and what is vicious, what is democratic and what is tyrannical.

In a democratic system of government, political authority is accountable to the people.  Such accountability is by virtue of the free election of those holding accountable public authority.  So it is that – when eventually perceived and actually proven incapable of heading a democratic leadership – despotic public authority are ultimately dismissed from office in due time by the people themselves through subsequent uprising if not free elections.  As it is correctly said, some individuals can fool some people some of the time – but definitely not all people at the same time.

To make civil life proceed well in its over-all course towards truth and justice, peace and development – such is the over-all commitment of those elected by the people to public offices in a true, actual, and lasting democracy.  And those thus representing the people in general are held accountable to the same people that gave them their respective elective public authority in a democratic government.  This however in no way means that public officials may just remain passive agents, indolent individuals, lay down characters.  The said officials should then have the freedom to fulfill their mandate generally in terms of knowing and working for the common good of the people, whereas public offices are categorically intended for public service in favor of the common good.

So it is thus provided:  “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State.  Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”  (1987 Phil. Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 1)  So it is that in the context of the above Provision, personalism, egoism, individualism in government are the enemies of people living in a democratic Country.           

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

PRINCIPLES OF SUBSIDIARITY



The Principle of Subsidiarity protects  people from abuses by higher level social authorities and calls on the same public figures and intermediate groups to make people not only exercise their rights but also to fulfill their duties as individuals, as members of society, as citizens of a country.  This Principle is imperative because every human person, human family and human intermediate group  have something original to offer to the community as a whole.  Some of the more concrete indications – guides, indications, pointers – found in the truth, reality and significance of the said Principle of Subsidiarity  are the following:

1.  This Principle affirms the right of individuals, domestic communities and civic organizations to be served by public authorities for their common good – not to take over what they can do by and accomplish for themselves.  This is the reality of self-reliance.

2.  The Principle nevertheless also proclaims the mandate  of public authorities to see to it that the same individuals, domestic communities and civic organizations comply with their duties, their obligations.  This presumes that they are exercising their rights as a matter of course.

3. The Principle finally recognizes the capability or potential of the said individuals, domestic communities and civil organizations to bring about original and beneficial good in their own favour.  The assumption is that they know what is good/best for them – likewise as a matter of course.

The observance of the “Principle of Subsidiarity brings about the following more concrete positive consequences, all of which are ultimately pro-person, pro-society and pro-public authority as well:

1.  There is respect for and promotion of the human person, the human family, and society together with all legitimate neighborhood  associations and organizations.

2.  There is encouragement of private initiatives, considering that individuals, families  and societies are presumed to know what they need, what they have to do, and how to go about it.

3. There is genuine pluralism in society that brings about respect for and acceptance of the social particulars of minorities whose members have the same basic human rights as the majority.

4.  There is effective decentralization of bureaucratic governance and administrative management that are wherefore free and able to attend  to honest-to-goodness public welfare for the common good.

5.  There is the discovery and recognition of the appropriate methodology in making the citizens more responsive to the need and call of being actively involved with the social and political concerns of their country.

Conclusion:  Government – do not do everything, please!    

Monday, May 23, 2016

“THOU SHALL NOT KILL” (Exodus 20:13)



It is respectfully but categorically addressed (“Thou”).  It is indeterminate as well as timeless (“shall”).  It is clear and categorical (“not”).  It is definite and defined (“kill”).  There could  be something wrong  in the heart or in the mind of those who do not understand such a clear, plain and simple mandate.  Those who know it yet spurns or despises it might be inebriated with power and might.  So it is to declare that these and those individuals must be killed as a matter of fact want to play god, to feel almighty, to assume divinity.  To say that such a thinking and a deciding process are dangerous and ominous, it is an understatement.

So it is that only God Himself, being the Author of life,  may and do take away the life He gave – in due time and for due cause.  The State does not give life and may neither take it away.  It’s foremost composite duty and obligation is to care for, to promote and defend life – not to do away with it.  So it is that the State should safeguard and protect life, should defend and promote life – not to depreciate it, much less do away with it.  The intrinsic significance and inherent import of life can be readily appreciated in the light of the truth that to govern means nothing less than to safeguard and enhance the whole of living mankind – irrespective of color, race and creed.  So it is that instead of more than one thousand and one laws, God in fact gave but Ten Commandments – Ten Laws, Ten Mandates – one of which is precisely “Thou shall not kill.” Reason:  Without life, what is there left to enjoy and relish, to protect and to care for, to safeguard and to defend?  In the same way, without life, delights and sorrows, smiles and tears, successes and failures, all become impertinent, irrelevant, nonsense even.

The government – not even His Highness, His Majesty, His Excellency – has no right to kill either by head chopping, by firing squad, by lethal injection, by hanging or anything the like.  The government – the President, the Commander-in-Chief, the Highest Government Official – has to render public service for the common good, not to kill.  The same Supreme Official has to promote the human right of its subordinates – rights which mean exactly nothing without life.  Needless to say, all human rights – yes, all of them – are premised on the right to life.  Without human life, all other human rights are senseless.  Absolutely no one of the said supreme, glorious, powerful government figures give life.  So it is that none of them may nether take away life from anyone.

But this in no way says that those who take the lives of others, those who violate the integrity specially of women and children, who commit crimes and other anti-social acts, should not be penalized, jailed for a time or for a lifetime even.  But the government killing them – this is not an option.  For someone to kill anyone – this is a terrible crime.  But for the government itself to kill the killer or someone the like – this is definitely a heinous act.

In other words, one thing is to have someone jailed for taking the life of another.  But it is worst when the government itself takes the life of that someone who killed another.  This makes both of them killers.  When someone thinks of himself as the defender of life as well as the promoter of death, when someone rules over the life and death of people – this is alarming, ominous, sinister. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

TRANSCENDENCE OF THE HUMAN PERSON



After profound and prolonged study, the conclusion comes to fore that man has two different basic characteristics:  One is “corporal” and the other is “transcendental” which is definitely absent  in brute animals – and so in all other beings on earth, be they living or still.  They are but two fundamental characteristics of man – not two natures of one and the same human creature.  These two inborn and innate characteristics of man are precisely what constitute the unity of the human person.  Take away one thereof, and there is no human person to talk about, to look after.  Put them together and there emerges the integral reality and transcendence of the human person.  Question:  What does “transcendence” mean – in simple words?

In its more simple and common understanding, a reality is qualified as “transcendental” when it does not merely stay in the now but also reaches out to the beyond, when it does not purely remain in the realm of the natural but also ascends to the sphere of the supernatural, when it does not simply dwell in the physical but also ascends to the realm of the metaphysical.  This in essence is “Transcendence” – something already reaching out to the beyond while still in the here and now.

The essential and unique features of the human person – his transcendence in particular – are what makes the entity attentive to and concerned not only with finite realities but also with infinite truths.  So is it that the human person is not only “open to the fullness of being” but also to the  “unlimited horizon of being”.    The human person has in itself “the ability to transcend individual particular objects” establishing its “openness to unlimited Being”, i.e., its capacity and disposition to go and reach out beyond itself – the opposite of which is self-containment which is closed to everything else outside itself.

All the above particulars notwithstanding, let it be expressly stated and definitively affirmed that every human person is unique, singular, unrepeatable.  This means that:  First, every human person is someone whose categorical particulars are definite and defining of itself alone, such that they are not shared with any other human person.  Second, a human person is one and alone in its constitution and consequent  being so that there it has no duplicate of any kind or any carbon copy at any given time, in any given place.  Third,  the human person consumes its own self-identity in the sense that there can be nothing exactly like it anywhere, in anyway at any time.  Conclusion:  Every human person is thus a unique, singular and unrepeatable individual.  Every person is intrinsically invaluable – for its singularity and uniqueness among other significant attributions.  It is in this admittedly profound and singular context that Human Rights  should be understood and respected, affirmed and protected.

It is both proper and timely that the above signal realities and noble truths are brought to fore – now that someone is about to hold the highest and most powerful Office in the land.  Let it be said that all such prerogatives notwithstanding, the person concerned has no human right over and above all other human persons all over the land.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MISERABLE PHILIPPINES



There is a multi-faceted  and non-debatable reality in this Country – supposedly the Pearl of the Orient Seas but in fact a Paradise Lost.  This:  If the innumerable, impressive and magnificent promises formally and officially, repeatedly and insistently made by public officials – specially when initially running for elections and particularly so when thereafter already occupy and enjoy well rewarded and much favored national offices upon winning the elections – became ground realities, then the Philippines would be nothing less than Heaven to live in and a Paradise to enjoy  belonging to.  So it is that among other things, they loudly promise when running for election and proudly proclaim after winning the election the following – among other glorious commitments:

Public service by public officials.  Public interests over and above private concerns. Common good over individual benefits and family welfare.  Honesty and integrity in government.  Respect for human rights, deference for human dignity.  More:

Pervasive and full economic growth.  Intensive and extensive development all over the Country.  Reign of justice and peace, of unity and solidarity in all regions.  No more poverty and want.  No destitution and misery in the land.  More:  Education for everybody.  Work for everyone.  Big salaries with small deductions.  Little taxation for big incomes.  Land for the landless.  Housing for everyone.  Abundant and cheap food supply.  Medicine grant and hospital care for the sick.

Yet after no less than   six years in the highest and wherefore most powerful Office in the land, its soon outgoing occupant – immersed in high self-esteem and wallowing in self-appreciation in the light of its tired and tiring hurrah of “Daang Matuid”  that in fact went nowhere – is leaving behind a people who know and still remember well the Luneta killings, the Atimonan murders, the SAF 44 massacre, the Kidapawan bullets that killed farmers merely pleading for rice to eat.  This is not to mention the heritage customary graft and corrupt practices, the spectacle of a well-funded and much-hurried impeachment of a Chief Justice (R.I.P.), the unique and shameful phenomenon Tanim Bala included.  There are more but few examples are enough to prove incompetence in governance, corruption in administration, indolence in management on the part of the supposedly illustrious, exemplary and saintly supreme Chief-in-Command.

So is it that no less than the same supposedly saintly figure himself was the real and fundamental cause of the honest-to-goodness huge loss of his replacement bet – not really on account of the negative features of the endorsed but rather due to the many and big liabilities of the endorser.  So it is that the said endorser  is the real cause of the opposition leader being clearly the winner in the last political exercise.  Again:  The big loss of the endorsed – notwithstanding all available resources spent and influence exerted to promote his candidacy – was precisely due to the big and many official as well as personal liabilities of his endorser.  The voters did not choose him on account of their dismay and frustration for his patron.  Philippines my Philippines:  There seems to be but one way for you to go – seeing how down you are.  Up!