She was formally invited early. She was expressly advised that the occasion was tentatively scheduled for 6 April 2003, Sunday, with the proffered time and place. She was acknowledged as the President of the Country with many agenda. She was clearly informed that she could choose any other date, time and place at her pleasure and convenience. She was already profusely thanked if she could presence the event, deliver her address, and join in the handing of the awards.
The answer came. She was very busy. She had no time to spare for the occasion. She gave no other date, time, place. There was no opening left. There was no alternative given. There was no chance left.
So the Krusadang Bayan proceeded with the signal occasion. So the 87 City Mayors, Governors and Congressmen were gratefully given their individual Medals, Trophies and Citations. So the President was markedly absent, was not seen, was not heard even through any delegate of any rank from any office. Why?
This is the big question that begged to be answered. Why the snub? Why the absence? Why the silence?
The Board of Directors of the National Crusade against jueteng were all asking and wondering. The Awardees were all thinking and speculating. The guests were all whispering and murmuring.
The President could have presenced the occasion at her convenience and speak out her mind about jueteng. She could have used the event to expectedly censure it which after all is patently illegal. She had the propitious opportunity to say to the Krusadang Bayang Laban sa Jueteng if she were behind it as a Movement which after all is behind her government in countering a concrete surreptitious activity against the law.
But she opted to reject the invitation. She was noticeably absent from the occasion. She decidedly kept her silence. There is a loud message here. And the Crusade understood it only so well.
10 April 2003