Wednesday, December 15, 2004

the singer not the song

The big problem gripping and disturbing the nation is not what is being said but who is saying it. Our national dilemma is not really the public song being sang but the public official singing it. More than how beautiful the song is, what appears to count much is how unacceptable the singer is. It should be the other way around: not the singer but the song. Not the messenger but the message. But the concrete situation in the country is otherwise.

While it may not be a more prudent and wise option, people today by and large think and act by their personal perception which does not necessarily reflect the objective truth. That is why even if a public leader may be saying the truth, the public by and large turn a deaf ear to him. Reason: He is not credible, not trustworthy.

Some of the suspect items: The issue of jueteng payola. The garnishments of public appropriations. The question of unexplained wealth. The matter of morality. The open display of personal improprieties. The exploitation of women. The many illegitimate children. And all the practically infinite number of jokes that emerge from all the above—jokes said with great joy and glee.

While it may not be fair to judge someone without a fair hearing, the truth is that people do pronounce their judgment by what they simply see and merely perceive—not by what is the proven fact. This is a particularly big problem for a leadership that is taken with fun and pun.

Considering the obtaining national issues, more than what is the wrong done, it is important to know who ordered it done. More than who gave the dirty money, it is necessary to establish who received it. And more than who was holding the pot of gold, it is imperative to prove who in fact received it.

In other words: the capacity to govern infallibly puts into question the right to govern. Also, the trust and confidence reposed by or withdrawn by the people governed upon the one governing them. Likewise, the moral authority of the person of the governor.

10 November 2000