Wednesday, December 08, 2004

word of honor

Anyone who has no word of honor, has nothing.”

Repeatedly and insistently, this was pounded upon me by my father. He was a poor and humble Court employee. For him, something was either right or wrong, black or white. There was nothing in-between. To tell the truth was but an obligation. To tell a lie was selling one’s honor and dignity.

For him, one’s word was his pledge. He was definitely not a saint. He was certainly neither a big-shot. Much less was he wealthy. But precisely because of all these, his word of honor was his only treasure. He died with no wealth. But his friends honored him and held him in high esteem. What he said he did. What he denied, remained denied. That was my father. He came to mind because of someone holding the highest office of the land yet saying what was not meant, meaning what was not said.

Think of open immorality and public iniquity, consider the endemic graft and corruption in the Country, look at the flagrant betrayal of public offices which are supposedly public trusts—all these and many more of our social ills can be ultimately traced back to the dire lack of word of honor on the part of those concerned.

People with no word of honor are those who make solemn oaths but big jokes, who consider promises as simply empty voices. Without word of honor, people will find it hard to live and stay together. Reason: Everybody distrusts everybody else.

Neither lame excuses nor puerile justifications can legitimize breaking one’s word of honor. And those who dare claim there is something higher than their word of honor, have but their self-interest in the last analysis.

People did not tell the President not to run for the same Office. She herself decided not to run. No one told her she was not qualified to run for the presidential office. She disqualified herself. Now, she is singing an altogether different tune. This can be said: Any rationalization she makes, any justification she says, won’t cut. She broke her word of honor. What else will she break? She betrayed herself. Whom will she not betray next?

8 October 2003