Monday, February 16, 2009

“no ransom policy”

Time and again as predictable as the rising and falling of the sun, and as certain as certainty can be, the long standing mantra of this ruling administration in any and all cases of kidnapping in the Country is infallibly one and the same – ad nauseam: “No Ransom Policy”. And rightly so if such “Policy” were continuously upheld and consistently observed – no “ifs” no “buts”. Such a policy option is right and just in the light of the following three principles: One, rewarding any big criminal act with any grand or even minimal reward is in the realm of irrationality. Two, putting any price tag on human life is not only gross materialism but also a flagrant insult. Three, the maxim that “Crime does not pay” would be but a joke.

But over and above all arguments in favor of the “No Ransom Policy” is the practical reality that to follow instead a “Ransom Policy” is in effect to eventually encourage kidnapping, hostage taking and other akin acts against human persons. In other words, it can be rightfully said that the “No Ransom Policy” – in line with the general ethical rule that evil should not be rewarded with good – is not but a mere option but an elementary mandate of right reason. To do the contrary is precisely to inspire kidnappers and to thus promote kidnappings.

The now relevant and persistent question is why is it that with the “No Ransom Policy” repeatedly shouted to high heavens by this administration, serial kidnappings precisely continue to happen? Why are innocent men and women, uniformed men and civilians, Filipinos and foreigners are almost regularly kidnapped? In fact, why is it that kidnapping in the Country has practically become a lucrative quasi standard business? Is this not the certain and certified argument that the policy is a sham, that ransoms are paid in exchange for kidnapped victims, that kidnappers wherefore are in effect encouraged to kidnap again and again?

This is not in any way meant to say that the human rights, dignity and life specially of kidnapped victims are not worth respecting, defending and saving, respectively. By all means, yes! What is instead meant is that this government either in truth altogether observe its often invoked “No Ransom Policy” or altogether as well junk it. For it to shout one thing and to do exactly the opposite, or even to have a selective observance of the policy – such is the height of hypocrisy just as discrimination is odious.

In short, while the present administration is not exactly a repository of trust much less a symbol of honestly, let it be at least – even in this particular matter – be open and transparent in responding to the rather common phenomenon of kidnapping specially in Mindanao. What is it really, for heavens sake? “No Ransom Policy”, “Ransom Policy”, “Selective Ransom Policy” or simply “We Do Not Know What Policy”? Or ridiculously “Any Of The Above Policy”?

While the above could sound flippant, at least this government should say what it really means and thereby does what it truly wants – and not as usual says something and does exactly the opposite. Again: The “No Ransom Policy” of this government is squarely belied by the one to many continuous kidnappings in this Country!

+OVCruz, DD
February 16, 2009