NOW that President Duterte deemed it prudent to show to the media his “matrix of drug lords and politicians”, it has become his presidential obligation to disclose to the public as well the contents of that matrix, in accordance with our people’s right to information on matters affecting their security, welfare, and interest.
This right of our people is clearly laid out under Section 7, Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution. In its first sentence, we read the following: “…The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized…”
The second sentence of the same Section 7 says, on the other hand: “… Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law…”
As far as I can see, it cannot be denied that many are suspicious and outrightly doubtful that our countrymen who are being killed during the government’s co-called “tokhang operations”, including high officials of local governments, are truly involved in the trading of illegal drugs, or are truly part of drug syndicates.
These doubts and suspicions are due to the lack of prior official information surrounding the activities of slain local government officials. What is happening is that, if any of these local leaders are killed, there would suddenly and out of the blue information that the police and others in authority would release saying the slain officials were actually involved in illegal drugs.
This state of things naturally give rise to incredulity or unbelief of people who know nothing about the background of the officials that have been waylaid, or whose knowledge of these officials border on awe and respect arising from the officials display of good nature, care and concern, and generosity towards their constituents.
Because of this, it is extremely important for President Duterte or for the National Police to bring out publicly any evidence they might have which could seriously implicate personalities in politics in the illegal drug trading in the country, even before something happens to them.
It has to be shown to the public by the President or by the PNP if they truly have indubitable proof as to who are the partners of political personalities who are really involved in illegal drugs who might have the interest or the motivation to kill the hapless politicians.
I am convinced that if the President already showed his matrix of drug lords and politicians to mediamen, reporters and broadcasters, he has that degree of proof against those who are listed therein, so that he has no more reason to protect their identity in any way.
Truly, I appreciate the moves of senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Miguel Zubiri to outlaw hazing in fraternities and sororities in the Philippines, but, as usual, these moves are simple knee-jerk, and mere “pa-pogi points”, reactions that will not really mean anything and will not really not be beneficial to anyone.
I hope Gatchalian and Zubiri should try to be more creative in their thinking, especially because they have so many assistants who are paid to do the thinking for them in the Senate, and come up with something more meaningful to address the problems of this country, hazing in school fraternities and sororities included.
The fact is that, we all know that outlawing hazing will not stop hazing, in much the same way that outlawing plunder, graft and corruption, and even drug trafficking, and even imposing stiff penalties against them, did not stop any of these crimes from being committed. On the contrary, it would appear that more of these crimes got committed more often after they were in fact outlawed officially.
What I want to see Gatchalian and Zubiri aspire for, therefore, insofar as hazing is concerned, is digging deeper into why students still venture into fraternities and sororities despite knowing that a physical test — some call it the “torture test” — must have to be hurdled by them first before they are accepted as “brothers” or “sisters” of those who treated them as enemies of the highest order in the first instance.
Gatchalian and Zubiri must be interested to know if this desire to join fraternities and sororities which are, in reality, glorified street gangs, is fanned by an unhealthy family life — either because the fathers and the mothers are separated and are no longer living with the child, or because of some other serious family problems that make physical initiations more appealing than family relationships.
In other words, what Gatchalian and Zubiri must exert all their efforts into is this: finding ways and means to strengthen family ties among Filipino families so that parents and children alike would find it more satisfying and more fulfilling to be with each other, rather than seek the company of thugs and marauders whose convoluted idea of brotherhood is first torturing those who want to become their brothers.
If Gatchalian and Zubiri would train their sights (and their legislative functions and annual budgets) into looking at the mental, psychological, intellectual, and moral conditions of our children today, they would be giving the entire country its best project ever in its more than 100 years of existence. If they do so, they would necessarily learn or discover that there is much to be desired in what we should be teaching the Filipino youth of today, and in what we should be purging from what they think about daily, in what they read daily, and in what they do in their every waking hour.
Gatchalian and Zubiri will discover that at present, Filipino children are no longer taught good manners and right conduct, and even of fear and love of God. They will also see that many of them are abused and used for many criminal purposes, even by their own parents or relatives, needing to be rescued as soon as possible to arrest their decline into a life of criminality and sinfulness even at an early age!