The wisdom of the ‘masa’


I listened to an interview by Karen Davila over her ANC morning program “Headstart” last Aug. 21, where she juxtaposed a live interview of Mr. Saldy de los Santos, father of the murdered Kian de los Santos, and a studio chat with the chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, Chito Gascon.

Try as she did, like a good journalist, to plumb into the depths of the father’s grief, hoping perhaps to get some controversial soundbyte for TV Patrol, all she got was a pained but soberly worded plea for justice.

In TV interviews with Lorenza, the crying mother of Kian, she also pleaded for justice without any political statements.  At one point, she cried that she would have wanted to kill the killers herself, but then, she was not a murderer.  Thereafter, she pleaded with government, President Duterte in particular, so that justice may be her rightful vengeance.

You wouldn’t be human if you could not weep with her for the death of her son.  And you could only condemn the police officers who tried to wiggle their men by painting the murdered Kian in such bad light, even when every evidence, digital, eyewitness, graphic or forensic, showed that it was a case of extrajudicial killing.

Sure, the political opposition tried to make capital out of the Kian de los Santos murder, but I admire the parents for not being “used.”  Theirs was a plaintive cry for justice.  Let the heavens rage and fall over the perpetrators, but milking it for political gain the parents would not be party to, at least for now.

Sometimes we who have had the fortune of better education or social status look down upon the “masa,” but in my book, Kian’s parents showed wisdom.  Greater wisdom than many of those who populate the political branches of government.

President Duterte declared that he would get to the bottom of the circumstances behind the killing, and let the axe fall where it should, and how it should. 

Kian de los Santos must be given proper justice.  The killing cries to the highest heavens.

* * * 

So many stories crowded the news last week:  The Lacson exposé after Faeldon’s accepted resignation, followed by Faeldon’s counter-accusation regarding Ping’s son.

The Bureau of Customs has always, from almost every administration I could remember, been the cynosure of allegations of corruption, most of them true.

And the accusations of corruption are almost always followed by resignations or replacement of its top officials.  But the cycle continues, despite the changing of heads.

Why not look at the systems that make it easy to be corrupt, that gives officials and employees too much discretion?

Why not bring back pre-inspection at port of origin, or at the source, rather than impede the free flow of commerce by giving human beings so much discretion and so much leeway to shake down importers?

I recall that in the last year of President Cory Aquino pre-inspection by SGS, or the Swiss-based Societe Generale de Surveillance was effected, way into the term of President Fidel Ramos.  It was scuttled in President Joseph Estrada’s time, and pre-inspection has never been returned since.

Maybe the BoC, or better yet, the Department of Finance, can bid out pre-inspection service contracts among highly reputable firms such as SGS, or Omni of Japan, and Bureau Veritas, among a select few.

Human discretion is the spawning ground of corruption.  Fight it through better systems.

* * * 

Last week also, three congressmen endorsed an impeachment complaint against Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista on the basis of explosive revelations and a paper trail provided by his own wife.

Reacting to the complaint, his fellow commissioners asked that he resign as work in the institution he heads has been quite affected by their chair’s personal crisis.  Even the defense of their budget before the legislature is impaired.

When I wrote some four weeks back that some resignations were forthcoming, I was referring to an expected Faeldon and a “sudden” Bautista, which I wrote before his wife went public with her accusations.

Well, Bautista’s agony has been going on for three weeks running, and I “read” him as the kind who would tender his resignation quickly enough, if only to spare his children from the recriminatory consequences, as well as spare his professional work from further damage.

Far be it for us to judge the person, especially since purely personal matters should be kept away from the prying eyes of the public.  But neither can we offer unsolicited advice.

One could only sympathize with Andy’s travails in this precipitous twist of events in his otherwise charmed life.

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