Playing with the truth

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Saturday, March 22, 2014


EVERYBODY in our society today is easily playing with the truth, politicians, lawmakers, lawyers and ordinary people, but there is a difference, though.

Let us have a close look at what is the truth. Jesus of Nazareth has said that he came into this world in order to bear witness unto the truth. He said this when he was brought before Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate then asked Jesus: ‘Truth? What is that?’ This is a question of a skeptic and, as a Roman governor being a pagan, he was a diehard skeptic. He didn’t know the commandment ‘Thou shall not tell a lie.’ So he delivered Jesus into the hands of the Jews who did know that commandment. Nevertheless, they knowingly killed an innocent man. This is what we are doing all the time here in the Philippines, a Christian country at that.

Playing with the truth is a bad habit. People can easily tell a lie as long as it serves their own interest. One calls this a white lie. It is taken for granted that people do this. There are two ways of playing with the truth, one is telling an outright lie, the other is failing to tell the truth or intentionally withholding the truth. Both ways are bad habits, bad mistakes and human failures. But these habits are worse when it is done at the expense or the disadvantage of the other. This is happening in our judicial system all the time.

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What is the truth? This is the crucial question in our judiciary.

In our news today there is the case of cadet Cudia who was late for class by two minutes, supposedly a fatal violation of the academy’s Honor Code. He was not allowed to march at the academy’s commencement rites. His family and many friends and supporters felt that this treatment was unjust and heartless. The decision of the honor committee is indeed very dubious. The academy’s ethics and virtues are highly exaggerated for such a ‘small lie.’

Another case in the news today is that of property developer Delfin Lee, who is accused of a multibillion-peso housing scam while his lawyers are quarreling about whether this is a simple estafa case, which is a bailable offense or a syndicated estafa which is an unbailable offense. Lee is accused of defrauding the Pag-Ibig Fund of P7 billion in housing loans through fictitious loan applicants and double sale of homes.

Hundreds of homeowners have been defrauded and are crying for justice. In addition to this, Supt. Conrado Capa who arrested Delfin Lee is being questioned about the manner in which he arrested Lee. Again they are quarreling about the ‘honor code’ of the PNP. Capa deserves that justice is being done to him. They are fooling around with the truth.

Then there is that case of Janet Lim-Napoles who must tell everything she knows about the P 10-billion pork barrel scam that she has engineered. She continues to keep mum about the legislators, who converted their pork barrel funds into millions of pesos and kickbacks for themselves through Napoles’ fake NGOs and their ghost projects.

According to an Inquirer news report four senators and 79 representatives, including our own representative Rolando Uy coursed a total of P 1.7 billion of their pork barrel allocations through National Agri-business Corp. (Nabcor) to questionable NGOs. These are our ‘honorable’ senators and congressmen.

Also the Ampatuan case is dragging on already for years. Defense lawyer Sigfried Fortun, I am sure, knows what is the truth. Common sense says that Ampatuan is guilty like hell. The court allows the lawyer to go on telling lies in favor of Ampatuan but all this is happening to the disadvantage of numerous journalists who were murdered on orders of Ampatuan.

Their relatives are still waiting for justice to be done to them. Justice delayed is justice denied. The truth must come into the open. The Filipino people deserve to know the full truth.

Some years ago the Supreme Court declared the Davide Truth Commission set up to investigate the crimes committed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as unconstitutional. Some lawyers called this a triumph for the rule of law. The crux of the matter is indeed the rule of law. But the judges of the Supreme Court themselves are playing here with the truth. That is the worst that can happen. The Filipino people have the right to know the full truth.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 23, 2014.

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