Idiotic claim-A A +A
Sunday, September 30, 2012
MSGR. Cris Garcia is a friend and I grieve over his being in the middle of a controversy over the trade of elephant ivory. An article in the National Geographic magazine lit the fuse but, as always the case when they’re caught napping in their own backyard, the Philippine media jumped into the fray with near reckless abandon as soon as they recovered from their stupor. That is why when you read the newspapers these days, you get the impression that Msgr. Cris is mainly responsible for the unmitigated slaughter of elephants.
The truth is that the Cebuano prelate was just a buyer. And he didn’t buy from the elephant killers but from the many shops that deal in ivory in Manila. Also, the images carved out of these materials went to his church or his collection. Msgr. Cris didn’t trade in ivory. He had no need to; his family has sufficient means.
None of these things can, of course, detract from the fact that buying ivory after our country agreed to ban its trade, is wrong. There is no attempt to excuse Fr. Cris here but to point out how absolutely unfair it is that he should get all the blame.
But even as my heart bleeds for Msgr. Cris, I can only despise the attempt by some of his fellow men of the cloth and their altar boys to link the National Geographic article on the ivory trade to the Responsible Parenthood bill. Bryan Christy may have obtained some of the information that he used for his piece through false pretenses but to say that he was part of a grand conspiracy to discredit the Church because of its opposition to the RH bill insults the intelligence.
The claim is as idiotic as the one made in the aftermath of the floods in Manila and some parts of Luzon a couple of months ago that God sent the heavy rains as punishment for the congressmen’s vote to push the RH bill to the next level in the legislative mill. For why should God punish a huge number of people for what less than 200 congressmen had done? Whatever happened to the Catholic teaching that we have a loving God?
Msgr. Cris has enough problems as it is. Let us not complicate his situation by even suggesting that his case is getting more than sufficient attention because the government is out to destroy the Church. I bewail the unfair treatment that the monsignor has gotten but I cannot for the life of me imagine that the government, on its own or in cahoots with Imperial America, has made it so. Come on, guys. Stop the lying and give Msgr. Cris a break.
What, it is the responsibility of the owners to prove that the ivory items in their collection were acquired before 1981 because the government cannot establish the age of ivory? Will the same rule apply to the false teeth, made of animal dentine, that one wears? How silly can we be?
Can you imagine if, while strolling along Osmeña Blvd., a policeman stops you and asks for proof that you bought and did not steal the clothes that you’re wearing? Or that the Blackberry in your pocket is not a fake one, made in China?
Look, what someone is now proposing is to overturn a rule that has kept members of society co-existing in peace with one another just because the government is unable to do its job. I refer to the rule on a presumption of rightful possession by one holding a thing that is not illegal.
Since not all ivory is contraband, anyone who alleges possession of the banned kind by another has a duty to prove it. A contrary rule is a perfect recipe for chaos.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 30, 2012.