‘No investigation, no right to speak’-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
I AM amused by the reaction of people to the report that Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. shooed away Philippine Red Cross (not Philippine National Red Cross) volunteers, led by former senator Richard Gordon, who were distributing relief goods in the quake-hit town last week.
I repeat: reaction to the “report” (singular), not “reports” (plural). With that single report, everyone in the country seems to be suddenly after Evasco’s neck—-as if they already know everything about the supposed altercation and the people involved in it. Who was it who said that “a single sparrow does not a summer make”?
I even read a columnist of a Tagalog tabloid call Evasco names, like “gago” and “animal,” the reaction based, again, on one news story.
If we were to identify those people condemning Evasco in social networking sites, blogs and even web sites of mainstream media outlets, I am sure not even one percent know where Maribojoc is located, much less set foot on the town or know how Evasco looks.
I bet the critics also do not know Gordon personally, and do not know the names, or the demeanors, of the volunteers who were with him.
Which reminds me this admonition that I put to heart when I was younger:
“Unless you have investigated a problem, you will be deprived of the right to speak on it. Isn't that too harsh? Not in the least.
“When you have not probed into a problem, into the present facts and its past history, and know nothing of its essentials, whatever you say about it will undoubtedly be nonsense.”
Those lines were part of an article written more than 80 years ago by a man who led a successful revolution in his country. The article? “Oppose Book Worship.” The writer? Mao Zedong.
I am partial to people who join struggles for meaningful societal change. Why? Because I know what struggles require of their participants.
When I was confined in a camp after my second arrest, the soldier who was guarding me asked how much we were paid while in the “movement.” I could sense his disbelief when I answered “nothing.”
Principles, not money, fuel the participation of people in struggles. The willingness to die to achieve one’s goals or to realize one’s “dream” is what separates the revolutionists from the opportunists.
I once contended that the struggle that I participated in when I was younger seemed to strive to transform me and my comrades into saints. That was utopian, of course.
Human frailties eventually reared their ugly head in certain instances, with “crimes” like sexual or financial opportunism. Generally, however, the effort to straighten characters paid off.
But that success could not be replicated when one gets out of the “movement” and one is on his own back in society’s mainstream. Human frailties resurface without the constant reminding by comrades. But even then, many former revolutionists retain their ideals.
I am mentioning this only because Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. once joined the revolution and went underground for years. One does not go through that experience without being transformed personally and politically. Consider, too, that he once served the people as a priest.
I therefore would be greatly surprised if the accusations hurled at him will eventually be found to be true. Toying with people’s suffering, which is what politicking during disaster relief operations is about, is against the principles of the “movement” and more so the teachings of the Catholic Church. But I believe Evasco would never do that.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 26, 2013.