Man of honor

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Saturday, December 7, 2013


SELF-RESPECT seems to be as rare a quality among our officials as gratitude was to the lepers of Jesus’s time. Of the ten, only one went back to Jesus to thank and give glory to God for being healed by Jesus. He was the only foreigner too, the only non-Jew.

Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon’s resignation in the aftermath of formal allegations that he benefitted from his PDAF reminded me of this biblical incident.

The parallelism is interesting. I imagine crucified Juan de la Cruz asking: “Were not plunder and malversation cases filed against more than a dozen officials? Where are the others? Does no one, except this administration ally, have the self-respect and honor to resign pending results of the investigation?”

I doff my hat to Commissioner Biazon for his honorable and self-respecting act of resigning after being formally or officially accused of financial impropriety. Not one of the legislators similarly accused has resigned.

Moreover, the Senate and House of Representatives, by not asking for the resignation of their accused members, demonstrate how low the ethical standards they live by are and how arrogantly they look down on their constituents.

While one is presumed innocent unless proven guilty yet one may not presume he should not resign until proven guilty. Until proven guilty, yes one may not be meted any form of legal sanction. But a self-respecting official, when accused formally of wrong doing by no less than the Dept. of Justice (not a rumormonger by any means), should resign out of self-respect and to assure people he will not use his office to thwart the nation’s search for truth.

If ex-Customs Commissioner Biazon should be proven guilty, he will at least be remembered as an honorable man in that he resigned out of respect for the Filipino nation’s right to a clear path towards truth. He would be remembered as an honorable man who did not defend himself by hiding behind the thick walls of privilege surrounding his office.

If he should be proven innocent, then Mr. Biazon would be honorable twice over.

On the other hand those who did not resign, innocent or guilty, prove themselves to be
men without honor. Innocent or not, they are guilty of lacking self-respect and a sense of fairness to give the Filipino people an unobstructed view of the truth.

Here’s to Commissioner Biazon, so far the only honorable man among the many whose honor has been formally placed under a cloud of doubt. He might have or he might not have done a moral wrong. In any case, he has shown himself to be man of honor enough to resign.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 07, 2013.

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