AS A growing up boy at my Lolo Estong’s house in Silay City, I remember my late father used to have all those World War II documentary books in his little collection. I practically read all of them. And in the course of my readings, I became awed with the larger-than-life personas of the soldier. I grew up reading about the biographies of the great generals who led the major battles in World War II such as, the “Liberator of the Philippines” Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the flamboyant “Blood and Guts” Gen. George S. Patton, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the “Viscount of El Alamein” Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, and even the “Desert Fox” Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
But what really holds me in awe about this breed of men is their uncommon valor in field of battle and most of all their extraordinary leadership in face of combat. Hence, the words of Gen. Hal Moore whose exploits in Vietnam was made the basis of the movie entitled “We Were Soldiers” starring Mel Gibson, still remains vividly in my recollection – “I will be the first to step on the field….and I will be the last to step off the field.” Such is my high esteem for the soldier.
In this light, I am rather dismayed by the conduct of our own “quintessential soldier” in the Senate in the person on Senator Panfilo Lacson in the wake of his surreptitiously flight out of the country to evade his impending prosecution in the Dacer-Corbito kidnapping with murder case. Well, we all know that aside from Senator Lacson we have three other PMAyers in the Senate, namely: Senator Gringo Honasan, Senator Rodolfo Biazon, and Senator Antonio Trillanes III. Of course, we all know good ‘ol Gringo, the swashbuckling hero of EDSA I who later on debased himself as the leader of several coup d'état attempts against the Cory administration. Ditto with Senator Trillanes, whose claim to notoriety was his being the leader of the Oakwood Mutiny a few years back. On the other hand, Senator Biazon, distinguished himself when he was Chief of Staff of AFP as he led the government forces against the RAM boys of Gringo during the siege of Makati. Now it’s Ping’s turn to show us his real color. No, not red for bravery but “yellow”, as in cowardice.
I’ve always believed that the Philippine Military Academy produces soldiers whose gallantry remains unflinching in combat. But now it seems that in the case of Senator Lacson, this reputation of the PMAyer as a man-at-arms has been diminished. And mind you, Senator Lacson is no ordinary military officer of a minor rank- he’s a general. He was once the Chief of the PNP. Now that he is about to be charged as the principal in the Dacer-Corbito Case, he fled the country before the case could even be filed. He must have followed the example of his fellow PMA alumnus and fellow solon Senator Gringo who also went underground when he was said to be in cahoots with Senator Trillanes and his Oakwood Mutineers. An officer and a gentleman does not run away from a battle. He would rather die gloriously in combat with his boots on than run away from the fight with his tail wagging right between his legs.
In criminal law, well-established is the doctrine that “flight is an indication of guilt.”- for the guilty flees even when no man pursueth but the innocent stands bold as a lion. Pre-empting the filing of the criminal charges against him, Senator Lacson chose to flee abroad on such a flimsy claim that the GMA administration is persecuting him in the wake of his expose` against this government. If Senator Lacson is as unrelentingly brave in his crusade against the excesses of this administration, then he must also be brave enough to be at the receiving end as much he dishes out accusations against his political enemies left and right. After all this is what politics is all about. And he is not a newcomer in this dirty game. But the more that he remains a fugitive from the law, the more he becomes guiltier in the eyes of the law and the public as well. And the longer that he stays on the lam, the more he becomes anathema to his being a senator – a lawmaker lawbreaker.
How do we expect our fellow citizens then to obey the law when our very own lawmakers are themselves the lawbreakers?