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A duty to disobey DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 01/07/2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

A duty to disobey

Herman Tiu Laurel
Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.” — Chinese Proverb
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the Bagong Katipuneros are now at least free from imprisonment with complete finality. Despite their admission of having violated certain “rules,” one TV network’s Web report headlined, “No remorse.” Of course there should be no remorse!

At that time in 2003, Trillanes and company marched out of their military camps to make known their stand against the illegality and massive corruption of Gloria Arroyo’s regime as well as the military under her reign. The deaths of soldiers from lack of equipment and dud ammunition directly linked to the thievery of the AFP’s budgets make it a duty of every soldier to conscientiously object to what was going on; but only a select few mustered the courage to say what must be said.

Even today, soldiers around the world who in their conscience cannot accept the impositions of authorities over them exercise such conscientious objections by breaking the rules deliberately, refusing to serve, such as in US Army Lt. Watada’s case, or by taking more drastic moves, such as in US Army Private Bradley Manning’s alleged leak of classified documents and video files to WikiLeaks, which led to his solitary confinement today.

Break the military rules they do but shirk from the consequences they don’t. Senator Trillanes, Gen. Danilo Lim, Col. Ariel Querubin, Capt. Nick Faeldon and many others faced the consequences and paid for their courageous acts with years upon years of unjust imprisonment, loss of career and income, and even emotional upheavals.

Disobedience — in service of one’s conscience and of the greater good of God, country and people — isn’t new. The world has a long glorious history of this, from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King, from George Washington who rebelled against his British superiors down to Hugo Chavez who is now a well-respected leader in the global stage.

At the time Senator Trillanes and the Bagong Katipuneros decided to risk everything on which their families depended, including their lives, the so-called “civil society,” including Yellow critics of Oakwood and subsequent military protests, continued to be in full support of the corrupt Gloria Arroyo. Yellow “icon” Corazon Aquino even staged a special scene for the commemoration of Ninoy Aquino Day (Aug. 21) two months after Oakwood to emphasize the Yellows’ unflinching support for Arroyo, with an inset photo of Cory holding Gloria’s hand on the Aug. 22, 2003 front page of a Yellow broadsheet.

I have this saved because I know I will need to invoke this whenever Yellows such as Christian and Winnie Monsod blame others again for the travails of our society when it is they who persistently sustain the cancers that plague us.

And so it was that by December 2008, Cory apologized both to Erap and the people for her support of Arroyo. In fact, she had already shown remorse even earlier by physically going to the Marines standoff led by Col. Ariel Querubin in 2006. Could the Monsod husband-and-wife team trying to smear the amnesty for all conscientious military objectors — particularly Gen. Danilo Lim who has been at loggerheads with the Monsods over his refusal to express any apology — find the courage to apologize to the nation for their own perfidy?

I hope Gen. Danilo Lim and Capt. Nick Faeldon both apply for the amnesty now that it is clear that no apology is necessary and their years in confinement have sufficiently paid for their “violation of the rules.” We need them to continue serving the people.

This new year and new decade, we must push even harder the campaign for disobedience against the prevailing system to bring about real social change. My philosophy student-son’s La Salle study guide highlights Arnold Toynbee’s conclusion about societal collapse: “The cause of the fall of a civilization occurred when a cultural elite became a parasitic elite, leading to the rise of internal and external proletariats.”

Proletariat in simple terms simply means the alienated employed and unemployed classes who don’t count in social decisions anymore, while the words “elite” and “parasitic” are self explanatory. Today, even our most highly educated are “proletarianized,” like how the top computer experts of UP and other universities who asked to test the source code of the PCOS machines have been given a runaround for a year now by Smartmatic and the Comelec, and this even after the Supreme Court ordered that it be given.

A perfect example of this parasitic behavior is the way the Philippine elite is insatiably extracting the blood from our society dry. In the latest research on 2010 power rates provided by our volunteer Ka Richard from the World Electricity Price Index we have the following data in US dollar terms:

Australia 18.55 cents/kWh; Hong Kong 11.80 cents/kWh; Singapore 17.38 cents/kWh; Turkey18.30 cents/kWh.

Compare all these to the Philippines’ 28.80 US cents/kWh and you’ll definitely seethe in anger. While we’re still updating 2010 prices for other countries, we should note that as of 2009, the Philippines was already at 23.00 US cents/kWh.

So it’s clear that our power rates have risen and continue to rise to breakaway levels as the highest in Asia, if not the world. It is only a matter of time before the VAT rate will be raised anew to 15 (or even 17) percent — this after PeNoy imposes hikes in MRT-LRT fares, the Slex, Nlex, and SCTex toll fees, and water rates, ad nausea.

During the past decade I have made calls for civil disobedience more times than there are fingers and toes on my limbs. We just have to keep on trying. And thanks to Trillanes and Danny Lim, our society is being educated on the dignity and honor of disobeying for the common good.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 8 on “2011: Fears, Tears and Trends” with Dr. Rene Ofreneo and Mr. Butz Junia; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110107com4.html


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