According to the empress of Jolog Central in her recent published “insight” on the cutting loose of mutineer “Senator” Antonio Trillanes and his mob, “Trillanes and company never stole a single centavo from the government”. I say perhaps. But in my book Trillanes and his band of bandits did something worse. His actions contributed to undermining the stability of the state and perception overseas of the Philippines as a viable market to invest in and do business with.
Any moron can grandstand about attracting foreign investment. Indeed, it is the job of whoever is sitting in Malacanang — whether it be the current President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, former president Gloria Arroyo, or whoever the hell else — to mouth off such platitudes. Competing for capital (whether domestic- or foreign-originated) is an underlying principle of development economics in any country. It is a principle that is, in fact, hardly debatable.
The trouble is, principles reside below the thin layer of vacuous politics that turbulently sloshes across the surface of the national consciousness. And the reality is that the Philippines is populated largely by people whose faculties for comprehending issues rarely penetrates deeper than this thin layer of petty politics and into the underlying principles.
Ellen Tordesillas quite perfectly embodies this inability to see past politics and into simple principles. To the typically small Filipino mind, Trillanes represents a “fight” against a person. To bigger minds, however, Trillanes and the act of rebellion he committed resulted in an undermining of an idea that is the core of our aspirations as a people — the idea that in a modern state, one composed of thinking people, there are disciplines to be taken to heart, processes to be observed, and structures to be applied.
The conceptual haven of most bozos who fail to grasp such principles is the letter of the Law. And true to form, Tordesillas makes this rather hollow-headed assertion:
I [Tordesillas] ask [state prosecutor Juan Pedro] Navera: Is there anything illegal in the President’s issuance of Proclamation 50 [granting amnesty to Trillanes and his band of bandits]?
Of course there is nothing illegal about Proclamation 50. That is in fact an argument for the lawyers whose job it is to argue on the basis of the letter of the Law. As for the rest of us online pundits, I’d like to think that there is the bigger debate to be had — one that is conducted around the spirit of the Law. The Law is but a mere document composed of words formed from an alphabet of a mere 26 letters that strives to but, in practice, imperfectly captures this spirit. As such the real debate from which real insight can be taken is necessarily grounded on said spirit.
In a society infested by lawyers, it is quite amusing to behold a blogger of Tordesillas’s stature deferring to the jargon of a profession that contributed mightily to running the country aground. Indeed, there is “nothing illegal” about Noynoy’s issuing Proclamation 50, just as there was nothing legal in a bunch of “soldiers” storming the premises of a business establishment, endangering the lives of civilians using high powered weapons purchased using public funds, and breaking the chain of command of what is supposed to be the most discipline-oriented institution in any state.