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ARTEMIO PANGANIBAN AND THE ROAD TO HELL

July 13, 2008

Who said “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?

It’s the exact line I keyed in on google search. The closest answer I could find is this: “1855 H. G. Bohn Hand-Book of Proverbs 514″. It seems debatable though . Strange that such a popular saying finds no concrete attribution.

In any case, my searching was triggered by this article written by former Chief Justice of the Philippines Artemio Panganiban on the Philippine Daily Inquirer: Reactions to ‘Most Corrupt’. A week ago he wrote ‘Most Corrupt’ where he said very nicely to President GMA:

Madam President, you can still redeem our country and yourself. Please get rid of the horrible “most corrupt” tag immediately. Take the high road now.

As if it’s just a tag wrongly stamped.

About ten days before that, the news was the Philippines had been tagged the most corrupt country in this part of the world, displacing perennial cellar-dweller Indonesia, by no less than the World Bank. It inspired me, by the way, to write my own lamentation: so much moralizing that led to this fucking wickedness. Remember that EDSA 2, the people uprising that kicked out Joseph Estrada on allegations of corruption, was inspired by good intentions to rid the highest office of the land of a drunkard, womanizer, and corrupt. And remember too that election cheating was knowingly abetted to deny a school dropout of the position and ensure that a prim and proper church-going PhD degree holder will be the President.

My beef is this: where’s the wrathful, mouth-frothing indignation that was when Estrada was chased out of office?

Panganiban, of course, is the bible-cutting associate justice of the Supreme Court, later Chief Justice who in February 19, 2002 related proudly:

…let me articulate my faith that EDSA 2 was indeed a confluence of events planned in heaven. I do not have the time to relate all these events. Let me just say that, frankly, I am still wondering up to now how I had summoned the courage to propose the oath-taking of Mrs. Arroyo even when she had not yet requested it, and even when President Estrada was still in Malacañang, and why Chief Justice Davide immediately agreed to it, even prior to consultation with the other justices. The Chief Justice and I both knew that the Supreme Court was a passive institution and that, ordinarily, justices did not take active part in political events. The Court’s extraordinary action to resolve an extraordinary situation can only be explained as the work of the Holy Spirit on both of us and, in fact, on all the key players of EDSA 2. It was the same Spirit that animated us to do what we did, not because of conventional human wisdom, but because of faith instilled by the Lord. Let me add that the Chief Justice and I have thesame habit of reading Scriptures as the source of God’s daily instructions on how we should do our work. In my case, I take my bearings from the daily Mass readings. But in the case of Chief Justice Davide, he cuts the Bible and reflects on the page that opens. On that fateful morning of January 20, he woke up as usual at 3:30 a.m., prayed, cut his Bible and reflected. On that morning, the Holy Book opened to Isaiah 62, which spoke of the “Restoration of Zion”. As he prayed and meditated, he was struck by the unmistakable impression that he should act to restore Zion, that is, to bring normalcy to the country. Hence, when I called himup at 5:30 a.m., he was spiritually and psychologically ready for my then “weird sounding” proposal. Finally, you may want to be reminded that the gospel reading for January 20, 2001 was taken from Mark 3:20-21, in which our Lord was accused by his own relatives of being “out of his mind’” and in Verse 22, by the scribes, of being “possessed by Beelzebub, the prince of demons”, because the crowds were so mesmerized by his teachings that they refused to eat. Indeed, in our communitywhether it be of people who are supposed to love us like our relatives, or of those who hate us, like our never-satisfied criticswe could be misunderstood, even thought of as insane, when we espouse unorthodox ideas and actions. But we should always stand fast and take courage especially when our eccentricity is born of faith that transcends human wisdom.

(Hahaha I must be wicked; why do I love this?)

So there, when once you proudly claim major role in the ascendancy of a president, now is it your wish to bury your head in shame? Or is it to make up for a long season of stony silence? Still, the tone should be much angrier, Sir. It’s much too tame. So lacking in righteous outrage. Walang apoy. So parang Joker, you know, yung nangangalaiti at nag-uumapoy na galit abot hanggang  kataastaasang langit kung si Marcos at Estrada, pero oh so mild, oh so tenderly repectful kay Glo maski na mas oversuperduper nakakalula.

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