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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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LIFE MATTERS: Values – The Real Issue

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By Dr. Dencio Acop

The sudden passing of a former national leader has once again brought out both the best and the worst in us. While people did the ‘decent’ thing any human being of character would in such a moment of compassion, others did just the shocking opposite. It is true that we humans are apparently not all alike, but certain events demand an appropriate way of behaving no matter what. So what explains this inability by some of us to behave in a non-confrontational manner through a situation that cries out for compassion?

I rationally sift through the evidence and body of knowledge to find explanation on what transpires and why. First, the passing of former President Benigno Aquino III is indeed just what it is — a passing. There is absolutely no need to add or detract to what it is. It is what it is. The only appropriate public response it deserves is compassion expressed through the paying of respects to the dead. Especially to a former national leader whose burdens none of us ever experienced and could possibly imagine much more judge as if we would have done any better. Death is something each one of us will someday also go through when our time comes. Compassion in death is the order of life. Anything less is disorder signifying death of the soul even while the body still lives.

Second, the former President’s passing is not political. While it happened a year before the current leader’s term ends, PNoy died when he did from illness. If ‘Dilawan’ or the color yellow has once again been invigorated by a passing breathing new-found life into admiring Filipinos sick and tired of the pretensions from a failed regime, then that is hardly the designs of the Opposition more than it is by Divine Providence. If there is any uncalled-for weaponization of the death of a better-loved leader, it is from the lead of not paying respects to a predecessor by a successor, the most profound expression of utter disrespect for the traditions that keep us human. Such ill-directed, confrontational leadership likewise ill-inspires all irrelevant utterances against a fallen leader simply because the current is everything the predecessor was not.

Third, everything comes down to values. The values manifested by a fallen leader. Values expressed by Filipinos who likewise share those values. Values like faith in God, patriotism, hard work, honesty, decency, humility, and respect for the rule of law. And there are also the ‘values’ displayed by the current leader and some of his enablers and followers. Values like atheism and not seeing anything wrong with communism, laziness, dishonesty, vulgarity, arrogance, abuse of power, and lack of respect for the rule of law. Our divergent values are really what set us apart whether leader, follower, or enabler. These lie at the core of our being and inspire our will, thought, word, and behavior. I always thought that we shared the values which were drilled into us by our families, faith, education, and society from moral wisdom passed through the ages. I am aware that these values have repeatedly been challenged. Past leaders may have failed us. We feel we may have been victims ourselves. But the exercise of free will for one choice of action over another always remains with each one of us. If leaders of families, organizations, and entire institutions and societies failed us, it does not mean such failures have to be the order of the day. We still have our values (and I am talking about the righteous kind) which we can use to win others of like values, convert unlike values, and safeguard these hard-earned values so they will never again be significantly threatened.

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