"If you know something is morally reprehensible, then it is your moral obligation to stop it as soon as possible."
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY -- As a true-blooded Ilonggo and community journalist, I will never allow merchants of lies, canards, and chaos to destroy the good name of Iloilo City in the Philippines built by our forefathers.
I will never sit down and act like hackneyed kibitzer while my city and our leaders are being sledge-hammered by purveyors of half-truth, intrigues, and political vendetta.
The most "shabulized" city in the Philippines? Look first at Ozamis, war-torn Marawi, and other big metropolis in Metro Manila where shabu warehouses have yielded billions of worth of illegal substances.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog engaged in narco-politics? The cheapest Goebbels-inspired obloquy and hyperbole ever floated with no basis at all in truth, in fact, and in reality! Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
Like any other Ilonggos, I have a moral obligation to defend my city and its leaders--regardless of their political and religious affiliations--from external moronic and destructive yet unfounded accusations and innuendos, which, if left unchallenged and uncorrected, would harm the Ilonggos' moral fiber and create irreparable mayhem on their culture and psyche as peace-loving citizens.
In hours of great moral crisis, we are not supposed to play deaf, blind and mute. The hottest place in hell, according to Dante, is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, exhorted Edmund Burke, is for good men to do nothing.
Ilonggos are decent, educated, religious, intrepid, generous, and humble. They have produced great leaders and contributed abundantly in the political, economic, religious, and cultural evolution of the Filipino race.
If our family, community, culture, morality, values and honor are under attack by a horde of cantankerous and homicidal maniacs, we can't afford to remain neutral.
When we do nothing and think nothing while our reputations are being torn to shreds by voodoo practitioners, pagans, nincompoops, backdoor players, con artists, darkroom operators, spin doctors, dicey crime-busters, rumormongers, and pseudo-moral crusaders, we allow evil to win.
Silence and apathy become our imminent Waterloo.
I love Iloilo City, the "City of Love", the Athens of the Philippines and cradle of heroism and common sense. And I am proud of our folklore and heritage.
I love and support our elected leaders even if I criticize their faults and imperfections. (Some of the public figures who tasted "terror" from my mighty pen were bosom friends if not kumare and kumpare. In journalism, friendship is one thing; commitment to uphold the truth and decency and serve the public through the mass media is another thing.)
Constructive criticism is healthy in a democratic state. When we criticize our public officials, we don't destroy them. It's not something akin to bullying.
We help locate and discover their errors and shortcomings so they won't repeat the same mistakes again. Criticism helps strengthen our public officials' character and efficiency; and if they are not immature and uncultured, we end up as partners in nation building.
It is no longer constructive when we wish--and even sharply "pray"--for our public officials' destruction through violent death or assassination over imagined crimes and litany of sins only the ruffians and dolts in the Alfred Hitchcock films are capable of committing.
We have evolved by leaps and bounds since the time when hatred and intrigues were used as basis to execute heads of states and prominent monarchy damsels, queens and kings like Marie Antoinette, falsely accused of uttering "Let them eat cake" when the French people had no more bread to eat.
We impeach characters based on remarkable and solid facts, not innuendos and hearsays. We observe due process and acknowledge that after presenting both sides of the coin, only then can we ascertain the chaffs from the grains.
When we are frustrated and not satisfied with our leaders' performance, we don't shoot from the hips and injure bystanders.
Manchester Guardian reminds us that "Comment is free, but facts are sacred."
Even in faraway United States, I continue to chronicle events in our locality from time to time; I have never abandoned my crusade and advocacy for a peaceful community and graft-free government.
As a blogger, columnist and correspondent, I consider myself as an active participant in the modern Agora, which has expanded in the social media since the Oracle of Delphi decreed that Socrates was the wisest person in Athens for helping reform the society as a social, political, and cultural gadfly.
My moral obligation to shield Iloilo City and its leaders from imminent political havoc and moral decay brought by the current dyzzing zarzuela on anti-dope war includes an unflinching committment to shatter the myth of absolutism that pervades the national leadership.
Any overt or covert police raid in any establishment and residential area--owned by a public official or ordinary Juan de la Cruz-- not covered by lawful order or without any legal basis should be considered null and void ab initio.
No amount of hoary justification can supersede the rule of law.
Appeal to the rapscallions in the Philippine National Police and their over-excited minions in the ruling political party: don't do in Iloilo City what you did in Albuera, Leyte and Ozamis City. History will be unkind.