I THOUGHT the error was plain, and President Rodrigo Duterte would correct it, after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who heads one of the two Houses that make our laws, said, “who doesn’t have any girl friend?” to absolve himself of his adultery after it had been publicly exposed. But DU30’s response shocked even his own supporters.
“How many lawyers/lawmakers are without affairs?” he said. “Who isn’t entitled to happiness?” Among desert travelers, this wasn’t just a man giving a thirsty traveler a poisoned drink. This was a real character poisoning what could very well be the only well in the desert.
In one of his columns in Crisis Magazine, Fr. George Rutler, pastor of St. Michael’s Church in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, and a well-known author, said that bad men do bad things, but evil men destroy the truth. PDU30’s unusual take on the banality of adultery and fornication in public office does not just condone a moral wrong but exalts it, and damns and destroys the good. Manuel L. Quezon tried to teach generations of Filipinos, up to my youth, the basic rules of “good manners and right conduct.” Today, when we hear the President’s defense of Alvarez, we have to ask: what does he intend to teach the present and future generations of Filipinos?
Adultery is not only an offense against the Ten Commandments. It is also a punishable offense under our laws. What happens when, instead of punishing public offenders, the President promotes them as role models instead? Has the time come for us to scrap our entire educational system, Congress, the courts, all our moral laws, and seek “happiness” in moral depravity and crime under the guidance of our President?
In absolving Alvarez, DU30 has put on trial everything we have learned through our reason and our faith. He has erased the distinction between good and bad, right and wrong, lawful and unlawful, and made himself the final arbiter of what is to be permitted or not, purely on the basis of what he says. He has now invaded the depths of the moral realm, where no one may intrude except to abolish all our inherent rights.
We have descended into a new Dark Age, where the sexual orgies at the tyrant’s court defined its noblest achievements. DU30 must save himself from this, and he can do so only by going back to the basic truths. Man has an intellect that perceives the good, and a will that desires it once it is known. Written in his heart is the first principle of practical reason—-Do good and avoid evil. He, therefore, seeks “happiness” in the good, never in the bad, or in evil. His ultimate happiness lies in God, his First and Last End. Crime or sin may give him pleasure, but such pleasure is passing; it leaves a deep wound in the soul and the taste of ashes in the mouth.
DU30 would be shortchanging himself unless he learns to support the good. There are still a few of them left in government. He needs to work with them, not against them. Yesterday, the late former Finance Undersecretary and National Treasurer Victor Macalincag was laid to rest at Heritage Park, after long years of dedicated and unblemished service to four Presidents. DU30 should try to find a few men like him. We remembered Macalincag at a short necrological service on Monday evening. Jimmy Laya and I were asked to speak, and some friends asked if I could run my eulogy in my column today so that friends and former co-workers who were not around would be able to read it. Thus, the following piece.