Friday, April 28, 2017

INFORMATION AND DEMOCRACY


True and timely information is considered as one of the principal means of knowledgeable and responsible democratic participation specifically on the part of the citizens in a democratic country.  Usually called “Freedom of Information” – this is precisely held as an imperative element of democracy, subject however to certain conditions specially those affecting the intelligence service in conjunction with national security.  Forms of information as well as instruments of communications are considered as a combined guarantee of true pluralism in a real democracy.  There is nothing like ignorance and falsity that undermine freedom of choice, that negate the principles and implications of democracy.

In this age of social communications through the use of social media, particular attention and pursuant action should be given to facilitate and promote not only the right ownership but also the proper use of these instruments of information/communication by means of just and appropriate laws.  In general, such legislative provisions should not allow their use particularly for demeaning human dignity or violating human rights.  As a matter of principle, no individuals or groups thereof, no entities or institutes may be allowed to use media contrary to social order, to ethical principles as well as to moral  norms – something that needs no detailed explanation and justification whereas otherwise, it is human dignity and the pursuant human rights that are usually violated by media abuse, not to mention social confusion generated by expert media manipulations of facts and falsehoods.  Means of social communications in the hands of those without conscience but immersed in social misconduct and maneuvered by evil agents equal the downfall of truth, the reign of falsity, the misery of democracy.

Among other obstacles that hinder the dissemination of truth and the knowledge of facts, special attention should be given to news media controlled by just a few people or groups of individuals with their own errant agenda in accord with their own but personal interests  and objectives.  Such a controlled media – specially so when it is the government itself that desires  and designs the control – has markedly dangerous effects to the democratic system.  What is detestable as well as dangerous is when media control becomes some kind of a partnership between a suspect government on one hand and avaricious financial entities on the other.  Duped, ignorant and thus misled, the losers at the end of such a collusion are none other than the citizens.  To be deceived and to be free – these do  not go hand-in-hand and neither do they promote democracy.  Wherefore:

a.  “The State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.”(1987 Phil. Constitution, State Policies, Sec. 24)

b.  “Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interests.”  (Ibid., Sec. 28)


c.  “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized.  Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.” (Ibid., Bill of Rights, Sec. 7)    

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ECONOMIC PLUS HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

Let it be said first and foremost that the present and actual economic development of a Country – the Philippines well-included – has its impact and influence more in the upcoming generations than the actual population.  In the same way, the more human rights are respected or violated here and now, the more the said affirmation or derogation of human rights become respectively better or worse in the times yet to come.  It is wherefore in good order to mention even but the following few relevant factors:

The question or the issue of economy is only but one aspect and one dimension of the whole human activity.  The life of man, just like the social life of the community, may not be legitimately reduced to its mere economic perspective – such as simply in terms of economic abundance or want.  So it is that food, shelter, and clothing are definitely the basic needs of men, women, and children.  But being not merely a brute animal but a thinking and feeling creature, while a good economy is something to be appreciated, every human being however needs much more than what merely economic factors can give and/or provide him/her.

So it is that while man has his corporal constitution, he certainly also has his spiritual, intellectual, and volitional integrated needs which material goods per se cannot duly and satisfactorily respond to – without denying that in the absence of temporal goods, developing his humanity such as his reason and will functions, his ethical and moral value system is a rather huge challenge if not big futility.  So it is rightly said that empty stomach has no ears.

So it is that in singling out man’s new needs requiring new means to accordingly respond thereto, those particularly in tenure of the national government must be guided by a comprehensive picture of man which is rightfully concerned with all the dimensions of his being and which subordinates his material and instinctive demands to his interior and spiritual needs – something exactly the opposite in the world of brute animals.  In other words, yes, let there be continuous economic development.    At the same time however, let man’s spiritual and ethical needs be accordingly responded to as well.

And so it is that as commonly known and repeatedly said, in order of their ascendancy, after the minerals come the plants; after the plant kingdom comes the animal kingdom; and on top of them all is man who has the attributions of all the former  plus the mind and the will in addition to his soul and spirit intimately  relevant to his mental and volitional faculties. 

On account of such a distinct nature and significant features of man, it stands to reason that while he certainly has his instinctive drive to attend, to control and to develop the world of economy, he furthermore requires progressive educational and cultural formation to affirm and enhance his human nature together with his human dignity.

Monday, April 24, 2017

“ABLE TO READ AND WRITE”

 In addition to other constitutional and  wherefore fundamental requirements with basically elementary nature and implications – such as age, citizenship, residency – the more distinct and telling mandatory qualifications demanded of those aspiring for membership in the Legislative and Executive Departments, is that they should know how to read and write.  These two personal requirements  on the part of the candidates for election to the said Departments with their respective demanding tasks of either enacting laws or implementing legislations thus enacted, yes, come in terms of but their knowing how to read and write.  To say that such double constitutional elementary requirement is mandatory for electoral  candidacy for the aforesaid two Departments truly invites the mind to think and to wonder – if not tickles the will to laugh, to howl...
   
Never mind if a candidate has a sound mind or not, is free from volitional dysfunction or otherwise – can read and write yes but does not even understand what he/she reads and/or writes about.  Never mind as well if a candidate suffers from a serious personality disorder or something the like.  Truth to say, the reality truly considered important and imperative for a candidate whether he/she is rich and popular or otherwise – even without really knowing how to read and write.  It is perfectly alright if he/she does not even understand the rationale of laws, the significance of implementation the laws enacted.  To know how to read and write – this is what constitutionally matters and this is enough.

Never mind if a candidate has not the right value system or in effect does not know what is right or wrong, does not care what is true or false.  It is really of no consequence if he/she makes no distinction between what is ethical or not, what is moral or otherwise.  So it is that the primary rule to observe and to wherefore realize is what benefits him/her, what is to his/her advantage, or otherwise.   This is egoism incarnate that makes someone feel and believe that he/she is the center of the world such that everybody and everything have to bow down to his/her person and position, his/her desire and design.

Never mind if a candidate thinks and/or feels that he/she is the center of the world, the hero and wherefore the hope and pride of the Country.  It is alright if the candidate even thinks that without him/her, the Philippines is hopeless and doomed if not detestable and lamentable even.  The savior of the people, the hope of the land, the blessing of the present plus forthcoming generation – these can  readily be the belief and conviction of someone who knows but how to read and write.

Why oh why is it that even but drivers should know more than how to read and write?  Why oh why is it that even factory workers, security guards as well as policemen and soldiers are required to know much more than simply how to read and write?  This is not to mention the professionals in various fields of human ventures and endeavors.  If someone only knows how to read and write, these would be even enough even but for street vendors are somehow experts in addition and subtraction.


And yet, members of the Judiciary are required to be persons of proven competence, integrity,  probity and independence.  (Phil. Constitution, Art. VIII, Section 7, No.3)

Friday, April 21, 2017

“YOU SHALL NOT KILL.” (Exodus 29:13) “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.” (Exodus 20:14) “YOU SHALL NOT STEAL.” (Exodus 20:15)


Not really few are those who believe that the Commandments  - clear, plain and  simple Mandates authored by Divinity for humanity to comply with – are but intended for the life hereafter and beyond or for the purely spiritual welfare and eternal salvation of those who comply therewith.  Kindly but categorically said:  Yes, they definitely have relevance in the thereafter and beyond.  But yes too, they certainly have their impact here and now.  Reason:  Their violations not simply make the victims suffer and mourn here and now but also make their violators marked candidates for agonizing hereafter and beyond.

If the Philippines is becoming a more and more dangerous place to live in or even to go to as officially warned by different Countries to safeguard their respective citizens from killings day and night, if the Filipinos have an increasing number of suffering and agonizing separated families plus progressively more unwedded couples to the big disorientation plus bitter lamentations of their children in particular, if many among the People of the Philippines are denied their public welfare and thus remain wallowing in poverty and misery – all these are by and large caused by killings here and there, by adulteries among many spouses plus but cohabitations among men and women plus gross dishonesty specially on the part of their public officials supposedly working for their public welfare.

Killing.  Is there anything at all more precious than life?  Wealth, power and fame?  Authority, wisdom and strength?  Prestige, prominence and honor?  With the taking away of life, what is there that remains?  The soul is invaluable.  But this truth is basically in view of its timelessness  to come.  But in the sphere of the here and now, life is the summit of all human attributions so that killing is in turn the neutralization of all human endowments.  So it is that killing one or more individuals essentially equals downright erasure of their living existence.

Adultery:  Human dignity such as in terms of fidelity to an oath knowingly made and willfully assumed for a lifetime, can be readily considered as the apex of the dignity among married men and women – without any reference to power or wealth, fame or fortune.  So it is that the violation of a solemn promise taken or a sacred commitment made, equals  human indignity, betrayal, falsity even.  It is an exercise in futility to make aduletery a reason for pride and celebration.  So it is that adultery is a big, shameful, dishonorable, self-cheapening phenomenon.

Stealing:  Greed, avarice, rapaciousness – these are the basic triggering factors of stealing.  What one does not own is precisely because the stolen goods rightfully belong to someone else if not to others as well.  Even children are again and again insistently and repeatedly told in one way or the other, not to take what is not theirs.  There are however these already rich individuals plus those families already reeking in wealth and abundance that remain insatiable and thus covetous of what rightfully belong to others.


Do not kill.  Do not commit adultery.  Do not steal.  Are these elementary and universal mandates too  hard to understand?      

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

VATICAN CITY STATE, EUROPE


For the sake of right information and proper knowledge, in view of objective  truths and existing realities, it is but right and proper to call attention to the proper understanding of what is commonly known and called the Vatican and everything else significant that goes therewith as a matter of constitutional provisions that properly manifest what really is the Vatican in fact and in truth, the official address of which is Vatican City which is a State, which is in Europe.

To start with, the Pope – now in the person of Pope Francis – has and exercises the following distinct and pivotal Offices:  “Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus Christ. Successor of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province.  Sovereign of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God. In addition, he is the Supreme Head of the Vatican City State in Europe.

To assist him in governing the Universal Catholic Church in her apostolic, judicial, and executive functions, the Pope has the following Departments with their respective commitments and defined agenda:  Secretariat of State.  Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.  Congregation for the Causes of Saints.  Congregation for the Oriental Churches.  Congregation for Bishops.  Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.  Congregation for the Clergy.  Congregation for Educational Institutions.  Apostolic Penitentiary.  Supreme Tribunal of the Signatura Apostolic.  Tribunal of the Roman Rota.  Pontificate Council of the Laity.  Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.  Pontifical Council of the Family.  Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.  Pontifical Council for Health Workers.  Pontifical Council for Religious Dialogues.  Pontifical Council for Culture.  Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.  Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See plus other Agencies such as different Offices in terms of different standing management responsibilities and other apostolic commitments.

So is it that Vatican City being a State, it has Diplomatic Relations with different Countries.  When these Countries send their Representative to the Vatican City State, they each carry the title of Ambassador.  when the Vatican sends its Representatives to the same Countries, the latter known as Apostolic Nuncios.  Through a Geneva Convention, it was therein agreed that the Apostolic Nuncios sent to Countries with diplomatic relations to the Vatican City State, are ipso facto the Heads of the Diplomatic Core in the said Countries.


Yes.  Being a State, the Vatican City has international relations with Countries wanting and willing to have such State relational inter-connectivity.  Yes.  The Apostolic Nuncios have pastoral concerns in representing the Vatican as a State.  No. The Apostolic Nuncios have no political bearing in the different States they are sent to.  No. The Ambassadors of different States sent to the Vatican neither have any political relevance in the acts and agenda of the Vatican as a State.