An indictment

    698

    ‘Today, nothing rattles every soldier and officer in the armed forces more than the cowardice of the government that has not insulated the military now driven to hunger in restoring its guts and glory.’

    THE chief of the Southern Luzon Command did not mean to be a straight shooter but decrying the lack of political will against the rampant Chinese encroachments in the West Philippine Sea was a rare indictment unleashed against President Duterte. Lt. General Antonio Parlade tried to put the blame on the past Aquino administration, saying it should have halted the initial Chinese incursions, but there is no denying the context that the situation has gone from bad to worse under the current government.

    Before a senate committee hearing, Parlade said “the first capability that we need is wherewithal to send the message that the government is serious in protecting its rights.”

    He stressed that it does not matter if the military is not fully-equipped against China. “As long as we are clear and unequivocal about this position, foreign governments, including China, would be able to heed the warning.

    There seems no doubt this is his message to Malacanang, significant enough because Parlade is a high-ranking general speaking out against the President’s extremely docile position which has demoralized the officer corps no end. He debunked the President’s misgivings on a possible military confrontation for the government to fully assert its rights and sovereignty.

    Today, nothing rattles every soldier and officer in the armed forces more than the cowardice of the government that has not insulated the military now driven to hunger in restoring its guts and glory.

    ***

    Army Pvt. John Agustin did not think twice and chased the second woman suicide-bomber in Jolo. The bomb detonated before she could reach a crowded area, killing Agustin, almost tearing him to shreds. He looked like a high school boy that couldn’t hurt a fly in a picture posted on FB.

    Agustin, who belonged to the 35th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, saved dozens from harm’s way by offering his own life. It was a decision he didn’t have time to agonize over, and instead left his family, his colleagues and many friends in South Cotabato languishing in profound grief. His innocence turned into reckless bravery and selflessness.

    There were many others like him, youthful and exuberant, whose lives had been cut short by the deadly call of duty. It was a calling Rizal had been familiar with and yet he knew only a few would be counted. The real “life” of Agustin should blossom in the hearts of those brought low by doom and surrender or by greed and indifference.

    ***

    This county owes a huge debt to the late former Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan Oscar Cruz, one of the few outspoken crusaders in the Catholic church. He fought and spoke vigorously against government corruption and illegal gambling, confronting numerous public officials, including sitting presidents. He was notably a pain in the neck to Presidents Erap Estrada and GMA, who had protected political allies from his repeated tirades. The feisty Cruz also became an embarrassment to a number of priests and bishops for exposing their scandalous behavior of accepting huge personal gifts from GMA. He would always stress that morality cannot separate the Church and state.