Home > In the News, News & Politics > Choices – by Conrado de Quiros [There’s the Rub]

Choices – by Conrado de Quiros [There’s the Rub]

After reading this article, all I can say is… I rest my case.  We have to stop being such a shameful tabloid nation [reveling in controversies and scandals.  the more scandalous, vulgar and sensational; the better]. We have vented our anger, we have sympathized with our Chinese neighbors.. what good would continually spreading hate and anger do, except keep fanning the flames?

SHOULD P-NOY have appeared during the hostage crisis?


The President is not there to negotiate with every hostage-taker, kidnapper or terrorist. At the very least, he won’t be part of the solution, he will be part of the problem. He’ll just get in the way. The fact that the hostages are foreigners doesn’t change the equation. The business of negotiating with hostage-takers lies with the police, who should have a battery of psychologists and not just assault teams for the purpose. We’ve always been pissed off by the sight of public officials and sundry personalities materializing at crisis situations preening all over the place and making all sorts of idiotic statements; the President did right not to do the same thing.

At the very most, he would have made things worse. He would have set a precedent for every hostage-taker, kidnapper and terrorist to demand to talk to the President and present him with an agenda. Or for every crackpot who has been fired for just cause to demand to have his job back from him. That won’t just expose the President to ridicule, that will expose the presidency to harm. We’re already criticizing media for turning the incident into a circus. The President being there would have turned it into a bigger one.

Should P-Noy have appeared after the hostage crisis?


Specifically immediately after. Specifically to have made a statement saying he took full responsibility for what happened and would do everything in his power to try to make amends.

There were in fact two crises last Monday night, not one. The first was the hostage crisis, the second was the crisis of confidence, the crisis of senselessness, the crisis of things falling apart that came in its bloody wake. The nation was in absolute shock after what happened. Not all the waters that poured down that night could wash away the blood, literal and figurative, that drenched the earth, or the bus that had been the site of carnage. I know I was in shock. I could not comprehend how something so seemingly trifling could turn into something so awesomely mind-boggling. I could not understand how something that began so laughably could end up so tragically.

The same was true of other Filipinos. The nation needed a force, a center, a core to pull it together. That should have been the President.

That should have been the President taking responsibility for what happened. That should have been the President saying he would not spare himself, along with those who bungled what ought to have been a simple negotiation, from blame, but would draw whatever bitter lessons might be drawn from it to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That should have been the President being the President in a time of grief and suffering, in a time of uncertainty and drift, in a time of shock and awe.

It doesn’t matter whether you have been 55 days or 55 months on the job. It doesn’t do to say the PNP is an inherited institution, specifically one inherited from a corrupt regime and thereby riddled with incompetence and stupidity. You become President, that institution for all its worth or lack of it is your institution. You can revamp it, you can fire as many people as you want from it, you can even abolish it. But so long as it is there, it is your responsibility. By all means call for the most thorough, the most scrupulous, the most conscientious investigation of the incident. By all means warn darkly of heads that are going to roll. But accept responsibility too for what has happened. Accept blame too for what has happened. You cannot distance yourself from what has happened.

Nor does it do to blame the opposition for all the flak you have been getting. Of course Arroyo and cohorts will harp on it, of course Arroyo and cohorts will ride a high horse on it, of course Arroyo and cohorts will try to make it out as though they could have done better. They were shameless before, they will be shameless now. At the very least it should have been a chance for P-Noy to show he was made of different stuff than the spurious leader he replaced, the one who liked to take credit for everything good that happened to the country, including Pacquaio’s victories, and blame the world and everyone in it for everything bad that did, including her own defeats.

It still is a chance for P-Noy to show he is made of sterner stuff. That he can roll with the punches, that he can take the bad with the good, that he can be a real president in every way that his predecessor was not.

At the very most that is so because the flak isn’t just coming from the opposition, it is coming from the very bowels of the earth. The anguish is universal, the shame is universal, the anger is universal. A great deal of it, and rightly so, is directed at the President. You get the glory, you get the coffin. That is part of the deal.

P-Noy can choose to insulate himself from it and believe it is coming only from his enemies, from his detractors, from the people who wish him ill; he can choose to listen only to a small circle of fawners who, like Arroyo, have mastered the art of taking credit for everything that has gone right and blaming others for everything that has gone wrong. Or he can take the brunt of the criticism, however it cuts to the quick, and tell the world in general and the kin of the victims in particular: “You need to take your anger and your grief out on someone, take it out on me. But please do not take it out on the Filipinos who are living in your midst, who are as appalled by what happened as I am, who are trying to make things better in their country as I am, who are as anxious to never make this happen again as I am.”

The Chinese word for crisis is opportunity.

What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

Find actual article here.

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