An email has arrived at firstname.lastname@example.org, an email thread of mainly alumni and students of De La Salle University (DLSU). The email is purportedly from Manoling Morato, formerly chairman of the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (1994-98) under President Fidel Ramos.
He addresses the stand of the Christian Brothers in the current political crisis, in particular that of its President, Brother Armin Luistro:
Manoling: What Brother Armin Luistro did in involving the De La Salle University in the current controversy is foul for many reasons. That he succeeded in dividing the student body right down the center is one such reason.
Perhaps in the schools that the good Manoling has attended, the masters expect that all the students should think and act as automatons or Stepford wives, uniformly prim and proper, like baby birds in their rows of soft containers. But at De La Salle they celebrate a diversity of opinion at the same time insist on a unity of moral principles. Brother Armin is merely the personification of that insistence, and this very thread is an example of our diversity. I don't know what schools he attended, but I am not describing the Ateneo de Manila or the University of the Philippines so the good Manoling must have been asleep at some other school during his courses in Democracy and Religion.
Manoling: I personally feel that it was a highly improper thing to do. Must we politicize our young students to make them behave like our uncouth politicians?
Oh, but the good Manoling surely knows that it is our uncouth politicians that have politicized and alienated the students, young and old, and even the Christian Brothers. We are only too glad to have them undertake this battle. It saves US from having to do it ourselves! Oh but yes, it is the uncouth politicians who have radicalized people, including the Christian Brothers by lying and stealing and cheating, and worse, getting caught then stonewalling. The good Manoling dishonors the good name of Tomas Morato, (the man not the street!).
Manoling: Knowing that politics in this country is something so distasteful and deplorable, we can say that what the Christian Brothers of La Salle are doing is to mold their students the wrong way.
Well, that is probably why there are hundreds of schools named 'De La Salle' all over the world whilst languishing in neglect, there is a Thomas Morato High School in the squatter area behind where all the whorehouses and restos are near T. Morato (the street, not the great man!). Perhaps the good Manoling should decry how distasteful and deplorable our politicians are, not insist that we swallow the bald, ugly, Orwellian lies that daily pours forth from the Palace.
Manoling: Everybody knows that what's happening right now is a brawl between two factions. It goes beyond reason if we look closely. It is dirty politics pure and simple.
WHAT is happening now is a Reign of Moral Midgets, but in this one small thing I agree with the good Manoling--it is dirty politics pure and simple--just look at JDV and tell me you would buy a used car from him. Look at the Kongres of Trapos with their risible intonations of the Rule of Law. Oh yes the good Manoling has it right about the dirty politics. It is called the Rule BY Law, a fine point of distinction not lost on at least 79% of the people. Is it really a brawl between two factions as the good Manoling claims, or a brawl between two moralities, two conceptions of what citizens ought to accept or not from their government.
Manoling: What have the La Sallites done about the Kuratong Baleleng, the Dacer/Corbito killings and the disappearance of Edgar Bentain? Have the Christian Brothers done anything to tell their students to take a stand?
What does the good Manoling want? Schools where students are told what stand to take? There are thousands of rapists, murders, plunderers, vote-riggers, and liars, but shall we let one of them go whom we have discovered in the highest office of the land just because the others are still at large? Why is the good Manoling himself being selective about what crimes he cares about?
Perhaps what the good Manoling is really trying to insinuate, with the soft stealth of Cleopatra's asp, is that the Christian Brothers are doing this for the benefit of Ping Lacson and his criminal gang. Or that they don’t care about those victims of murder and stonewalling during the Erap years. That’s insane! But the good Manoling cannot pretend it’s a battle between Erap and GMA. There are far more than Lacsonites in the anti-GMA opposition. With Cory and the Hyatt Ten, it would seem to me it is the good Manoling who abets evildoers in public office in the name of public order. I seriously doubt the good Manoling cares much about Dacer or Corbito or Bentain. He only wants to tar and feather everyone who is against GMA as being pro-Erap Lacsonites. The good Manoling is sneaky.
Manoling: If Brother Armin wants to start a trend, he'd better be consistent about it from hereon. From now on, we will be monitoring the La Sallites to know if they are part of the Filipino conscience. This they can do by expressing their stand on every issue that may present itself for not to do so is to be inconsistent and hypocritical.
Well, I wish the good Manoling would make up his fickle and wandering mind, for Garci’s sake! Which is it? Fight evil or acquiesce to it? Go after the malevolents or dream in apathy? I do not know about the schools attended by the good Manoling, but morality is not a mere fashion trend at De La Salle. Maybe the good Manoling can turn his conscience off and on depending on who is at the bar of justice. But at De La Salle, they believe in Blind Justice--not a stunted conscience.
Manoling: Brother Armin, hindi puwedeng mamimili lamang kayo ng issues. Ngayong inumpisahan na ninyo, inaasahan namin na itutuloy na ninyo. Maganda 'yan at sang-ayon kami diyan kung inyong maipatu-tupad ang bago ninyong hangaring sinimulan.
O sige magTagalugan po tayo, Ginoong Manoling Morato:
Sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi,
ang katotohanan ay nalulugami.
Ngunit sa nagbibingibingihan, para ka ngang pipi,
At ang nagbubulagbulagan, walang pagasa ng kamulatan
Manoling: A Jesuit product myself (largely schooled abroad than locally), I really do not know what exactly the local Christian Brothers stand for. I know that you are not priests. Neither are you laymen. I think that you are somewhere in between..
The good Manoling cannot make me believe it is the Jesuits’ fault how he has turned out. Poor Ignatius Loyola is to be pitted now against Jean Baptiste de la Salle. But just in case the good Manoling would like to know the De La Salle Brothers are C H R I S T I A N S,. You know--the guys that can't abide the money changers in their Father's house. So the good Manoling may have to set up his cache of casuistry somewhere else. Far away. Maybe Iraq. Or New Orleans.
Manoling: Aside from the vow of celibacy, what other vows do you live up to? Do you take the vow of poverty?
The good Manoling would not want me to get into this line of the argument. I certainly won't, I'm still a VIIRRRRRGIN.
Manoling: Apart from being educators, are you allowed to enter politics? Are you allowed to run for public office?
(Ahem!) From the Bill of Rights, 1987 Philippine Constitution:
Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
I think that the good Manoling has a weak grasp of the Principle of Religious Freedom and the Separation of Church and State. But the above citation is plain enough. I know what part of it exactly the good Manoling is utterly befuddled about, but maybe he’ll come to Philippine Commentary himself and explain his idiotic remarks.
Manoling: The reason I ask is because Brother Andrew Gonzales (my childhood friend, including the rest of his family who were our neighbors) accepted a government post as secretary of education. Unfortunately, he did not exactly do very well in that position that he was forced to resign. I was told that he even bungled that department with his very strange ideas.
The good Manoling’s friendship with Brother Andrew is perhaps his only saving grace, but it has not prevented the emergence of a venomous nature, maldito sui generis, full of innuendo and the wicked malice of a trained and taunting sophist.
Manoling: Now that you've made your point, Brother Armin, of asking president Gloria to resign, can we hear the solution from you after she steps down? It is easy to tell the president to step down without due process but what if the next in line is unable to take over? Once we start telling a president to get out of malacañang, we can do it to the next one as well. And so on and so forth.
And does the good Manoling himself have the solution? Oh, we should stay put in the quicksand. okay. But surely this reign of moral midgets isn't it? I say we should be able to tell any president to get out of Malacanang, otherwise we won’t have the right to tell her to stay as the good Manoling is doing now. And she can just say no, if she wants to, or yes if she realizes the jig really is up. Sooner or later that will happen. Of course resignation is voluntary. More than that it is a part of Constitutional due process. Comprendo fascista? What will happen if we get rid of Gloria and some other criminal takes her place? Then OFF with his or her head too! World without end, di ba? And so forth and so forth!
Manoling: We are almost there. It is almost becoming a bad habit. But in fairness to me, although I was the mortal enemy of erap, I never told him to step down from malacañang no matter how much I disliked him. It took congress and the senate to do that to him.
Well, the good Manoling should know what the good Manoling did or didn't do. That's between him and whatever deity, if any, he answers to. But if the good Manoling's right to choose his course of action in regard to anyone, Erap or Gma, is ever threatened or molested, he can come to DLSU for sanctuary, as they do not discriminate among victims of injustice there.
Manoling: I practice what I preach; and I hope everybody will at least try to do it the right way.
Et tu, Brute?
Manoling: pag nag-step down si president gloria at nagkaleche-leche ang line of succession sa bansang ito (it only takes once to start the ball rolling), we have the La Sallites and several others with them to blame.
Oh but the good Manoling surely sees that, nagkalecheleche na nga eh! Any number of famous fallacies could be invoked on this statement but I am getting tired of the good Manoling's regurgitated logic. It is slippery and cunning and I am sleepy. The good Manoling can blame the La Sallites if he wants, he is still free to be, the good Manoling
Manoling: When you try to resolve a problem, please give a solution. It is so easy to raise hell about an issue at hand. But what comes next?
I know the good Manoling would rather we wallow in the filth we are in now because his life is over isn't it? The good Manoling doesnt care about the future because he is passe, as old and dry and brittle as yesterday's news. But the future belongs to those like the Christian Brothers teaching and leading by example, not carping and mewling at the sidelines at how hard it is to build a nation, at how tireless we must be at the ramparts of our liberties, at how vigilant we must eternally be, against such poisonous stupidity of men like the good Manoling. The good Manoling is a shame to his proud family lineage and the grand traditions of the Ateneo, on whom he has here called down an undeserved obloquy. His is a compleat misrepresentation of what his school and the Jesuits stand for, while the good Manoling cunningly invokes their name.
Manoling: Brother Armin, now that you are a tv "star" with your clark gable-ish moustache, you would probably be more pompous. You've succeeded to make a name for yourself. But normal lang siguro sa inyo 'yan. As Christian Brothers, you probably do not have to take the vow of humility. Come to think of it, many of our pseudo-priests these days are not living up to the vows they had to take to enter the priesthood. I can name quite a few.
Bro. Armin, alisin mo na nga 'yang bigote mo at baka naman mabawasan nang konti ang aire mo? Masyado namang paporma ang pagka-deliver mo ng dlsu message sa pulpito ` fit for a non-christian to do. Ikaw na nga, brother, ang pumalit kay gloria. Inumpisahan na ni Brother Andrew sa deped, ikaw naman sa malacañang.
Here the good Manoling is just getting nasty. The good Manoling is himself a living mustachio that has been drawn on the beautiful character of the Filipino, of whatever school. The good Manoling is the flaming star of his own imagination, full of vanity and false pride. He is a piece of the effluent that this nation must extirpate to free itself for a bright future of happiness and prosperity. The Christian Brothers have and always will be the greater contributor to that end than the moral midgets and their supporters.
Like the good Manoling Morato!