Mental Health of the Filipinos

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There is no question that the Filipino mental health is being adversely affected by the events of the recent past and present, most noteworthy of them being the ongoing impeachment trial of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

The free falling Philippine economy and the increasing poverty in the country, the mounting incriminating evidences of alleged massive corruption related to the "juentengate" scandal, money laundering, cronyism, nepotism and betrayal of public trust hurled against the president, the questionable integrity of the majority of the senator-judges on the impeachment court, the perceived futility of the trial and evident mockery of our judicial system---all these put our sense of decency, honor and justice as a people and as country in question before the international community of men and of nations.

Our head of state is not the only one on trial here. The presiding officer of the impeachment court, the senator-judges, all our elected and appointed officials in the government, national and local, the press and all the other media, and the Filipino people as a whole, are also on trial. The whole world is watching us and will render its judgment according to our actions.

Our mental health as individuals and as a people is likewise in question here because we acted as the "judges" when we elected these leaders into office. They were our votes that gave them the privilege to serve us or screw us. If we made the wrong choices, then it was our fault to begin with. And only we are to blame. We must now take the responsibility for that action.

It is our duty to our country, and to ourselves, as individuals and as a people, to rid our government of officials who plunder our economy and the welfare of our citizens, and rape the integrity of their offices with their immorality, graft and corruption. Doing anything less will only make us to commit a second, and an even graver, mistake, paving the way to more abuses against our country, against all of us and our children. Shall we just sit by and witness these events with indifference or cowardice?

One positive thing about this impeachment trial is the great opportunity it has afforded us, the people, to peek into the personality, character, and the behavior of our leaders, their principle, integrity and conviction. More than ever before, we can now see and hear for ourselves on national television who among these leaders we elected into office are true patriots, honest, just and truly deserving of our trust, and who among them are self-promoting partisans and opportunists, robbing our country and all of us, not only of money, but of our honor, self-respect and dignity as a people and as a nation.

All these conflicts are taxing the mental health of the Filipinos today. While there are obvious supporters of Erap among the senator-judges even in the light of damning evidences against the president, even to the extent of suppressing evidence by legal technicalities, there is at least one source of light at the end of the tunnel. I am referring to the inspiring integrity and admirable decorum of Chief Justice Hilario Davide as presiding chairman of the impeachment trial. Watching him closely, I feel more and more certain, at least up to this juncture, that our country is certainly ready to have an honorable man of Davide's stature, wisdom and integrity as our president. The other gratifying sign is the undeterred stance of the prosecuting team and its supporters and the protest resignation of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel after the eleven obviously pro-Erap senator-judges voted not to open the sealed bank envelope purportedly containing "the evidences" that would finally hang the president. In doing so, Pimentel, and all those senator-judges who voted to let the truth out, displayed principle, courage, justice and love of country.

Very disappointing and appalling are the biased behavior and contemptible actions of the eleven pro-Erap senator-pre-judges. People, perplexed by their arrogance and determination to acquit the president even before all the evidences are in, are beginning to suspect the possibility that they have been bribed by the accused. The least they could do is to open their eyes and look at the truth that stares back at them, and not be a party to suppressing incriminating evidences by invoking legal technicalities. Officially accepted by the court or not, the truth shall remain the truth, and the people watching the trial can tell. They are not stupid. Some of our senators may apparently be, but not the people. The wrath of the Filipinos is one powerful force the unworthy senators must contend with when the judgment time comes.

If Erap, the obvious role model of these eleven senators, is not guilty of the charges before him as he has vehemently denied, then why did his eleven disciples vote not to open the second bank envelope? Are they afraid of the truth? Are they scared the evidences in the sealed envelope would only prove beyond reasonable doubt what the entire country suspects in the first place---that the president is guilty as charged?

In view of this latest twist of events, let us focus sharply not only on Erap, the accused and respondent, but also on all the senator-judges. When the proper time comes, we, the people, will take our turn to judge the president and these senator-judges, proclaim our own verdict, and sentence them according to their own sense of justice.

When Filipinos are frustrated and disenchanted enough with the ultimate insult to their intelligence and the lack of justice in the halls of congress, will Parliament on the Street, EDSA II, and People Power be far behind? A divine miracle can happen again.

The impeachment drama has given our people enough insights into the mind, character and integrity of each of the players in this historical saga of "The Rape of the Philippine Justice System." What we, as citizens, do next will show the whole world what kind of people the Filipinos really are.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.