LOUD WHISPERS| Tete-a-tete with the generals

LAST Sunday I was invited to the birthday party of Mrs. Lolit Mariano, wife of retired General Manuel Mariano. Manny was my childhood playmate before in Cotabato City where we used to play pingpong and in-door games. He was studying at the Cotabato City High School while I was studying at the Notre Dame Girls Department.

There was only one topic talked about by the guests who were also with other retired generals. While the party was in a very pleasant and happy atmosphere, a young military officer came in at our midst and remarked, “It could have been prevented. But the alleged terrorists were under the instruction of their commander in chief.”

Then everybody was mum for a while and looked at each other with surprise. “Yes, it could have been, it could have been prevented,” somebody seconded.

“But who is the commander in chief?” Then everybody laughed with blink in their eyes but there were one or two or three of us who reacted like, “Really? Did it have something to do with U.S. intervention? Did it have something to do with the next coming elections? Or everything that has been going on that is not friendly and palatable is due to the Bangsamoro thing?”

The talks went on and on with other topics. Then I transferred to another table. Dr. Tony Roldan is an ex-seminarian and founder of the Integrity Circles Movement. He is an international lecturer. He was reciting a poem which he composed entitled, “The Charge of the SAF Elite.” Before proceeding with the lines, he said, “with due respect to Alfred, Lord Rennyson. Here are the lines:

1. Take the lead, take the lead, take the lead onward; All in the valley of death rode the 300, forward you SAF elite! Charge for Marwan, he said. Into the valley of death, rode the 300;

2. Forward, the SAF elite! Was there a man dismayed? Not none of them knew someone has blundered; Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of death, 44 heroes, fell dead.

“Wow! What a poem… it’s relevant,” I said. But in the case of the “Charge of the light brigade, the soldiers (guards) who were behind the leader, marched backward, and only the leader was left marching forward!”

Then we giggled.

Now, to the more serious chat and tete-a-tete.. (Albeit, back to the Bangsa) If the cause of conflicts and more conflicts will rock Mindanao, it is because the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) that is now crafted is unconstitutional. The President who passed the draft to Congress for approval will have trouble and this was said many times in the past. In fact, some sectors reminded the President about this but he did not listen. He was only after his election or seat as Prime Minister (I suppose), once the BBL will be fully implemented.

But another one said, “It is a matter of trust. If we believe on the credibility and power of our government, there is no question about its implementation. We need to give new direction to our government. We need a more systemic form of government. We can still unite if there is trust and compassion among us. So, let us all together look for solutions in solving the problem of peace in Mindanao.”

Then another general said, “How can we trust now the government when we can not even generate the truth from the Chief in Command? How can we trust the government when we can not be assured of our security and peace of mind?”

“How can we pursue peace, justice and righteousness when we are already alarmed with terrorism acts in our midst?

“Indeed, there’s a need to unite and integrate … Or else we perish and disintegrate,” another general said.

With this kind of conversations and exchange of views, I see that there’s still hope for another bright and great tomorrow. I surmise, there is really a big big hope for peace and development because not all Filipinos are like the criminals and terrorists and killers that cause the death of the #44. I still surmise there are other bright minds with bright perspectives for our future. If only we shift our interests and culture towards God-centered lives, we will have big hopes for redemption. We will have absolution of our sins and our lineage will be happy to join us in redeeming our brothers and sisters from the tongues of hell.

We can only achieve these hopes and aspirations if we will realize that to be humble is to be free from the punishment of our souls in hell and purgatory.

(By the way, 90 percent of those invited by Mrs. Lolit Mariano are leaders of inter-religious sects. One belongs to the UPF, another belongs to the Couples of Christ, another belongs to the Born Again, another belong to the Unification Movement and another belongs to the local parish community and others belongs to other protestant sect.

The tete-a-tete was sort of inspiring and enjoyable activity because we were able to make ourselves comfortable, full of spirits and full of dreams that someday, the Filipinos will eventually hold that freedom, peace and happiness they have longed for not only for themselves but for our entire nation as well.

Posted in Opinion