by Manuel A. Rodriguez II
As early as my childhood years I can say that I already earned my PhD in Television Watching. I really don’t know until now why during those days I was so fond of facing that magic box even after the cartoons. As a kid I already watch the news, I can say I already had an interest on current events as early as then.
Every election season I see creative political advertisements some of those ads is saw still plays on my memory until now. I hear how “politicos” say their promises via media, after their term I’ll hear grown-ups say “’di naman nya nagawa pangako nya, sayang boto ko.” As a kid I told myself, “isn’t it wrong to break promises? How come these influential individuals can do it as easy as that, why are they not being punished for breaking their promises?”
As I grow up I learned eventually in the school called life the sad fact that promises are meant to be broken.
Today, the society faces so many problems. We are all in a war now, not against nations but against the evils that surrounds us. I have an opinion that the source of this entire problem is simple, the absence of “love” for the Nation in the hearts of the Filipino people.
Saying the term “love” in the context of politics happens very rarely. There is a sociological stigma in the Philippines nowadays that the term “love” is so limited, we have boxed the term probably only in the realm of family, relationships and religion, it is very seldom that the term is used with regards to society, politics and government. That is a sad reality.
If we Filipinos acknowledge that love must and should be a part of the family, how come we neglect to apply it on our society? While we know the fact that the family is the basic unit of the nation, why then are we failing to apply the love as we know it on our society.
If there is one public health problem this nation is facing, it is not any disease or any sickness but it is the absence of love. It was already been proven by scientific studies that a pregnant woman giving birth at the delivery room will need less anesthesia when a love one is beside her, children lessen their probability of becoming drunkards or drug addicts when they regularly share dinner with their parents. We must accept the fact that love is a part of the human physiology, something that is innate in our being; a thing we cannot live without experiencing.
If only our government officers and employees will love the Nation, the Government and the people whom they are serving then the biggest public health I mentioned will be gone.
I believe one factor why love for the Nation is not rampant is because schools don’t teach it and religions rarely mention it on Sunday sermons. We only hear the topic of “loving the Nation” on campaign periods, but as we listen we are all aware that most of the words spoken by “trapos” are lies.
What must be done is to start it in our homes (oh yes, from the grassroots level). As families love each other at their respective homes, they must educate themselves that the love their sharing should not be exclusive. The Nation deserves love as well.
Our society needs love. Love for nation, for the people and for the Divine author of love. No other political platform can surpass love.
This is not a perfect Nation, but it is our only God given piece of land on this planet. We ought to love this Nation Pilipinas.
God bless the Filipino.
(Opening remarks delivered by Manuel Rodriguez on Sept. 8 at an environmental forum held at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC) Auditorium entitled USAPANG TOMASINO: Kabataan Anong Alam Mo Sa Kalikasan?, a forum sponsored by Batas Tomasino, the UST Law Society.)
To our guests and fellow Thomasians…Good afternoon.
First and foremost, in behalf of Batas Tomasino I would like to thank the people responsible for this Environmental forum series.
Our guest speakers,
our partner organizations;
the Civil Law Student Council
the UST UNESCO Club
Mother Earth Philippines Movement
& Sustainable Development Solutions for Asia and the Pacific (SDSAP)
and of course the officer in charge from Batas Tomasino, our lovely Secretary
Ms. Hera Uy from the Faculty of Civil Law
and of course her executive assistant
Ms. Krizia Reamico of the Faculty of Arts and Letters.
Seminar like this, is meant not only to inform or educate us of what is happening on our environment…but also to eliminate in our hearts the apathy, and awaken our sense of responsibility not only as a citizen of this Nation, but also as a part of the human race.
Section 16, Article 2 of our Constitution mandates the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology.
One may ask…Is it less important than any of the civil or political rights guaranteed under the Article 3-Bill of Rights considering that it is found in Article 2-Declaration of Principles and State Policies?
Such query was already been answered by our very own Supreme Court in the landmark case of Oposa versus Factoran. No…it does not follow that it is less important than any of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Such Right (the right to a balanced ecology) belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation. What is found in Art. 3 –Bill of Rights are civil and political rights.
In fact, the Constitution does not need to possess the said provision in order for us to obey it. It is a part of our Natural Law on "Inter-generational Responsibility," and such law transcends all Governments and all Constitutions….
Even the Honorable Supreme Court of the Philippines acknowledges the authority of the Natural Law.
The crisis of the Philippine environment is a crisis of our passage as stewards of this planet. We have not only subdued Mother Earth, as we have been commanded, in the book of Genesis. We have destroyed it and continue to destroy it, without remorse. It is time for penance; it is time for change.
It is my prayer that this USAPANG TOMASINO forum, change our point of view with regard to the topic of environment preservation.
I ask everyone on this auditorium to join us to make sure that we pass on to the next generation a country that has managed to preserve at least a part of the natural bounty that God has put in its care; a country where the air is clean, the water is pure, the soil is rich and fertile, where the children of tomorrow may still listen to the whisper of rivers and brooks and the songs of birds in lush and verdant forests.
As what former US President Clinton has said; “We borrowed our planet, and to whom we bear sacred responsibility.”
Thank you very much. May the Lord bless us and Mother Earth.
Isang mapagpalayang hapon sa bawat isa!
by Manuel A. Rodriguez
Throughout history of our beloved Nation Philippines, it is the youth that has led our people in our struggle for freedom.
Dr.Jose Protacio Rizal,future national hero, at 26, wrote his first novel "Noli me Tangere" that awakened the nationalistic spirit of the Filipino people of his time.
Marcelo del Pilar helped lead the Propaganda Movement at 32; Gat Andres Bonifacio led the Katipunan at 26, he was later on named as the "Father of Katipunan";
Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was 29 when he was inaugurated First President of the Philippine Republic;Apolinario Mabini, the brains of the Revolution, was 34;
Antonio Luna was General at 29; Gregorio del Pilar gave his life for his country at 24.Under American regime in the Philippines, the youth led the nation in our parliamentary struggle for true independence.
Future Philippine President Sergio Osmena was Speaker of the House at 29; Future Philippines President Manuel Luis Quezon was Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. at 32;Future Philippine President Jose P. Laurel was Secretary of Interior at 32;Future Philippine President Manuel A. Roxas was Speaker of the House at 29.
During the chaotic years of the Japanese occupation, many young men and women in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao joined Mr. Luis Taruc's "Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP)," a resistance force against the invader.
When Marcos declared Presidential Proclamation 1017, placing the entire country under Martial Law; the cream of the country's youth went underground and gave their all for the sake of freedom and democracy. Many died without seeing the dawn of freedom.
In the Holy Scriptures Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples, mostly obscure, unlettered fishermen, were all young men probably in their early 30s, who left their fishing nets to become fishers of men.
Those who succeeded them were also in the prime of youth when they heard the call of the Divine.History records that in the course ot time, they shook the Roman Empire and turned the world upside down.
Today, the challenge is for the youth of this nation, beset by the worsening problems of poverty, corruption and criminality, to consecrate their lives to a cause bigger than themselves. To live the life their father's dream and share it with their future children.
This challenge was already been laid down to us, it is already present even before our birth. The young men and women who came before we do already did their part. We enjoy the fruits of their labor and as a form of respect to their past efforts we must and should exert the same effort so that our children and children's children will enjoy the fruits of freedom, democracy and peace.
Doctor Rizal our national hero already made the query to our generation, long before our mothers gave birth to us. “Where are the youth who will dedicate their innocence, their idealism, their enthusiasm to the good of the country? Where are they who will give generously of their blood to wash away so much shame crime and abomination? Pure and immaculate must the victim be for the sacrifice to be acceptable. Where are you, young men and young women, who are to embody in yourselves the life -force that has been drained from our veins, the pure ideals that have grown stained in our minds, the fiery enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts? We await you, come, for we await you. "(From Rizal's El Filibusterismo English Translation by Leon Ma. Guerrero)
I sincerely hope you will join me in answering the query of Dr. Rizal saying "Here I am."
The youth of the past had their flaws, we must must learn from it instead of blaming it to them.
We must and should challenge ourselves to build a better world.In my opinion the main problem of our Nation is moral crisis, not just in the Government but also in private lives. Massive criminality and rampant corruption and poverty, they are all connected with each other and these problems emanates from a single issue...moral crisis.
We can start changing the Nation by changing ourselves. If we want an honest government, we must be honest as well. We can start by paying taxes right, not cheating in our schools or at work.
There are flaws in our cultural traits, such as utang na loob, pakikisama, the kanya-kanya syndrome and a lack of sense of community that tend to worsen the twin problems of corruption and criminality.Culture of immorality must change.
We can change it if we will start as early as now. If the youth of today will build a world as such, tommorrow will be a better place.
Now is not the time to hold guns and swords and fight, the youth of the past already did it for us. Now is not the time to fight the physical war, but instead the time to fight the spiritual war we are all into.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). The war has begun. We need youngbloods in the army of morality.
By Manuel Rodriguez
(paper submitted to Edwin S. Martin,PhD, in partial fulfillment to the course of Public Adminstration at the University of Santo Tomas )
A public office is a public trust (Art.XI Sec. 1, 1987 Phil. Const.); it is bound by law, standards, and expectations of impartial, fair, and competent action. To live such a role requires personal integrity, which means that persons can live up to promises they make and can balance commitments to different roles in their lives that often create tensions within the self (Dobel, 1998).
This article is a reflection to the arguments raised by J. Patrick Dobel of The University of Washington on his article entitled Judging the Private Lives of Public Officials  He concluded that citizens need to redefine the boundaries of private and public life and suggested standards by which citizens can judge the private lives of public officials.
Dobel mentioned in his article what Vincent Foster, Clinton's WhiteHouse Lawyer said on his despairing suicide note wherein he is complaining that in American Politics "ruining people is considered sport". Three stories on the article of Dobel demonstrated how true it is.
First is the story of US Senator Robert Packwood who was accused of sexually importuning female lobbyists and members of his own staff. Packwood had served for 20 years as a senator with a very strong public record which includes being a supporter to the advancement of the rights of American women. After 1 year of hearings that proved the allegations against him, he was forced to resign on his office to avoid the expulsion decision by the state.
Another is the story of Democrat future president Grover Cleveland who in his 1884 presidential campaign was accused by the Republicans that he had fathered a child out of wedlock. The uproar over the revelation hurt the Democrat. Ultimately, however, voters correctly concluded that his long and impeccable record as a good governor ofNew York City, coupled with the fact that the affair had occurred in the far past and that he acknowledged the child and continuously supporting her, overrode misgivings about the private scandal. In 1987, Senator Gary Hart was accused of infidelity.
Despite the accusations and the reporters following his every move, he continued his affair with Donna Rice. When the affair was exposed to the public eye, he denied the charges and acted erratic and petulant. The revelations ended his campaign and support. Private scandal, as opposed to abuse of office, can signify great import with someone like Hart and mean little about suitability for office with the likes of Cleveland.
In conclusion of Dobel’s point of view, all officials have a strong right to privacy and at the same time a right to be judged on the basis of their competence and performance. Each private action may or may not illuminate public integrity. He added that when people confront the moral flaws of public persons, they should beware their own self-righteousness. Some people may be saints or prophets, but they too make notoriously bad rulers. We should judge as mortals judging other mortals, one must judge with mercy.
Civium in moribus rei publicae salus
The welfare of the state (depends upon) the morals of its citizens
-An ancient maxim
It is said that the citizens are the ones who are responsible for their nation, however by theory public officials are the ones who perform tasks in behalf of the citizens. Public officials are also citizens of the nation and their responsibility is a lot heavier than private individuals.
The extent to which the media are legally free to investigate and publish details of public figures’ (including public servants) private lives varies from country to country. For example, France is much stricter on protecting personal privacy than Britain is. The debate has recently been given additional importance by the development of Human Rights law within Europe, as privacy is classed as a right under the European Convention of Human Rights, as well as by political scandals in France, Italy, Belgium, etc., which have highlighted the need to scrutinize public figures’ behavior closely. The right to privacy of public officials must not be used to cover their faults as a private individual. Citizens voted them with the thought that they are morally upright aside from the fact that they can perform the job well.
That is why politicians make an explicit or implicit campaign point out of their family values and other aspects of their “private” life, for example by being photographed with their loyal family, and through policy stands on such issues as divorce, sex education, drugs, etc. If the public image such people seek to create is at variance with their practice, such hypocrisy deserves to be exposed. The people voted them because they are morally upright; they must remain that way because theoretically the public owns them. Here in the Philippines, we have a not so wise electoral body.
Most candidates who are winning in our local elections are those who are famous or good looking, most of the time they are from the show business industry vying their chance in politics. Again, this must not be the setting. People must be wise and vigilant in the search for the truth behind the candidates’ façade of good looking faces and promising promises. Setting morality aside, it is still necessary to uncover the private lives of public officials, for the same reason that the public owns them.
President Mitterand of France hid his cancer from the French electorate for years was this a public or a private matter? He also had a mistress and illegitimate daughter, who were secretly taken on some of his foreign visits at state expense; again, is this private or a public matter? The people own the public officials, not just his office but his entire personality. In the case of President Cleveland of the United States, he should not be judged based on what he did wrong in the past. Yet, he must be admired for his courage to admit the wrongness of what he did and moved on with his life taking this time the road of righteousness. A leader must not be someone who is continuously doing the wrong things.
Public officials must realize the cost of their fame. Ideally a person chooses to serve the public because he has the passion for service, a calling, or devotion. Having a strong passion for something means one is willing to pay its cost. In the case of public officials it is their privacy that they must surrender to fulfill the passion, privacy is the cost, the one thing that must be let go to adhere to his calling… serving his fellowmen.
If a public official is not willing to surrender his right to privacy, he does not have enough passion to serve. Most public officials locally and abroad demand for privacy, and we all know that most officials are hypocrites, corrupt, and immoral. If our public officials are morally upright, will they still demand for privacy? If what they do with their private lives is acceptable to the eyes of the people, will they still hide their true selves?
The extent of privacy a public official can demand is only their privacy inside their homes while doing private stuff like taking a bath, sleeping, making love with their spouses and the like for these are irrelevant for the public to know. Aside from these kinds of privacy, the public has the right to see, and the right to know. Their lifestyle, manner they perform their job or any aspect of their life that may affect their public service whether it is directly or indirectly.
Again, a public office is a public trust (Art.XI Sec. 1, 1987 Phil. Const.), we cannot trust someone who we don’t know.
In my opinion people have a right to know things about those in power over them. Their salaries are paid for by the people. The decisions of public political figures affect many aspects of people’s lives; in exchange the people have the right to make informed judgments about the kind of leaders they have. Any attempt to restrict what may be reported about public figures in the press could easily become a conspiracy to keep voters in the dark and to manipulate them. All elections are to a greater or lesser extent about the character of the leading politicians involved. Unless the voters are allowed insights into their private lives they will lack the information needed to make a fair decision at the polling booth. For example, many would think that a statesman who betrayed his wife in an affair was equally capable of breaking his promises and lying to his country. The way a person live their life privately is an important factor that must be considered in order for us to know if he or she could lead a nation.
In the Bible, mistakes made by great leaders were not hidden to us despite its being an ancient manuscript. This makes it an extremely valuable text for teaching moral character. In fact, the lessons learned from mistakes often provide a more lasting and powerful impact than those learned from doing things right. Biblical personalities like Jacob, Joseph, Samson, Saul, David, and Solomon.
Their lives indicate that the purpose of leadership is not fame, power, or fortune but to lead people with truth and righteousness. Leaders must be ethical and should not cover up injustices, even on the part of love ones (private lives). The Christian Bible supports the old saying: "sometimes we may learn more from a man's errors, than from his virtues." Leaders, as well as ordinary people, must be ethical and should not cover up injustices, even on the part of loved ones. They must also realize that no good comes from being interested in vengeance and settling old scores. This means that a nation must have morally upright leaders. Immoral leaders does not have the right to lead a nation, even their immorality does not affect their performance. We must put in mind that aside from doing their task they are role models to their subordinates, their fellowmen and the youth of the nation. Should a public servant be a perfect being then? We know for a fact that such kind of individual does not exist.
If people are the better of angels, no standard is necessary to judge their behavior.
-Yong S. Lee on A Reasonable Public Servant
That being not the case, the courts of justice have been in search for a reasonable person from time immemorial. Nowhere could the reasonable person be found, so the United States Supreme Court constructed a hypothetical reasonable person with a thousand faces. What is this reasonable person?
A reasonable person is a person of ordinary prudence, physical attributes (includes health), mental faculty, knowledge, and skills identical with a reasonable person in his or her place. The reasonable person exercises those qualities of attention, knowledge, intelligence, and judgment which society expects of a reasonable person under the like circumstance. We must know then if the persons who are working on our behalf, our public officials are the reasonable person.
Using the template of a reasonable person the court of justice made must be our standard in judging them. Not just judging with mercy and beware our own self-righteousness.
 Administration & Society, Vol.30 No.2, May 1998 115-142
 Book of Genesis
 Book of Genesis
 Book of Judges
 Book 1 Samuel
 Book of 2 Samuel
 Book of 1 Kings
 Also accepted by courts of justice of many countries (including The Philippines)
 Lee & Rosenbloom (2005), A Reasonable Public Servant. M.E Sharpe, Inc.
By Manuel A. Rodriguez II
Chairperson, Students' Democratic Party
Education, even for the veteran members of the academe, has never been an easy area under discussion. With the rise of technology in communications, education has become more complex than ever. It has become so closely interconnected with the individual’s and the nation’s progress. Truly, it has become the vital battle arena of the national economies trying to outdo each other in the global market.
Many scholars say that in the near future the economic battles between countries will be won or lost according to the educational attainment of their workforce. This is because the cutting edges entering the different production processes of many industries requires high learning and level of competence in science and mathematics not previously required by earlier processes.
This tells us the silent competition that happens among nations – or the struggle for the so called economic dominance. The competition which does not only happen in the workplace but also in the classroom where us Filipinos together with the other races are in conscious competition with one another. Nations helping nations is only an avenue to gain popularity in the international arena; the truth is that it is Nation against nation…a race to the top. Nations are trying to give their youth the toughest training possible in science and mathematics. The last time I read on our school newspaper, four of the top 500 Universities in the world are from the Philippines.
In our country, the present constituiton mandates the state to alocate a huge chunk of the national budget to education. The last time i checked on the internet it is the UP System that gets the highest amount of budget among other public schools controlled by the national government followed by the PUP system.
But to describe the future ahead of us simply as the age of the cutting edge or the technological age, and to produce an army of manpower known solely for its technical skills, is to say only a portion of what must we say to fulfill only a part of the many requirements of human progress. Marked by the incomparable forecast is proper – assuming that the scholar’s forecast is correct – the next century is going to peopled as well by ever more value-free persons, structures and groups. This is what we must greater be prepared for, this is what we must guard against.
The attempt to reinvent the human way of life and the most strong of all natural institutions such as marriage and family will prolong beyond what has so far attempted anywhere by any school of thought. Human civilization will be on trial, and the meaning of being a man will be a major question for every individual who would be alive by then.
For this, we must not only educate our youth with science and mathematics, we need above all to prepare them to challenge the rise of the values in this world in which moral (and religious) truths have lost their supremacy.
The signs are there.
Here in our country many youngsters are engaged in the use of drugs. Most parents no longer know who they children really are. High level of teenage pregnancy. Corruption in the government. Cheating at campuses. Pornographic DVDs being sold right in front of parishes. Lawyers using the rule of law to cover up an injustice. Professionals who do not have integrity on the manner they do their jobs in spite of being educated in a religious institution. Despite our being a Christian nation, most youth are not involved and does not believe in the Church.
I strongly believe that these things are seen as a standard outcome of reinventing almost everything, from the natural to the man-made, in the industrial Western culture. The obsession of reinventing almost everything has replaced all moral and religious values with secular ones, thereby banning the concept of God in the public square and revising the tradition of seeing religion as “sacred.”
What appears to be the cancer of the society in the western world seems to be just beginning here in our nation. But it is the same virus, and we must do every effort to check it before its spreading and become a common moral disease here in our nation. Educating the youth correctly is the best way to check it.
The term “educating” which I used does not only include a classroom technique but also and above all a correct view of man in relation to everything else. We must make our young Filipinos see that the right answers to the questions asked to them are given not by some political thinker or a philosopher but by Christ himself.
The education of the Filipino youth must, as a vital primary step, locate itself and the purpose of its instruction in the proper cultural setting. By this I mean that education must take into realization the fact that ours is a Christian society which must be instilled by Christian values. (Those from Mindanao must read this to mean Islamic society with Islamic values.)
Let us give our young men the Christian education that they deserve, the government has the duty to give it to them. Indeed such duty is to prepare them for the complex unseen battles of a highly technological age, but not by depriving them of the rich Christian heritage that they inherently possess and their right to perfect their Christian lives.
There is no reason why their education must try to teach them about the technological world while doing everything to rule out the belief of perfecting their lives as the key to their eternal happiness with our creator. If indeed the main purpose of education is to bring out the best in a student, why then here in our nation it tend to become silent on the most important thing, namely, salvation?
I propose that the revival of our Christian moral and religious principles is the more critical task of education here in the Philippines. Such task is not only vested on educational institutions such as the Philippine Christian University or of the Catholic University of Santo Tomas or other religious schools but instead by it is vested on all educators (including parents, the first teachers) who believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth and Life.
For while the knowledge of technical skills should help an individual respond to the demands of the futuristic age, only genuine Christian education of consciences will make us confident that the human being himself is making progress. This and this alone could make us confident that re-Christianization is happening in our Filipino culture. Our culture, our civilization, our Nation.
The young people of this generation are searching for the true meaning of life although they may be unaware of it. They are searching for definitive answers; they are searching for a God. Unfortunately many of them never found it yet, but instead found other things such as drugs, sex, crimes and etc.
In their continuous search they cannot help but to encounter the Church and the Church cannot help but to encounter the young. The only requirement is that the Church has an insightful understanding of what it means to be young, of the importance of the youth has for every person. It is also necessary that the young know the Church, which they acknowledge Christ in the Church, Christ who walks through years alongside each age band, alongside every individual. He walks alongside each person as a friend not a tyrant powerful being.
The most important day of the young is for him to become convinced that Christ is the only friend who will not disappoint him, on whom he can always put his trust and confidence.
I can end by saying that if we want an excellent education for our beloved nation, the Philippines. We should give the young people who seek to be good the education that gives them the opportunity to know himself more and the society where he belong as well by listening to God while looking at his fellow men. For a Christian, only a good Christian education makes it possible. This nation is thirsty for Christians in the academe.
Often recalcitrant, but always principled.