Consider the words more carefully PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:25



In my piece for  Friday Sept 24 I took up the topic of the need for more prudence, particularly among public officials. And by prudence I meant carefully considering the results of our actions and our words. It was during that same week that  the Filipino public was provided with gusto by the media of the questions about  decisions made by PNP Chief Purisima, the words of Pres. Aquino in Purisima’s defense and the ala-Harry Callahan words of Davao Mayor Duterte.

Gen Purisima claimed his limelight from the media after it became public that he had accepted some P11 M of   donations to have the “White House” PNP official residence built. No one suggested that part of that P11 M wound up in Purisima’s pocket but to have accepted such a big “donation” raises the red flags immediately. We are blasé enough to know that “there are no free lunches” in this world. Surely the P11 M would have been returned in some way or another to the benefactors with more than sufficient  advantages. Wasn’t the good general aware of all the flak raised by the Napoles scam in the past several months?  Imprudent in a very glaring way.

The President was asked to comment on the questions about Purisima’s action on the White House brouhaha. I get the impression from the write-ups that the President and Purisima are good friends from years back.  I understand friendship and I understand loyalty to friends.  But the President is no ordinary person; he is the president of this country and he has made cleaning up government one of his avowed goals. He could have been more careful with his words even as he stood by a friend. I hope he will not have to eat these words later on.

The third unhappy example I mentioned earlier is Davao Mayor Duterte. I think Mayor Duterte likes to be perceived as a tough-talking and a tough-acting mayor. There is nothing wrong with being so. But surely we have to mind how we talk; we don’t want young people to mimic us even before they have  earned the  right to talk/act  tough. When commenting on the crooks who turned out to be cops from a MM police station Mayor Duterte was quoted as saying that if these cops come to Davao he would shoot them. C’mon. I am old enough to know that surely the Mayor didn’t mean those words exactly as he said them but there are young people who may just be naïve enough to think that a well-meaning mayor can do just that. What respect for civil rights, respect for life are we giving these young people?  Some days later Mayor Duterte was  playing coy again about becoming a candidate in the 2016 election. And he was widely quoted by media as saying that he would shoot anyone who would push for his candidacy. Harry Callahan again.

Pres. Aquino and Mayor Duterte are widely admired public officials. What they say leaves an impact on people and we can never say what kind of impact that will be.  And this is why I wish that we can be more prudent in our words and our actions.