How we value truth PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 13 February 2015 13:37

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

A prevailing fundamental value of a people or a community influences how individuals in the community or group will  behave as regard that value or judge the action of others according to that same value. Let us take the value of honesty.

From what is going on in our society it would seem that honesty is not a very highly priced character trait.  By honesty I do not mean only being honest with money, not taking what is not yours,  but also keeping a conformity between  what we say with what we know.

It has been said that Westerners find it difficult really identifying what Filipinos are saying, since the value of smooth interpersonal relations is prized more than saying what we have in mind. We don’t want to offend; we aim to please the person we are talking with. Hence, we say what we think he wants to hear rather than  what we really think.

Conversely  many Filipinos find Americans, say, as being too frank to the point that they are considered as rude or abrasive.

Truth telling is something that we have to work at more strongly as a people. It is also  something that we have to demand more strongly from those who have the responsibility to tell us the truth. This was brought home to me recently on reading  the news about Brian Williams, a NBC TV news anchor.

According to the news, Brian Williams has been suspended from his network because it has been found out that  his claim of having been aboard a helicopter which was shot down in the Iraq war sometime in 2003 was a false claim. Brian Williams told a lie, simply said, and for that he has been suspended from his job for six months.

We are now watching on TV the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano tragic incident. The officers of the PNP and of the military have been made to answer the senators’ questions. The members of the MILF leadership have also come before the Senate committee. Also those who are directly engaged in the peace negotiation with the MILF.

How much of what we hear from the witnesses in the probe are telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?  Or are we simply getting the testimonies of these witnesses who are there to save their own skins? I most ardently hope that we are listening to the truth from these witnesses, because for someone like me who has not an iota of knowledge of military strategies and practices a lot of questions have come to mind.

And most important of all, those who  are later found out to have been dishonest in their testimonies  should be given the just punishment for lying.  It is one thing to be incompetent and it is another to be dishonest.