National Heroes & National Villains
By: Lito C. Lorenzana | August 25, 2014
President at Centrist Democracy Political Institute
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Today, August 25, is National Heroes’ Day. We honor and recognize the acts of courage of those who gave their lives for our country and our people. Some spilt their blood and others simply died for their beliefs. They have one precious thing in common. They love their country.
This pantheon of Filipinos is worth emulating. Some for the way they lived but most for the way they died. They are all known to us – from the time we all go to school as children; Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Lapu-lapu, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang, to mention a few.
We know some of them personally, Ninoy Aquino whose death in the hands of the dictatorship 31 years ago we just observed last August 21st.
But there are heroes whose exploits were unheralded except perhaps for the circumstances of their deaths. They are unheard of and our children of school-age may not even be aware of these people, nonetheless in some ways their lives were given up for what they stood for. In my books, they too are heroes. These are the Filipino journalists.
Only in this country do we produce such heroes by the hundreds through impunity; some of them were complete unknowns and will remain unknown and unsung except by their families.
So I cite some names to bring to our awareness that these people represent the many that have died and now forgotten. Just in the past five months alone, we at least 3.
1) 9 June 2014 – Nilo Baculo Sr. - DWIM Radio – According to Philippine Daily Inquirer: He was gunned down by men on motorcycles near his home in Barangay Lalud in Calapan City. In a statement provided by his daughter, Nilda, since the 1990s, her father has filed more than 20 criminal and civil cases against Oriental Mindoro officials, including police officers, and private individuals as a “concerned citizen.” Most of the cases involved graft and corruption.
2) 23 May 2014 - Samuel Oliverio –Radyo Ukay Supreme Radio –Details from the website of Committee to Protect Journalists said that “two unidentified men on a motorcycle shot Samuel Oliverio while he was riding on a motorcycle with his wife. Oliverio died from bullet wounds to his head and neck. ”Reports said the crime was work-related. He tackled sensitive topics ranging from politics to illegal gambling and drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is prevalent in Digos City, where authorities cracked down on illegal drugs in prior months and made several arrests, according to reports.
3) 6 April 2014 - Rubylita Garcia –Remate – According to Philippine Star, Rubylita was shot at close range by two gunmen in front of her house in Barangay Talaba 4 around 10:15 a.m.Cavite media practitioners said the attack could be work-related since Garcia was known as a hard-hitting journalist who exposed wrongdoing in the Cavite police force.
But today, I too would like people to remember that there are also Filipinos worth remembering not for their heroism or acts of courage or the manner of their deaths.
I want us to be aware of the villains among us; those shameless ones who betrayed our trusts. Our being aware of these scoundrels and their deeds will give us and our children a fine contrast to our heroes of old and those unsung journalists whose day today we celebrate.
So we pause and think too of those plunderers now in detention and the thieves – both the elected ones & the bureaucrats, who have stolen our country blind condemning many of our people to a life of stark poverty and despair.
Perhaps, we should also have a “National Villains Day”.
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