Monday, January 23, 2006

The Soldiers and the People Deserve the Same: Justice

HAVING chosen a profession that obligates them to risk life and limb for country and people, the soldiers of our armed forces undertake risks on a daily basis no ordinary citizen does. It is precisely for this reason that our soldiers deserve good governance and the responsible exercise of authority, on the part of their superiors. It is for this reason that civilians must insist on every opportunity being given to our soldiers to be given due process. The redress of grievances and the delivery of justice are not only civilian rights, but the birthright of our soldiers as well. Just as the general population is entitled to expect government to protect and respect basic liberties and rights, so do our armed forces deserve the protections afforded by the genuine rule of law, and the principled observance of due process.

We in the Black And White Movement believe that just as every individual has his or her limit, when it comes to enduring the abuse of power and the violation of the principles of good governance and civil liberties, so too does every human institution possess a breaking point. Once reached, no tradition, no social contract, no government, can prevail in the face of indignation and anger.

We are concerned that appeals to redress wrongs, petitions to rectify injustices, calls for responsibility, accountability, and justice to prevail, have been ignored so continuously and so contemptuously, that our society is reaching a breaking point. The Constitutional Order is breaking down; its every mechanism has been tainted, its every operation compromised. Presiding over this state of affairs is an administration deaf to the public’s clamor for accountability, blind to the widening fractures within society and in every public institution, and mute in the face of the public’s insistence that government respond to its needs.

A country, a people, a society in such a state cannot long endure without some sort of deviation from the existing social contract. Our people are becoming radicalized. Our institutions, in such a perilous state, seem incapable of remaining relevant or deserving of their authority.

The Black And White Movement places responsibility for this state of affairs squarely at the feet of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her officials, who are obsessed with survival at all costs, and whose concern over the crumbling of our society and state extends only to an attempt to craft a new social contract for itself, by itself, and with itself, to the exclusion of all others. She is closing off all avenues to peacefully, and rationally, resolving a crisis of her own making. She is subjecting civilians and soldiers alike to an untenable choice: to abandon their liberties, surrender their rights, abandon their consciences, so that she may remain in power. No people can long endure, or accept, such a choice. She is hastening the day of reckoning, one in which the pent-up frustrations and resentments of a people must be painfully felt.

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