“War Freak!” — I can still hear my classmate calling me when we were first year Highschool. Born in the land of “balisong” with “kapeng barako” (caffeine!) as soup to my rice in the morning; surrounded by people who speak like they are shouting, and having relatives whose past time may be arguing with one another from opposite sides of the street (!), that call may not be too remote from the truth. I spoke my mind, and with a hard “batanguena” accent, people who don’t really know me will think I’m picking a fight.

Indeed, in my younger years I can easily be fighting with someone. I would fight with my words, I would fight with my (permanently) raised eyebrows, and I would be ready to fight with my hands, if necessary.. Even if I don’t really know any martial arts. If there was a contest for the toughest “hair puller” in a game of “sabunutan”, my brother will attest I will emerge as winner (it’s in the wrist and the twist of the fingers.. HIYAA!).

But over the years God taught me that my hurtful tactless words, my stare daggers (even with with my small eyes), my skilled hands (in pulling hair!) hurt me (and hurt Him!) more than the enemy. They are fuel to a fire. They do not resolve conflicts but set up the stage for endless ones. A battle to the death– death of peace, joy, comfort (from the Holy Spirit!), harmony. Exchanging pride for all these is simply not wise.

But fighting (bickering!) is all around us nowadays. Filipino leaders and citizens (!) who should be One are arming themselves with weapons that divide the nation. And they fight in various ways to attain their Own end (!).

When President Duterte said he will end the problem of Drugs in 3-6 months. Many, if not all, were skeptic. Intellectuals definitely could not comprehend, and maybe now they understand. The weapon they have in mind to end criminality is the rule of law, but the president had something else in his pocket. The one he is adept at using. The one that made a difference in Davao. This is a weapon that cost the lives of many who were adjudged guilty by the word of men considered reliable and assumed clean. This was the shocking alternative to the exhausting, long, tedious, frustrating likewise-fallible, and nothing-but-imperfect (criminals enjoying their stay in prison!!) Process of Law that even criminals use to their end (!!!). (Avid Duterte followers will say– “can you blame him?”)

Different weapons exist in society today. And these are not the guns, or “icepick”, nuclear weapons, or atomic bombs which have drastic, horrendous, unacceptable finality. And because justifying these conventional weapons rocks the moral foundations of humanity and subscribing to them lead to major opposition and guilt (!!); i.e. if one is actually human-in-God’s-likeness, many arm themselves with other tools. They use LAW, MEDIA, and MONEY  many times to achieve a self-serving end, instead of the good these entities were created for.

The LAW – those who are knowledgeable of the law use it as armament to their goal. How else have we branded lawyers in so many ways to point out that they use the law for ultimate gain and not necessarily to uphold what is moral and just. It is the main weapon of the intellectual and the rich. Sad to say, it is likewise a weapon of the astute criminal. How else will someone think of a blockbuster series called “How to get away with murder?” But the Law can be used for good– to prosecute the guilty and defend the cause of the poor.

MEDIA- one of the most powerful ones I believe: Death or Victory by publicity!! It can incite people or calm them down. It can create chaos, or peace. But the truth will always be found out (no matter how long it takes!). What else is a media blackout for? What else is choosing the news for? More or less it reflects the bias and the benefit that the station or reporter gets for highlighting a report. The question then is what one considers as benefit– Ratings? Support from a group or a politician? Gratitude of a Kapamilya or Kapuso? Money (oh please no!)? Popularity? Or The GOOD (I pray! I hope! Oh please!) of the audience and our countrymen? The media can be used to sow seeds of wisdom and courage, to stand up for and cooperate with what is moral and good (regardless of the faction advocating it!); and this, not just for the viewers but the Leaders themselves (!).

MONEY- what can I say? It’s lack has been the reason the indigent are lured to the Bad (the dark side!). Probably the main reason for pushing drugs, and sometimes just to afford the basic necessities.  I believe it is the reason the current president has been elected. Many want to change ways; and our leader held the promise of provision. After all he is not greedy for money like most in office. But many victims are victimized further.  GREED (!) for money is the weapon of the organized criminals and dubious government contractors to make ally of authorities in the Government (corruption!). And money is the weapon corrupt employees and officials likewise use against the working force and businesses of this country to aquire more (Money!) for themselves (bribe and blackmail!!). But Money can be used to finance housing, health, education and jobs (!) for the indigent, uneducated, and helpless citizens of our country.

Words, Discourse, Pages of the constitution.. News, Pictures, videos.. Protests, complaints, commentaries.. Bare hands, guns, knife, grenade… Haughty eyes, flared noses, pursed lips.. Silence, shouting, music.. Pen, Internet, painting.. Emotion.. Logic.. We use the Weapon we are comfortable with, accustomed to, and are best in using (!). What is you Weapon of Choice? And for what end?

For a Believer, whose side you are on matters as much, if not more, than the Weapon you choose. Whose side one is on actually dictates what weapon one will use. And there are only two sides: God’s and the World’s. Do you show love, patience, kindness, and goodness? Are you bringing peace and joy to people? Do you have self-control? Are you Faithful (not Your word, but to the Word of God!)? In WINNING, whose side you are on matters as much, if not more, than the Weapon you choose. Victory is Only Possible with God.

They said my Highschool classmate vowed to make every girl cry when we were in first year HS. But he could not draw any tear from me that time. Nowadays, he would be rejoicing if he was still the same guy he was before (definitely he has matured and one of the most successful classmates I had). Because now, tears are what become of my initial urge to fight back; and my hands are my initial weapon as they fold in Prayer. And this, to uphold the Will of God. We are to love others as we love ourselves. We have to love Him above anything (pride! money! popularity!) or anyone (even the one you elected in office– but No I was not able to vote last election- shame on me!). A wrong situation (crime) even for a right end (peace!) can never be corrected by a wrong solution (offensive killings); and this, based on the moral law of God.


P.S. (Pahabol Ninang?)
And to the highest ruler of our land, no one can hold you accountable if 3-6 months are not enough to battle crime (and drugs!) in this nation. Batman and superman can’t solve criminality that fast! First world presidents can’t!! Surrender the pride sir. And WIN (!) by CHOOSing the Right (moral!) WEAPONs!!

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:17-18)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13)

– Ninang thoughts for self and nation

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