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Testing the limits of freedom.

The burning issues that have occupied our minds for the last three to four weeks revolve around the subject of "coups" and "rebellion," on one hand, and "court trials" and "amnesty," on the other. We really are a unique country.

"Kudeta," as we spell it in Filipino, is a subject casually discussed over coffee. This is either a boon or bane to us as a nation.

Major coups or cases of rebellion of note are those staged by now Senator Gringo Honasan during the time of former President Cory Aquino, and the other was what's called a mutiny co-led by now Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. A brief narration of this alone tells a story that makes heroes out of leaders of failed coup attempts.

In many other countries, leaders of failed coup misadventures are now rewarded, but are either behind bars or something worse. We have nothing against Senators Honasan and Trillanes, but leading a rebellion or a mutiny should not be exemplars for our younger leaders who need models in their pathway toward a future leadership position in any country.

In times past, our senators have followed a career of public service, well educated in law or humanitarian profession, and established a series of involvements and engagements in society ndash strengthening institutions, deepening the roots of democracy, and leaving a legacy of serving our people. These are my thoughts as I reflect on President Duterte's action nullifying the amnesty granted to Senator Trillanes, on the ostensible reason that his application for amnesty cannot be found, and therefore there is no record of his remorse over his "misadventure.

" As I write this column, Senator Trillanes is back to the comfort and warmth of his home, after he posted bail to avoid arrest on the basis of a warrant issued by the court. Another case was filed against him, and the second court, will hear the case in a few days.

However way these cases will be resolved, our country must move on. So let's take pause and reflect on these issues.

I list three serious questions.First, let's stop treating coups and mutinies so casually.

Those who take up arms against a duly constituted authority must be ready to face the full penalty of such a very serious and damaging act against society. In times past, they were asked to do a hundred push-ups.

Or they spent a brief time in jail. Let's get serious about these failed coup attempts.

Second, consider the socio-economic damage done by these rebellions. When the "mutineers" occupied Oakwood in Makati, all the banks within a wide radius in the country's financial capital were closed.

All productive industrial and commercial activities stopped. Billions of pesos were lost, thousands of employees didn't get paid, poor families did not get their three square meals a day.

Crime, like mutiny, does not pay. Third, let's reflect on the signals we are sending and the legacy we our leaving our young generation of civilians and military personnel.

Should our civilian youths accept this as a matter of reality, and should, therefore, gird themselves up for an impending coup? Should our young soldiers be trained that their loyalty to the duly constituted authority end when they become disillusioned with the sitting president? This will happen when we treat coups lightly. Come to think of it.

The revocation of Senator Trillanes' amnesty gives us pause. Some ascribe some bad motivations to the President's decision to nullify such amnesty.

Some ascribe the same uncharitable comments to the initiative of Solicitor General Jose Calida to do some research on the Senator's amnesty grant ndash and thus prompted the Justice Secretary to take action. And yet, for once let's take a second look at the consequent thoughts and reflections the Presidential act has triggered.

President Duterte and SolGen Calida may have done something good, because they have caught the attention of well-meaning citizens to ask hard questions about why we take coup attempts and rebellion so lightly. There have been divisive issues that came about, like the quo warranto case brought against the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

A good many people sympathized with CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno, considering her a hero. But truth to tell, it was neither the President nor the SolGen who made the decision to unseat her.

It was her colleagues in the High Tribunal. There may be other cases some may raise for or against the President, the SolGen and the Justice Secretary.

But, on the shoulders of these men fall the task of statecraft, the duty of preserving one nation, and the task of building a common future. The answers don't come in black and white.

Many answers and solutions emerge in shades of gray. Those tasked with governance must be given a chance to prove the wisdom of their decisions.

It doesn't mean, though, that we keep quiet as citizens and members of the Fourth Estate like me. Let's use the democratic space that we enjoy to keep the dialogue between the governor and the governed.

Let's test the limits of our freedom. Meanwhile, let's get serious about the legacy we are leaving our youth.

Should the path to the nation's leadership be the trail of rebellion or mutiny, or be a tried and tested path in public service? I will stick to the time-tested pathway. Tenor RamonAcoymowill give a concert to help celebrate the UP College of Education Centennial at the Benitez Hall (College of Education) Benitez Auditorium at 6:30 p.

m. on Thursday, Oct.

18. He will be assisted at the piano by Prof. Augusto Espino.

"Montet," as the tenor is fondly called ndash and his pianist ndash are both UP Chancellor's Awardees as "Most Outstanding Classical Musicians" of UP Diliman. Montet is currently firming up a trip to give two voice and singing seminars-workshops-lectures in Vientiane, Laos for the Philippine embassy there in December.

He has delivered the same outreaches more recently in Thailand and Cambodia. The concert repertoire will feature Sacred Music, Opera and Music Theater Arias and Songs and Art Songs in various Philippine and European languages and English a number of them are set to poetry and texts by such literary greats as William Shakespeare, Jose Garcia Villa ("Doveglion") and Francisco Arcellana (Philippine National Artist for Literature).

Ticket donation inquiries may also may made from Norma at 0927-317- 6902. The main sponsor of the Oct. 18 performance is the UP College of Education Alumni Association.

Proceeds shall benefit indigent scholars of the UP College of Education. Email: dominitorrevillas@gmail.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Oct 1, 2018
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