The unrepentant and the unforgiving

By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 17,2022 - 08:00 AM

Before all else, let me say that someone I personally know told me that in their Caloocan City barangay, a former relocation area for informal settlers, forms are being offered for voters to fill out and sign to pledge support for a certain candidate for a national position. Those willing to sign are to open new ATM bank accounts and write down their account numbers on the forms. They are promised money to be deposited in those new accounts. The existing ATM accounts of 4Ps beneficiaries (those classified as indigents) who receive cash aid regularly from the government will not do.

So it must be true, as the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has said, that “digital vote-buying” could be going on. It cited “red flags” for banks to watch out for, that is, big deposits/withdrawals and use of multiple accounts by a single person to send funds (“Watch out for digital vote-buying, banks told,” 2/15/2022). And, it goes without saying, huge numbers of ATM accounts being opened and ready to receive remittances. Granted that banks report unusual volumes of transactions and suspicious cash flows, how exactly will AMLC stop the money from flowing? Vote-buying by “job hiring” could be another form to win over voters. Anything to let the money work.

* * *

I would like to vent what has long been simmering inside me. Must we uphold the unrepentant and judge the unforgiving?

I have noticed a silent, creeping reverse way of thinking being made to take over our consciousness. And that is, that it is not okay that one appears and strives to be clean and upright, as if sitting on a high horse. That it is self-righteous and hypocritical, pharisaical even, the manner of the educated and elitist. That it is cool to be with the garapal, scoundrels, keepers of ill-gotten wealth, and plunderers of this world because they have a special place in Jesus’ kingdom. Because didn’t the God Incarnate dine with thieves and tax collectors? Didn’t Jesus promise paradise to the thief that was crucified beside him? Oh, the repentant one, that is. Jesus said nothing to the other crucified thief that mocked him.

A silent tsunami is taking over our value system. Something is being reversed and revised little by little. Those who stand for the truth after having labored to find it, or have experienced the brutality and cruelty of it in their lives are to stand aside silently, play humble and shy so as not to be called hypocrites, holier-than-thou, unforgiving. Yeah, while evildoers strut about with impunity. As if to be upright earns you a badge of shame.

And now even those who had been convicted of high crimes like plunder, those who hold on to and are living off plundered wealth are being portrayed as underdogs that deserve forgiveness, understanding, and even people’s votes. That forgiving the unrepentant is the only way to go forward. That the onus is on the unforgiving while the unrepentant should enjoy his cake and eat it too.

It is said that forgiveness takes away the heavy load from a victim (of rape, budol-budol, estafa, violence, etc.), a way to sublimate and expunge the pain. Even while the guilty goes scot-free? That the victim, to show forgiveness, should reward the guilty by uniting with him and give him a vote of confidence? The truth be damned?

Of late, I noticed regular appearances on Facebook of vignettes with black-and-white photographs of survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust that saw the extermination of millions of Jews during World War II. These are about individual survivors of the Nazi-run concentration camps where gas chambers were installed to kill fast and as many. The stories of the survivors are not only about cruelty and suffering but also about hope in the midst of adversity. Saints, scientists, artists, great thinkers, and writers were among those who survived to let us know.

Their stories are not tearjerkers meant for bleeding hearts but are the blazing TRUTH to counter those that aim to deny and obliterate it. For those who cannot visit the Holocaust memorial in Israel, there are ways to learn.

In our case, there are books to read and documentaries/movies to watch. There is the Freedom Memorial Museum that is soon to rise. It is dedicated to those who perished during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship and to those who survived with scars and the will to keep the truth alive. My archival materials will be donated there.

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TAGS: AMLC, Anti-Money Laundering Council
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