Desperately trying to find another gear to shift to, I have finally decided that, because of the GCQ or General Community Quarantine, I now had a valid reason to finally venture out of the house. Although a senior, and thus labeled as belonging to the “vulnerable” segment of society, I concluded that my weekly article contributions to the Mindanao Times qualified as some form of employment, thus meritting for me a valid reason to go out during the now-relaxed quarantine, get some meds and some cash for the house expenses. At least, that was how I interpreted this recent GCQ.
Little did I know that in reality, several interpretations exist, and what’s worse, some of these even come out from law enforcers themselves. While admittedly, my own interpretation of the law proved to be a mistake on my part, a validation of this should have at least come from those who were tasked by law to enforce it.
A case in point. In order for me to do my errand, I had to endure three checkpoints, which of course greatly impressed me more than they daunted me. However, each one, to my surprise, had different levels of leniency, with the first one, manned by the barangay, just employing token checking (and therefore a little explanation on my part), up to the third and last, manned by stoic soldiers, which was super strict-o, complete with disinfectant, a footbath, and then a line of questioning that was just short of lie detector testing.
I ran the gauntlet with these choke points, so to speak, but when it finally came to claiming my money, I was told that I needed to first go and secure a barangay clearance before anything else. I tried to insist that this had not been mentioned in the guidelines of GCQ but to no avail.
In the whole mid-hour of trying to argue my case with the blue guard (those usual suspects at overzealous misinterpretations of rules and regulations), I grudgingly realized that the remaining lifeline, the one of phone-a-friend was my only recourse. At the other end, my partner simply offered that because she had a valid pass, she would accompany me the next day, and this seemed to magically appease the supposed implementor of the law in this little corner of his world, and we all left it at that. The next day, he hesitantly gave in, claiming that he was willing to “bend” the law this time, but next time, he insisted that I get that barangay clearance! At first, I thought I should thank him for being so considerate, but felt the opposite. We have acceded to all requirements, it was legally my money, what else was there?
In hindsight, I am reminded of this saying in the legal realm, Dura Lex, Sed Lex which means, The law is hard but it is still the law. It excuses no one. Then, I also remembered during the old and ancient days of us seniors, there used to be a popular brand of supposedly unbreakable glass bowls that had aptly been called Duralex. One day in my college days, I happened to drop the dang bowl and it instantly shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. Now, if that bowl had been the law, I guess that would explain the thousand and one interpretations scattered across our kitchen floor.
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