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Rough Cuts | Of fear and pushing people not to fear

“If you want to kick the tiger in his ass, you’d better have a plan for dealing with his teeth.”

This is a quote we got from the novel “The Teeth of the Tiger” by Tom Clancy.

We believe that the family of actress-singer Sharon Cuneta and husband opposition senator Kiko Pangilinan should have picked up some lessons from the quote if any one member of them has read the satisfying…chillingly plausible” Clancy novel.

Yes, last week-end we saw and heard reports over television that the popular actress-singer was seething with anger as she sought assistance from Justice Department Secretary Meynardo Guevarra to track down and arrest a netizen who, Cuneta claimed, posted a threatening remark against her daughter Frankie Pangilinan on Facebook.

The netizen’s post was a repartee from an earlier comment made by Frankie also posted on Facebook chastising a police unit in a Quezon Province municipal station short of saying in its wordings that women should dress themselves in a manner not inviting to men to commit a crime of rape.

The netizen’s comment-reaction was kind of saying that if he were 12 years old and he’d raped Cuneta’s daughter he’d still not go to prison. And she should heap the blame on her father for that.

The said comment could have been premised by the netizen on the fact that Frankie’s father, Senator Pangilinan, is the primary author of a law that has adjusted upward the youth’s age of criminal liability.

Just like any other mother who unconditionally loves their children, Cuneta felt that the netizen’s Facebook post is insinuating harm to her daughter. Thus, the singer-actress quickly used her “connection” with the DOJ secretary for the immediate identification and apprehension of the netizen.

We really do not have any idea whether the Cuneta-Pangilinan daughter was aware of the possible repercussions of her commentary. If she knew the consequences, then she should have her way of dealing with the possibility of other people not in accord with her idea.

In other words, she should have as part of her plan for dealing with the so-called “resbak,” prior consultations with her parents.

That way daughter Frankie could have been appropriately advised how to craft her commentary on the message posted on a streamer at a Quezon municipal police station.

She could have saved her mother Sharon the time and effort to seek assistance from the DOJ.

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Talking of fear, in last Sunday’s gospel expounded by Most Rev. Bishop Teodoro Bacani, DD, in a televised mass shown live on TV 5 and also heard simultaneously over Radio Veritas, the head of the Diocese of Novaliches strongly advocated to the people not to fear.

And the Novaliches bishop could not have been more right. The gospel last Sunday deals on Jesus’s instruction to his followers not to be afraid. But the good bishop went on to say that the people should not fear doing things if these are in defense for the right of their fellowmen.

He mentioned that this is the reason why the Church is not afraid in joining activities opposing the Anti-Terrorism Bill now ready for signing into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. According to Bacani’s homily the bill has some provisions that they believe are detrimental to human rights that the Church thinks may be used by the government to stifle opposition and stop arbitrarily any mass action against the incumbent officials of the country.

In emphasizing his advocacy of not fearing to express or do things against what they perceive as repression Bacani cited as an example a case mentioned in the first encyclical of the late Pope John Paul II who is now a saint.

According to Bacani, the late Pope’s encyclical mentioned the case of a protestant pastor whose family was arrested by soldiers of an invading army in Poland during the Second World War. The Pastor was tortured to the maximum.

Quoting the encyclical Bacani said the pastor was already extremely hurt and suffering from physical and mental abuse. Yet, the protestant church leader kept on praying to God. The torturer, Bacani said, asked the Pastor for whom his prayer was when his wife and other family members were already dead.

The Novaliches bishop and mass celebrant went on to say that the tortured protestant church leader answered his torturer’s question saying, “I am praying for you.” From that moment on, according to Bishop Bacani citing the late Pope’s encyclical, the torture slowly got lighter and eventually stopped. The pastor survived his incarceration and learned later that all his family members were alive.

Call it a miracle, the bishop said. But there was clearly an effect of the pastor’s prayer on his torturer soldier.

Unfortunately, we seem to believe that the Novaliches bishop did not “walk his talk.” Meaning, for us, he was advocating to the people not to fear to do things when it is for the defense of his fellowmen. His advocacy though did not include any urgent call to the people to pray for those who they think would bring them physical and mental torture.

We believe it is about time that the good bishop who is a known Duterte administration critic need to re-examine his position vis-à-vis his citation of the pastor’s case in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical.

Who knows, his prayer and those of the many others who claim they are fearing or suffering some forms of repression from the government will give the President the light that would lead his action to what Bishop Bacani and his fellow bill opponents so desire.

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