Known as the Brains of the Revolution, Apolinario Mabini's contribution to the Philippines as both writer and revolutionist perhaps finds its beginning in one of his bequeathals to his fellow Filipinos—El Verdadero Decalogo or The True Decalogue.

The 10-item decalogue comparable to the Ten Commandments was intended as a form of instruction for all Filipinos even after his death in 1903.

Commemorating Mabini's 150th birth anniversary, the Philippine PEN (Poets, Essayists, and Novelists) used his decalogue as an inspiration for its annual conference titled, "Writing, Writers, Moral Regeneration and National Renewal." It was held last December 2-3 at the Henry Sy Hall of the De La Salle University, Taft.

"Never stray from the path of righteousness and justice," was the conference theme, a quote from Mabini's work.

The Decalogue un-applied

Former Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist, Anna Maria "Bambi" Harper served as keynote speaker tackling what seems to be the naivety on the part of Mabini upon the writing of his decalogue. "Was Mabini truly that naive? Was Mabini that idealistic?" she asked. In her address, she discussed the decalogue point-by-point while continually questioning its application in the modern era. She notes one example as in the 7th comandment of the decalogue wherein Mabini implores the Filipinos to refuse to recognize the authority of any man who was not elected by the people. According to Harper, though there may be no proof, the results of Philippine elections always seem dubious and riddled with anomaly, what more is that our countrymen seem to treat these suspect "winners" on equal terms as one would treat real victors.

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"In effect," she added, "there appears to be no social stigma for being a cheat whether coming from media or society. Then we turn around and re-elect rapists and plunderers back into office."

Writing against corruption

In one of the forums, Rene Azurin, Pulse Asia founding president and a political science professor, was joined by former Philippine Star reporter turned blogger Raissa Robles in a discussion on the writer's role and responsibility in standing against corruption.

Azurin urged society to band together whenever the government attempts to exact any plot against its people.

Robles believes the new media plays a key role in reshaping the nation. She also noted how social media somehow ushered in a neo-propaganda movement within the middle class.

"The future of the Philippines will be shaped by the young Filipinos on the internet," she said.

Fighting corruption

This year's Jose Rizal Lecture was delivered by former Supreme Court Justice Adolf Azcuna. It was through Azcuna's efforts that the Philippine legal system adopted the Writ of Amparo first seen in the Mexican constitution.

With his experience in helping draft both the 1972 and 1987 constitutions, Azcuna championed the extensive understanding of the Philippine constitution in the fight against corruption and in the resurgency of national and moral renewal.

In his lecture, Azcuna reminded writers that the chronic problem of society could be solved by the law.

Azcuna reminded writers that the knowledge of their rights and the rights of others should be used to advance both the ideals enshrined in the constuitution and the dreams heroes like Mabini. Josef Brian M. Ramil with reports from Sarah Mae Jenna A. Ramos

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