“In times of deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

– George Orwell

***

FOR ALL his stars and war medals, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon knows that obedience, despite its myopic underpinnings, is still better than retiring in career limbo.

Such is Esperon’s loyalty to the rust-stiffened chain of command that he has nonchalantly exhumed the treacherous carcass of Executive Order 464–the Palace ruling that bars Cabinet members and other executive offices from appearing in Congressional hearings—in order to apparently conceal what the Filipino people should know about the unadulterated truths behind the Medusa-headed depredations that hound the Arroyo government to date.

Political killings, electoral fraud and corruption are the burning issues that ought to be doused with facts ironically covered up nowadays by executive officials and military officers, who unabashedly hide themselves behind a presidential order of doubtful validity.

In a June 10 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Esperon invoked the “rule of law and procedures.” He stressed that “under existing rules, the questions to be asked by lawmakers conducting the inquiry would have to be submitted early on to the executive branch.”

If this is the case, then how can the Senate and the Filipino people be so sure that what will come out of Esperon’s mouth is not “sanitized” information? What if the President resorts to squid tactics?

If ever the AFP’s self-styled “godmother” (who supposedly married herself to a country that has been yearning for divorce two years ago) really knows what is best for her boys, then she should realize that EO 464 has no basis in the regime of transparency that ought to characterize political and military behavior.

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The Senate is constitutionally mandated to inquire into issues and events affecting the country.

The bottomline is that if Esperon and her commander-in-chief sincerely believe that they have no hand in political killings, electoral racketeering and corruption, then they should not be afraid of even washing their dirty political linen in public. The Senate wash basin will do them good.

Remember what the former Intelligence chief, Gen. Victor Corpus told the media at the height of the Oakwood incident in 2003: “When the queen is in trouble, the knight should sacrifice.” General Esperon should make the sacrifice of convincing his commander-in-chief that EO 464 is an anachronism in public affairs. The legislative forum after all is so mandated by law to act within the principle of check-and-balance.

And if ever Esperon finally appears before the Senate, he should drop the pretension that he is doing so only to safeguard “our common interest.” In a roundabout manner, he should do so not just to observe the chain of command, but more appropriately to submit himself before its moral trappings.

Moral integrity is not the better half of blind obedience.

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