I dismissed my irritation and decided to leave it at that. For the next few days, all I heard on the news and all I saw on my feed are common sentiments of disapproval regarding the INC's highly disruptive demonstrations resulting in hundreds (if not thousands) of disgruntled motorists along the city's major thoroughfares (mainly EDSA) and even posts on UPManila's public grievance page (UPM Files) describing how the demonstrations at Faura were enough to cause class suspensions! Which surprised me a great deal given that as a UPM alumna myself, class suspensions were a rare occurrence in UPM. Bumaha, bumagyo, MAY PASOK. What's worse is that I realized how even the Philippine General Hospital's out-patient department must have also been affected since it's located right across the DOJ!
Okay, I said to myself. Everyone's already arguing about this. Don't add more fuel to the flame. I was content to do just that when I realized that as an Iskolar ng Bayan, I shouldn't keep mum about an issue that affects the country... and not just because some people caused heavy traffic along EDSA.
In a nutshell, the INC is protesting the government's role in the prosecution of some of it's leaders. They cry for a separation of Church and State which is well within their rights. But the thing is, what they're protesting and asking for is way beyond just the separation of Church and State. Basically, what they are demanding from Sec. De Lima is to somehow absolve their leaders from legal action against them. That is NOT what the separation of Church and State is about. What they are doing is essentially a bunch of intimidation tactics to force Sec. De Lima and anyone else holding position in the government to butt out of their issues. Which is wrong on soooo many levels. The fact is: being a part of a religious sect DOES NOT make anyone above the jurisdiction of the law. I commend Sec. De Lima for standing her ground on this issue and upholding the law of the land.
Forget the issues about the garbage dumped along the streets of Manila. Heck, forget about even the horrible traffic situation along EDSA. What matters here is that these people occupying the city's streets are fighting and clamouring for something they do not fully understand, led on by manipulative leaders who prey on their constituents' blind faith.
One of my Facebook friends posted something that I think would end all arguments: [non-verbatim] YOUR RIGHTS END WHEN YOU START TO IMPINGE ON SOMEBODY ELSE'S. It's the INC's right to speak up and let their voice be heard, there's no question about that. But what makes this situation so backwards is that they do it so that their leaders may be safe from the legal ramifications of their actions. This is unconstitutional in the sense that there is a RIGHT TO EQUALITY. Every constituent of this country is subject to its justice system, bar none. By asking the government to drop the charges against their leaders and let them handle their issues internally, the INC is fundamentally stepping on every Filipino citizen's basic HUMAN right.
Article Six of the UN Declaration of Human Rights says:
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Simply, all it implies is that if you've done NOTHING wrong, (whatever your race, religion, gender, beliefs, or alliances may be), then you have nothing to fear from the law. BUT if you have been accused of defying the laws that govern this nation, then (whatever your race, religion, gender, beliefs, or alliances may be) then you are also subject to the country's justice system.