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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Filipino Public Official Who Is Honest

I am sharing with you this touching and timely speech by our childhood friend Marc Reyes, during the Necrological Service for the late Gen. Angelo Reyes. My family was there at the wake, and my sister said this was the most tearful thing she had ever heard and seen. I found it brave that instead of deriding or attacking those who hurt them, Marc instead chose to highlight and stress on the travails of a Filipino public official. And I quote, "The honest Filipino public official will always find himself ALONE in many situations, because the environment he’s in is kinder to those who will just go with the flow." Why? – precisely because this system does not nurture integrity, or moral uprightness. Sad and true.



My name is Marc Reyes, son of Angelo Tomas Reyes, and I speak on behalf on my family: my mom, Tessie; my brothers Bogie, Jett, Carlo and Judd; our respective wives and children; our Uncle Lito, my dad’s brother.

Thank you very much to those who spoke before me.  Thank you for the kind words that you’ve shared about our father. Thank you for sharing your truths about Angelo Reyes.

The sheer magnitude of what we face tomorrow at his burial – and what my family will still have to face for the next few months – is pressing on me right now, and I stand before you all tonight, a son who just lost his father.  I will not wish the pain and anguish that our family has experienced on anyone.

The enormity and mystery of his final decision will slowly reveal itself to us in the coming days, and God knows we will need each other’s memories of Papa to survive the coming months.

However, this evening, I will not enumerate the achievements of Angelo Tomas Reyes – his achievements as a general, as a secretary, as a father, a brother, a husband, or friend.  I have the rest of my earthly life to do that – in private – with my wife and children, with my siblings and my mother, and with friends who knew and loved him like I did.

This evening, I will tell you about the story of the Filipino public official who is honest.  I am certain that there are many – just as I am sure there are many who are not.  The honest Filipino public official tries to do his work, shares his expertise in an environment that is, more often than not, harsh to him.  The honest Filipino public official will always find himself ALONE in many situations, because the environment he’s in is kinder to those who will just go with the flow.

The honest Filipino public official can only do so much. He can only swim upstream so high, if the tide is unkind to him. He stays low on the river bend, if the powerful direction of the tide overwhelms all of his muscles – muscles that were primed for attempts at good governance.

The Filipino public official who is honest – is NOT perfect. He knows this. He tries to work around his imperfection. He will be torn, often between priority after priority. But ultimately, he will have to DECIDE.

The honest Filipino public official is AWARE that the SYSTEM he is in is FLAWED.  And yet the honest Filipino public official STILL TRIES and NEVER LOSES FAITH.  Sometimes he succeeds – but for as long as the rest of the elements do not allow him to succeed, he won’t.  Often times he hasn’t – precisely because this system does not nurture integrity, or moral uprightness.

While the Filipino public official who is honest does not lay sole blame on the system, he also finds himself in a position to either FIGHT or FLEE.  Sometimes he decides to bolt all together; often times he decides to STAY AND FIGHT.  But no one will disagree that the Filipino public official who is honest TRIES.  And ONLY IF more people in the system will nurture HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND HONOR – only then will the honest Filipino public official succeed.

Again, on behalf of my bereaved family – thank you, all of you who are here tonight. Thank you for taking the time to listen to us. And contradictory as this may sound, thank you to those who respected our privacy and left us alone.

My name is Marc and I am proudly the son of the Honorable Angelo Tomas Reyes.

Response of the Reyes Family to the eulogies. Delivered by Marc Reyes during the Necrological Service on February 12, 2011.

9 comments:

babyjourney said...

Before his death, i was vaguely aware of who Angelo Reyes was. I do not know Marc Reyes but I can relate to anyone who have lost their father. I admire him for being strong and not trying to defend his father because maybe he thinks it is futile at this point. What he is doing greatly reflects on what kind of person his dad really was. I think that it is the best thing that he can do to honor his father. Many people will have opinions on what really happened but the important learnings and memories that they have of their dads will always be what will stay with them :)

fashioneggpplant said...

their family really is in a difficult situation right now. it really hurts when you're mourning for your lolo/dad while the rest of the country is busy chastising him. guilty or not guilty, he was part of a family too...

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Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the lost of their father. But I am also sorry for the Philippines - if this is indeed the kind of "honesty" its public officials subscribe to.

CHRISTINE DYCHIAO said...

@babyjourney I wholeheartedly agree with you =)

@fashioneggplant Yes, it is doubly painful to be in their situation.

@Anonymous Sadly, this is the best that a well-meaning public official can do. Our culture really does make it hard for honesty and integrity to thrive. Filipinos exalt slick tongued politicians, actors who can work up a crowd, the media just laps up these outrageous, headline grabbing quotes and quips. Anything for entertainment and shock value. No one wants to do the serious work. And why would they when they can get pogi points grandstanding and being rude to the powerless? As Marc says, the system is kinder to those who will go with the flow. Because if you rock the boat, you're a killjoy.

laughing.gams said...

We are entitled to our opinions. Regardless of what has been said and done, I haven't lost my respect for the late General. Among all that has been written and said; it was Reyes's apologetic tone towards his sons before he took his last breath, that strucked me. Suicuide much as it is a taboo, may have been (unfortunately) the BEST option available for him. I may not know the general personally, but here is what I've painted of him out of his own words ..lifted as written on Malou Mangahas' article:

"I did not invent corruption. I walked into it. Perhaps my first fault was in having accepted aspects of it as a fact of life."

-Indeed, I believe it wasn't comfortable nor easy for him to just let these things happen. But it is hard for one person to change systemic faults in just a flick of a hand. I challenge those who questioned why he let it happened to put their shoes in his position, they'll realize its EASIER SAID THAN DONE.

“Wala akong lakas na labanan ito (I have no power to fight this).”
- Caught in a dilemma. Damn if you do damn if you don't. Let's say he chosed to speak what he knows, but that would imperil his life and his family. Being retired and just a private citizen, he is very vulnerable. And I understand that he'll only want what is for the BEST interest of his family (even if it meant that he may need to take his own life.) He didn't just take his life..this made me look at suicuide as no longer just a taboo, but rather can be a great SELF-LESS ACT.

"I want to assure the (PMA) cadet corps, current and future, that there are plenty of military professionals who have served and will continue to serve the country well. Do not be disheartened by this turn of events. Yours is a noble profession (of arms), and you should feel no shame. I have tried to live with integrity, loyalty, and courage."
- Now this attests again to his self-lessness, not only that he loves his family he loved AFP. He didn't want the others be demoralized, thinking they may not be able to bear what is REALLY going on.

" I could have deserted GMA, but I did not want to be branded as someone who abandoned his superiors…”
- Indeed a true soldier, who would never abandon his superior. This line also resonated to me in a way I could feel he felt alone or abandoned.

now I rest my case, enough said..

CHRISTINE DYCHIAO said...

Thank you laughing.gams, you have said it well. You are rare in that you have gone beyond mass hysterics to form your own opinion. I totally agree that no one can judge a person until they have walked in his shoes. Sad that some of the detractors are people who do not know them personally and yet act as if they have been privy to all. Most people only bow to popular opinion thinking that there is righteousness in numbers.

AGN said...

It is easy to say that he is a hero now that he committed suicide. But, in my opinion, anyone who commits corruption should be punished. What can his family say about the millions that his father enjoyed and they too undoubtedly enjoyed. It is faulty reasoning to say that it is hard to change the system that has been there for so long.

WALA AKONG LAKAS LABANAN ITO--- That just means how coward he is. He did not do anything about it. He went with the flow. What kind of person is that?! HE enjoyed all the perks that his job has to offer. I have no respect for him. Wala akong lakas labanan ito-- Yes, wala kang lakas kasi sumama ka rin sa mga corrupt.

It just irates me that he is regarded by some as as hero. What a crap.

I have been trained in the UP COllege of MEdicine and I must say that if all the millions that all the government officials used for their own pleasure went into the PGH funds, our charity hospital with all the best doctors wouldn't be so kawawa.

"I did not invent corruption. I walked into it. Perhaps my first fault was in having accepted aspects of it as a fact of life."---> PErhaps is the wrong word. It is your fault. And if only you did not commit suicide, then the courts could have tried you.

I say investigate the family as well.

Anonymous said...

yeah, and i can't believe people are lauding Rabusa, the whistleblower... if people only knew this man owns a mansion with an elevator plus numerous other properties other people's names... they should investigate all the treasurer/ comptrollers instead of have them testify on their bosses... that just makes him the biggest hypocrite of all

Anonymous said...

Dude NILAGLAG siya and its hard to run to others for help as he was known to have been involved with the past administration. Walang lakas... it doesn't mean HE WAS A COWARD..he WAS JUST RATIONAL..again had he tried to ROCK THE BOAT ...i agree withlaughing.gams its EASIER SAID THAN DONE. I don't think ANYONE IS IN THE POSITION TO JUDGE what the others has done..as THEY WERE NOT IN THE SAME POSITION AS OTHERS..SO SAY LETS RESPECT WHAT THEY'VE DECIDED TO DO. and HOW DARE YOU conclude he is already CORRUPT?! fyi MAY KINABAHAN NA AKALA KAKANTA SIYA KASI SI NGA WALA SILANG MAISUSUMBAT SA GENERAL COZ HE DIDNT TOOK A SINGLE CENTAVO... AGAIN ITS HARD IN a SOCIETY THAT DOESN'T CULTIVATE INTEGRITY AND MORAL UPRIGHTNESS *PS my use of UPPER CASES doesn't intend to SHOUT but rather to put emphasis.. :D cheers~ what he did was go for a win win situation..and i think had he spoken to testify against whoever.. the consequences wouldn't be fair to his family... wala silang kinalaman I think being a PATRIARCH he ONLY WANTS THE BEST FOR HIS FAMILY..at alam niya MADADAMAY AT MADADAMAY SILA SO TO SAVE THEM FROM DANGER..or any THREAT whatsoever..hence he just killed himself..madaling sabihin para sa iyo..I could sense you have no family or any at STAKE kaya MADALI MO NASABI YAN.. iba na pag PAMILYADO.. you wouldn't easily take any risks.. again NO ONE IS IN THE POSITION TO ASSUME NOR CONCLUDE THE LATE GENERAL IS INDEED GUILTY.. mag OUIJA board pa tayo.. and go AHEAD INVESTIGATE THE FAMILY.. *good night good vibes... kakainis lang nagconclude/assume kaagad eh.. WAG NAMAN SANA GANUN..again I RESPECTED your decision..I just need to air this.. so kindly RESPECT it as well...again tama na PAMUMULITIKA LETS MOVE ON..(from the general's death atleast) ☺

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