When Truth Can No Longer be Defined

man covering face with hands with "truth" printRegardless of the accusation hounding the alleged involvement of Angelo Reyes to AFP’s pabaon scandal and the public’s perception on how Angelo Reyes could be holding some “key” to many people involved in the corruption in the AFP, the emotional trauma that this incident has left to Reyes’ family and to anyone who’s close to them is unimaginable. No amount of condolence could replace the pain they might be feeling much less from a cause of death that’s abhorred by our culture.

So we hear Angelo Reyes’ son vehemently expressed disparage to all his father’s critics and hailed his father, telling and enthusiastically acclaiming him like a superstar. It’s understandable. I might do more than what he did had it happened to me.

Our emotions blind us from the truth

But we Filipinos were perhaps born with it. We easily forget and begin to lament every single minute we berate anyone when we factor in the welfare of the family or, even in Angelo Reyes’ case, death.

As in any other relationships and event in our lives, just how easy it is to forgive and forget and enjoy an apparent “closure” if we’re not served with truth. Truth truly set us free and its a springboard to closure. But what happens to Angelo Reyes further solidified the people’s quench for truth thereby adding more baggage to his family’s present misery.

I have to listen closely to Reyes’ son as he delivered his statement decrying just how insensitive people can get about his father’s death. He further glorified his father as someone opposite to what people think stating further that he [Reyes] was a great father, instrumental to the recent changes in Philippine democracy, and an “idol”. Suddenly, I felt a feeling of remorse not because I share the guilt of some of his father’s detractors but as a private person who criticizes the people involved in the scandal who now feel themselves victim of “trial by publicity.” But not all of us are spared from it, not from a country that is run and fed by a powerful, and sometimes abusive, media.

Fact vs. Self

Truth is fundamental ingredient to social justice. Who cares about what people think when we know the truth? As in the case of Reyes’ son, I wouldn’t mind lambasting the public and all my father’s detractors if I know exactly what the truth is. But the manner of his father’s death further fueled a raging Filipino who’s hungry for truth. It may have absolved his father and perhaps his family from this case but the search for truth will run its course and will haunt anyone who’s guilty of this mess. But truth has now lost its value and became completely relative. No pun intended but how would one know the truth if we condition and deny ourselves from it?

Case in point, my father once came home bringing me the money I need to join an out-of-town excursion in our school. Knowing that my father was jobless and sick during that time and practically penniless I knew exactly that the money didn’t come from him. I was skeptical but he was resolved to telling me that it was his money which he has been keeping for years. Of course I wasn’t convinced so I inundate him with questions until he gave in telling me that the money came from the proceeds of selling our treasured antique postal stamps which I thought was in a safe place because that’s everything we have left since the bank repossessed our old house.

Keep your mind off my personal family drama but on the point I was trying to make – that we only find truth when we’re interested in it. This statement I am going to make is not particularly intended to Reyes’ family but also to all those whose parents hold key positions in government service – with your loved one holding a salaried public office position with no guarantee of monetary bonus or a stake of winning the lotto everyday would it not confuse you just how your parent could afford to buy expensive houses here and abroad, send you to schools in a foreign land, and buy expensive vehicles when you know your father is not earning that much to afford them in the first place? But of course that’s an analogy and I wouldn’t discount a family who faithfully run their business in their plain hands with a humble capital.

The Filipino Challenges You

Going public and defending a father is moral but not beautiful in the eye of the cynics whose perception is impeded by Angelo Reyes’ suicide. Now the public remains skeptical and continues to ask the same question hurled over his father. Was he guilty? Was he protecting someone? Did guilt pushes him to the edge of his seat to commit the most horrible act a man can ever commit?

Death by suicide always reminds me of Pia Alba’s death, Maria Clara’s mother, in Noli Me Tangere. Pia probably died from shame.

Perhaps the public hasn’t fully saturated themselves with enough question to fill its hunger for justice. While the Reyes’ family deserves a quiet time to grieve for the death of their beloved father, I believe that our quest for truth must continue and let it run its true course. Doing so is important for it will not only bring justice to the Filipino people but also to the family of Reyes who were maligned by this scandal. Only then can we truly say that justice has already been served. Truth truly sets us free.

Meanwhile, let’s eavesdrop on what people are saying today about this issue.

Image credit to Lorrainemd