Category: angelo reyes

catharsis, cleansing, purge

i’ve been reading, hearing, the word “catharsis” since the general’s suicide and the prospect of continued senate investigations into corruption in the armed forces of the philippines.

The Garcia-Rabusa scandal … “should be a catharsis for  the entire society, not just military. The issue does not begin and  end with the military.” — Carolina Hernandez

Whatever it was, his (Rabusa’s) decision to testify on systemic corruption in the military has resulted in what many now say is a “catharsis” for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), long vilified as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. — Carlos Conde

“When all is said and done, the Armed Forces, as an institution, should come out of this reformed, better, a stronger institution. This is what we want. This will be like catharsis.” — Danny Lim

and on strictly politics from pia hontiveros, at one point in the same breath as “villification”, in a question to rabusa re the effects of a continued investigation  (correct me if i heard wrong).

naguluhan ako kasi in psychology, catharsis is a purely emotional thing, usually the relief of emotional tensions (brought on by inner conflicts) whether through psychotherapy or as audience to tragic drama.   but wait, it also means a purging, maybe that’s what they mean, maybe they’re taking it beyond the emotional into the political and systemic.   sana naman.

but let’s not use words that very few understand, let’s not use vague  esoteric terms, let’s call a spade a spade.   para malinaw what the goal is, let’s call it a purge, a cleansing, of the impure, the corrupt, the immoral in the armed forces.  then we have a better chance of success.

Political Suicide

Ben Kritz

… Far from sending any sort of message, a suicide leaves layers upon layers of questions, particularly so when the “victim” is a public figure whose action is intimately related in one way or another to the business of The People. As Benign0 asked a few days ago:

“Who are we to judge Angelo Reyes? Who are we to presume to judge the circumstances of his death — an apparent suicide as the Media reports say? And if indeed, Reyes killed himself do we really believe that the state of his mind moments before his death could ever be knowable?”

Indeed, it can’t be; the person who takes his own life must be in a very dark place, a place that means something, but means something to him and him alone. Sometimes the motivation, or rather an aspect of it, is circumstantially apparent; Budd Dwyer, for example, could save his pension and insurance for his family (and the huge legal bills he had incurred) by dying in office. But he never gave that reason, and the reasons he did give made no sense to anyone, and maybe didn’t even make sense to him. And as much can be said of the clues Angelo Reyes left behind in his distraught ramblings to a few friends in his last days.

Any judgment of the suicide itself is pure speculation; it is as prejudicial to consider the dead man “honorable” for choosing to be that way as it is to characterize the suicide as an admission of guilt. Those are nothing more than characterizations of our own reactions to it, and not any sort of truth. The suicide takes the truth with him, and that’s what makes it an ultimately selfish act. Whether there is honor or shame in the act, however, is a matter of sentiment; taboos, after all, are relative. In the end, that is the real tragedy of suicide: that so deliberate an act changes so little.

spinning suicide

Until the end, he was an officer, a gentleman. He did not betray anyone, he did not squeal.

libingan ng mga bayani?   full military honors?   what message are we sending here?   what disgraceful pattern are we setting?

there is nothing honourable about the general’s suicide, except of course to the family and friends and institutions he spared from investigation and incrimination.

while suicide may be an act of courage — it takes guts to kill oneself — it is also, in the context of corruption allegations, a cop-out, an escape from reality, an incapacity to do the right thing, a lack of moral fiber.

the right thing would have been to face the music, admit one’s culpabilities (if any), squeal on other wrongdoers (if any), and exonerate the innocent (if any), for the higher good, the good of the nation.

imagine if he and his wife, instead of ranting vs the whistleblowers, had bowed to the call of the times and told the truth, no matter how much it hurt, no matter that it would mean the end of a normal life, no matter the danger.

what a coup that would have been.   standing up for the truth.   a ninoy moment, an edsa moment, that the nation would have hailed extolled celebrated.   sayang.


napakalungkot para sa kanyang asawa at mga anak.   pero di ko makuhang malungkot para sa militar at administrasyon na pinagtakpan niya by taking his own life.   sana naglahad na muna siya, let the chips fall where they may.   then it would have been a noble death.