Letter to the Editor: GMA right in saving life of de la Cruz

Opinion & Analysis Aug 1, 2004 at 10:58 am

Dear Editor,

I’m sure we will hear no end to the debate whether President Arroyo is justified in withdrawing our troops from Iraq much to the consternation of the rest of the coalition. But here’s my two cents worth:

President Gloria Arroyo acted with the best interest of the Filipino people foremost in her mind. Let’s face it. Among the coalition menbers, the Philippines is the most vulnerable to this kind of threat. There are 4,000 Filipino workers in Iraq. If she insisted on resisting the militants, as the U.S. and Australia demanded, dela Cruz would surely have been beheaded. Then what next? Another Filipino will be kidnapped and beheaded, and then another one, until all 4,000 are dead? Will the Americans and the Australians guarantee the safety of the 4,000 Filipinos? Hey, they could not even lift a finger to save two of their own countrymen (Berg and Johnson) from death.

For too long, the OFWs felt they have been neglected by the Philippine government. A case in point was the Contemplacion tragedy. The finger pointing that occured after she was executed in Singapore was so scandalous people were ready to hang the Philippine Ambassador. In the end the failure was that there was really no single act the government could have done to save Contemplacion after she was neglected for so long. This is a different case, one act alone, the withdrawal of the tiny Philippine contingent would do it. The hot potato surely landed squarely on the President’s lap. By not acting, dela Cruz’s death would have hung over her head, and possibly be used to oust her from power. Now with a single stroke, she had cemented her presidency. She had endeared herself to the people who had embraced dela Cruz as their hero representing by default the 8 million OFWs worldwide. Now they know they have a champion in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Don’t ever believe the rhetorics that it is wrong to award the terrorists. It depends on the situation. Pressed against the wall, there is no other way but to placate (not necessarily capitulate to) the militants. Israel is the foremost adherent to the above principle. But, Ariel Sharon, long hailed as the patron of settlers, thought little of it. Faced with the prospect of continued loss of lives he is now poised to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, and force the settlers out, which his opponents argue constitute awarding the terrorists.

Mrs. Arroyo is right. She should never regret saving one life, because in so doing she could very well have saved 4,000 others.

Manny Bade
Toronto