|Flag and doves detail. Bonifacio Memorial Shrine, Manila.|
We thought that Epifanio de los Santos's translation of Ang Bayan at ang mga Gobiernong Pinuno and Ang Gumawa from Liwanag at Dilim of Emilio Jacinto would make good reading while we wait for His Excellency President Benigno Aquino III to deliver the State of the Nation Address on the 365th day of his governance.
"Emilio Jacinto gave his people the Cartilla," EDS (1918) wrote, "founded an organ for the defence of the interests of the Katipunan, and, finally, wrote Liwanag at Dilim, in which he embodied, in the form of axioms and sentences, the moral, social, and governing principles by which the Society was to be ruled. And in order that it might be self-supporting, he wrote the Estatutos ... along economical lines."
Jacinto was, in today's parlance, the chief of staff of supremo Andres Bonifacio. "They were like brothers," Gregoria de Jesus said of her husband and the younger man.
"THE PEOPLE AND THE GOVERNMENT
"Now, when the aurora of liberty is beginning to appear and the path of true joy is the rule of the common effort until the desired goal is reached, the sons of the people must learn all those things which the subjection to Spain has prevented them from learning.
"It is important that they should know them, because they are like the flower that ripens into a fruit, and are what the wind is to the sail of the caravels that mark and point out the course of the peoples and the governments in order to make them true and permanent.
"When this is not the case, the right path is abandoned and the most beautiful project is but a histrionic exhibition and the most beautiful discourse traitorous suggestion.
"Oh, son of the people! remember the blood thou hast spilled and thy suffering and efforts in order that honor and right, which were downtrodden, might spring to new life. Consider them well, and thou wilt be sorry to have that right taken from thee again because of thy blindness and cowardice.
"Always bear in mind that with a new life come new customs.
"And, who can foretell? Perhaps ignorant and corrupt authorities may govern who will not desire thy welfare, but be lawless exploiters, who will dazzle thy eyes with the splendor of their power and with the attractive eloquence of their words. It is thy duty to be on guard, to sharpen thy intelligence, and to distinguish the good ruler from the bad, in order that thy efforts mav not miscarry.
"The people whom I address is not the local community, but that formed by the inhabitants of the whole earth.
"Nevertheless, in every community and society there is need of a head, of one who has power over the rest for direction and good example, and for the maintenance of unity among members and associates, and who will guide them to the desired goal, just as a vessel that is not guided by a skilful navigator runs the risk of losing its course and suffer dreadful shipwreck in mid-ocean, without hope of ever reaching the shores of the happy land of promise for which it was bound.
"This head is called the government, and he who is called upon to exercise its power, the governor.
"The object of all government is the people, and the security and welfare of the people must be the aim of all its laws and acts.
"For whatever may happen, the government is responsible. And its duties are to guide and lead the people to happiness. If it turns out badly and departs from the right path, it will be because it wanted to do so and because it was misled.
"And if one who sins against another is punished, what will be the punishment of him who sins against a whole people, an infinite multitude of his similars? And if the departure from the right path was due to ignorance on the part of the guide and ruler, why did he not allow, or make, another act as guide who knew the right path? Let us wipe out the habit of thinking that the ruler is the lord of the people and whatever he thinks and does is good. Let us accustom ourselves to thinking and saying that the happiness of all is the only duty of the ruler, in order that he may bear it in mind.
"I believe, and believe firmly, that the prosperity of a people lies with the people itself. A people that knows and esteems right and has as a rule of conduct kindness and dignity in all its acts, will not place itself at the mercy of any tyrant, nor submit to force and fraud, nor become the accomplice of the exalted and abominable prevaricator who rules on the heights of power.
"And as I believe in this, I call it to the attention of the sons of the people, because thus only will that custom be relegated to oblivion and no longer will we have said of us what Baltazar says in the following verses: 'While the perverse and traitors raise their arrogant heads, the good are ashamed and hang their heads.'
'Kaliluha't sama ang ulo'y nagtayo,
at ang kabaita'y kimi't nakayuko.'
"'We have already seen that we are all equal; that the power of the ruler was not given to him by nature, and that as a man he is on the same level as the rest. Hence all power, in order to be reasonable and genuine, must be exercised for the benefit of the people from which it emanated.
"Briefly, we must not recognize the superiority of the ruler as an attribute attached to him by nature. The obedience and respect due him are derived from the power conferred upon him by the people themselves, a power which is the integration of all the powers of the people.
"For this reason, he who obeys the power conferred by the people obeys the people and identifies himself with the will of all the citizens that compose the people, which identification or accord is necessary for the very life of the people.
"This alone will prevent abominable treason, now bankrupt, from again raising her head or posing as the hero or champion of the people and of liberty.
"Otherwise the people will not travel on the right path, and the people and its liberty will be overcome by lying invocations of these three magical names which are always pleasing to the ear.
"It is already an axiom that nobody can look out for a person as well as that person himself.
"And it is incumbent upon the people, if they wish to prevent their being held in contempt and enslaved, to be firm and to unmask and repel the disguised traitor.
"The tranquillity and prosperity of a community or society demand the existence of an intermediary high power, elected by the community, whose purpose It is to insure and insure unity among all the associates, which is the source of strength and vitality.
"From the highest official to the humblest citizen they must obey and comply with the laws that have emanated from this power created by the people and established by its representative, the Congress.
"But, alas! often the just and proper is relegated to the background and the excessive ambition for power, allied with the boundless ambition for gain, struggle to open the way for iniquity.
"The power of those who govern depends upon the love and esteem of the governed, and these are obtained only by a just and prudent conduct.
"Those make a great mistake who believe they can maintain their power by means of force and the gun: they are near-sighted and do not understand the lesson taught by terrible events recorded in History.
"Nobody is as good-hearted as he who is sincere and honest by disposition, yet at the same time nobody abominates like him abuses and violence and abject meekness.
"Those who govern constantly appeal to right and to the gratitude owing by the people. That is what they continually harp upon. But he on whose side is the right is the people, because he who governs owes duties to the people, namely, to work for its prosperity and execute its will. But, how many understand or wish to understand this truth?
"The welfare of the people, and nothing else, is the real reason and object, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, of all the duties of those who govern.
"But this same welfare often disappear and suffers when heartless petulance rises to power; when protection and right surrender to bribery and to servility towards the mighty.
"It is then that criminals reap their harvests and that presumptuous stupidity rises like the foam.
"The time is come for the wicked to change their ways and spontaneously to make reparation for their great errors. They resemble the chameleon that takes the color of the tree to which it clings.
"The most efficient lever against these evils is the education of the people and a change in their customs.
"The laws must therefore be obeyed and respected, as the expression of the popular will, and not the will of those who govern, as they are merely charged with carrying out those same laws.
"The ancient custom of considering the judge as above the law has serious consequences, because law and right are both undermined by it.
"This custom must, therefore, be abandoned and it must be proclaimed that the laws are above all human consideration, because they are the expression of the will of the people, and that if the judges desire to retain their positions, they must necessarily comply with the dictates of justice; otherwise they must be removed.
"The welfare of the people is the sole purpose of all the governments on earth. The people is all: blood and life, wealth and strength, all is of the people. The army raised for the defence of the lives of all is formed by the sons of the people; the wealth of the government comes from the sons of the people; the greatness and strength of the government are due to the loyalty and obedience of the sons of the people, and all that is useful to life, is the product of the industry of the sons of the people who till the fields, breed and keep the cattle, and make the things and utensils necessary for life.
"We have seen that the people, in order to exist and progress, need a head or government whom it is the duty of the people to grant, for its maintenance, subsidies or taxes which must be imposed and invested only with the manifest consent of the taxpayers.
"Work is a gift to humanity, because it awakens and gives vigor to intellectual power, will, and body, which are indispensable for progress in life. The sacred writings from which the Christian religion originated, narrate that work is a punishment imposed by God upon Adam, the father of the human race, for having tasted of the forbidden fruit, and this punishment has been inherited by us, his sons. But this legend is erroneous and contrary to the will of God, and from it springs the human error that work, being a punishment, is a corporal affliction looked upon like an unavoidable ailment.
"For this reason many are ashamed to work, principally the wealthy, the powerful, and the learned who make a vain show of that which they style the comforts of life or corporal well-being.
"And they finish in the mire, leading a miserable and abject life that tends to bring about the destruction of the human race.
"Whatever is useful, whatever tends to make life easier, that let us support because it is a result well worthy of our efforts.
"He who toils keeps away from a life of disorderly and bad habits and boredom, finds diversion in labor, and becomes strong, prosperous, and cheerful.
"Contemplating the so-called rich, great, and alleged wise men, we can see through their outward prosperity, social splendor, and happiness, and perceive wearisomeness, weakness, haughtiness, coupled with vicious habits, which are the source of the countless ailments that little by little destroy them.
"How much truth is there in what our Baltazar has sung in his verses 'Those who grow up 'midst the revelries of wealth, are devoid of judgment and kindness and lacking in counsel.'
'Ang laki sa layaw karaniwa'y hubad
sa bait at muni't sa hatol ay salat.'
"God wants us to work, because if we see ourselves surrounded with all we need and swim in abundance, it is the result of our efforts, hence, without doubt, work is neither punishment nor a penalty, but a reward and blessing bestowed by God upon man through the grace of his great love."
Santos Cristobal, Epifanio de los. (1918, June). Emilio Jacinto. The Philippine review (Revista Filipina). 3(6)412-429. Manila, P.I. Retrieved at http://name.umdl.umich.edu/acp0898.0003.001
Jesus, Gregoria de. (1930, June). Autobiography of Gregoria de Jesus. Leandro H. Fernandez, Tr. Philippine Magazine. 27(1):16-18,65-68. Retrieved from http://name.umdl.umich.edu/acd5869.0027.001