Ateneo de Manila Sanggunian President: Statement on the Manila Peninsula Siege

Office of the Sanggunian President

November 30, 2007

My Fellow Ateneans,

The November 29, 2007 Manila Peninsula siege is another thorn in the history of the Filipino people.

There is a moral discrepancy in our country. There is a sense of hopelessness, despite the positive economic headlines. And yes, there is a clamor for change. The clamor for change is a quest that involves reflection and discernment, things which we have learned as students of the Jesuits, of the Ateneo.

Democracy, as we say, is the best option left. And we chose that in 1986. The Manila Peninsula siege is a threat to democracy. It was a sequel to the failed Oakwood mutiny in 2003. Same plot, with added twists. It was certainly a continuation of a power grab.

Will Trillanes, Lim, Guingona (a fellow Atenean), Bishop Labayen, Fr. Reyes (also an Atenean), among others go to trial? They should. We do not want another set of push-ups, as they did in 1989. Or are we having another Honasan? Let us stop the cycle. Let us not be kowtowed by elements of destabilization.

Rule of law should prevail. This is another test to our democratic institutions.

As students of the Ateneo de Manila, we stand witness to the many scenarios that will shape the future of our young lives. We are therefore challenged to help this damaged country, not through extraordinary ways. We do it with hope, the integral part of that quest for change. The 2010 national elections, which is just two and a half years away, is a rallying point for concrete engagement. Exercise your rights as a Filipino, which certainly does not include taking siege of a hotel in the Central Business District of the Philippines.

We call on the Ateneo de Manila alumni serving in the government (the President, senators, congressmen, cabinet members, local government executives) to act on the needs of the Filipinos, and to set agenda that will last beyond their terms. Inspire us, the current students of the Ateneo de Manila.

Change is disguised in many ways. Let us not be swayed by the propaganda of ill-thought nationalism.

Ateneans, I challenge you to speak and let your thoughts be heard. One opportunity is during the Senate Inquiries on Friday (December 7) at the Henry Lee Irwin Theater. This is the moment to shine, be passionate, think of how you reacted to the Dress Code issue during the first semester. This is the Ateneo way, after all. If not, then what is?

Animo Ateneo!

Karl Vendell M. Satinitigan