Business World, 19 December 2013

In accordance with the rules promulgated by the Dasmariñas Village Association (DVA) that no exit be allowed at that gate after 10 p.m. which everyone follows, the blue guards refuse to raise the boom for the four-vehicle convoy of mayor Binay of Makati, reportedly also ferrying a senator Binay of the same family.

Hindi mo ba ako kilala?” (Don’t you know who I am?) was the threat issued and bodyguards brandished firearms to drive home the point.

A cellphone call by the capo and foot rugs also known as Makati police arrived to arrest the blue guards and detain them for four hours.

How can this be true? Can the CCTV camera be politically motivated? If you haven’t had a heart attack by now but want to experience everything once, read on.

First, the security agency, Right Eight Security, employers of the blue guards, issued a statement of apology to the mayor! And forced the guards to apologize! For what??? For lapses of procedure such as dutifully enforcing rules they are supposed to enforce! Subtext 1: Rules are enforced only for the lowly but not for the high and mighty thugs, or, to paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm: “All animals are equal but pigs are more equal than others.” Subtext 2: All businesses in Makati doing business with us can be pressured to disengage. So we lick.

Second, the Dasmariňas Village Association president Mr. Pantanga confirmed the incident but can only say that this “… has already been settled.”

The police chief said that the arrest and detention was for verification purposes. The DVA showed singular capacity for grovelling before the Binays by keeping mum about the affair.

And we have still to hear from Dasma residents, perhaps because the incident was so well covered up or worse. It is, after all, their rules; they should stand by them and by those who stood up to enforce them. Everyone was cowed to silence!

The blue guards who stood up to the Binays to enforce the rules are real heroes in my book. They could have been shot and killed right there but they stood fast. And yet they got the raw end of the deal. I would not be surprised if firing them was not demanded of the security agency. Will Dasma residents turn their backs on these heroes?

Contrast this: When the board of directors of one subdivision along Commonwealth, QC, decided to fire a security guard for reporting the loss of subdivision property and finding the same in the possession of a prominent board member, the residents rose up in collective anger and forced the board to rescind its order.

When the said board member concerned sued the guard for forcible entry, one resident executed an affidavit that said there was no forcible entry and another resident, a lawyer, took up the guard’s case pro bono. Bravo!

But such episodes of celebrating true heroism is all too uncommon. The sad fate of the country is that heroism by small fry gets punished; thuggery by powerful vermin earns them public office. And a proposed exemption from income taxes!

This Christmas I plan to focus on little heroes and the hope they bring, instead of on the gremlins who steal our hopes. Join me if you are so inclined in hailing the two guards (still to be named) who stood their ground and the whistleblower who outed the tapes as heroes of the land. They remind us that there is hope for this country despite how many times thugs have stolen hope. They give us a glimpse of the grim future we have to avoid. If more people acted like the two guards, this country would be far ahead.

Let me leave you with one thought.

When you are young, Christmas just magically happens to you. The cool Siberian air, the overcast clouds, and the snippets of carols afford us, without us raising a finger, a transport to the outer reaches of gladness. But as we grow older and more exposed to the tragedies and cruelties in the human condition like the Dasma thuggery, Christmas magic does not just arrive; it gets stolen by the gremlins. The magic comes empty-handed. But we can still touch the high sierras of gladness; we can make Christmas happen. We make Christmas happen by acts of caring and generosity. But everything is in vain without justice.