Thanks to all the messages of support for embattled COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista over social media, many now know he is an alumnus of the Ateneo de Manila University. As many are aware, the Ateneo is a prestigious private learning institution run by the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. One wonders then how Bautista’s fellow Ateneans are able to reconcile what they were taught by the Jesuits and what is on exhibit today — allegations of unexplained wealth and shamefully lame attempts by Bautista over a series of media releases to deodorise the stink bomb detonated by his wife Patricia Bautista.
The motto of the Jesuits is ad majorem Dei gloriam, “for the greater glory of God” in Latin or simply “AMDG”. It is a tradition for Ateneans to write this acronym at the top their exam papers and utter it as a short prayer before sports and other competitive events. One wonders if Bautista now faces the Philippine public under the weight of these allegations for the greater glory of God.
Is God glorified in the way Bautista piles one lie over another in his attempts to explain the 32 bank accounts he allegedly owns?
Ateneans are also “men for others”, they are taught. To be a “man for others” is to serve in the spirit of the Prayer of San Ignacio de Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order…
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.
One of the first things COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista did in his attempt to cover his pale behind following the explosion of what could be the Corruption Scandal of the Decade, is to attack the character of his wife. Despite the issue clearly being about his unexplained wealth and the discrepancy it presents vis-à-vis his official personal wealth as declared in his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), Bautista chose an ungentlemanly approach to dealing with the allegations.
Can Bautista continue to be regarded as a man for others after treating his own wife in a dishonourable way?
When Ateneans leave their beloved school to go out to the world to be men for others and do so for the greater glory of God, they are said to be coming “down from the hill”. This, perhaps, alludes to the sprawling campus of the Ateneo perched upon prime real estate overlooking the Marikina Valley in Loyola Heights, Quezon City from which they “come down” from after graduating. In more figurative terms, it could also be based on the notion that Ateneans represent the “best and brightest” of what the Philippines’ youth could offer to the world and a bunch that the Jesuits are presumably proud to be tasked with guiding in their journey to adulthood.
As chief of the COMELEC, Bautista is responsible for the integrity of a process for accurately taking stock of the individual wishes of millions of ordinary Filipinos. From up in an ivory tower, Filipino voters are mere statistics and their votes mere data fed into the computer systems implemented by the COMELEC’s technology “partner” Smartmatic. Likewise, for Ateneans cocooned in their Loyola Heights campus as students, reality remains a mere abstraction until they come down from that hill. From what can be observed of Bautista’s behaviour thus far, it seems he has yet to come down from his own hill to regard the people who had trusted him to look after their votes as real people.
When will COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista come down from the hill?
Before Ateneans start praying for their embattled alumnus, perhaps they should first review the above three questions as they apply to Andres Bautista and reflect on how the COMELEC Chairman would answer them. More importantly, Ateneans should reflect on whether it is right to remain silent on this matter.
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