What kind of lawyer does not listen to dissenting or alternative opinion? Weren’t they trained to present sound and robust arguments in a logical manner? Well, it seems former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay is one such lawyer who does not like to listen to arguments and understand points of view that run counter to his.
Indeed, Hilbay has made a name for himself on social media as a habitual blocker of anyone who even hints of some semblance of disagreement to what he evidently believes are the sacred views he upholds. The trouble with that is Hilbay is a self-described liberal. And last we recall, “liberals” are supposed to be “inclusive” and open to “diversity” in both points of view and ways of life.
In a post on Facebook, Hilbay said…
Empower people, not government; enable citizens, not politicians; strengthen institutions, not leaders; distribute, dont concentrate, power.
Well, social media has done exactly that in the 21st Century. Unlike in the old days when Yellowtardism virtually monopolised the discourse thanks to those days being the days when only Big Media possessed the capability to broadcast and publish to a mass audience unchallenged, ordinary people today have access to mass communication platforms that are giving Big Media and their partners-in-propaganda a run for their money.
For such a young guy, Hilbay behaves like the old farts who still believe they are entitled to a monopoly on the discourse based merely on who they are. This is, after all, the same guy who proposes that an “information police” be organised to serve as some kind of authority on what is “fake” or authentic information.
As the old cliché question goes, however, who guards the Guardians?
Hilbay, for example, was embroiled in controversy back in 2016 when a Commission on Audit (COA) report revealed that he received almost 5 million pesos in “excess alloweances” before stepping down from his post…
State auditors said the honoraria and allowances that Calida, Hilbay and other state lawyers received exceeded 50 percent of their annual basic salary, which is a violation of the COA Circular 85-25-E.
Calida succeeded Hilbay on June 30, 2016.
The report said Calida and Hilbay’s basic salary for 2016 amounted to P702,516 each, and that their allowances should only be P351,258 each.
Calida and Hilbay received P1.48 million and P5.1 million in honoraria and allowances in 2016, respectively, the COA said.
Imagine then if such an “information police” as Hilbay proposes existed to evaluate this kind of report. Will it pass the authenticity test? Or will it be labelled as “fake”? Politicians and government officials, after all, go by the motto “What are we in Power for?”. So facts tend not to get in the way of political agendas in the Philippines. Indeed, given Hilbay’s predisposition to blocking “undesirable” information, it does not give many too much comfort to see a proposal to control information proposed by him seeing the light of day.
A red flag for self-appointed “thought leaders” is consistent inconsistency. Inconsistency is a symptom of such people who regard personal loyalties (and not first principles) as the key foundation of their advocacies. Hilbay, however, is a lawyer so one would expect a bit more of a person trained in Philosophy — a discipline where conclusions are mere derivatives of intellectual exploration on a landscape of competing ideas. As a serial blocker of dissent, Hilbay cannot be considered as someone who arrives at his conclusions systematically. Rather, he is likely to be more of an extremist — someone who latches on to a set of beliefs and cherry-picks information and points of view to enforce rather than validate those beliefs.
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