My Birthday wish: Candle of justice


My Birthday wish: Candle of justice
Toto in Legazpi City

By BERTENI “TOTO” CATALUÑA CAUSING
Editor-in-chief, Dyaryo Magdalo

       I mark my birthday on December 10 (2011) with a big honor of having exceeded my targets set a year ago and going beyond by succeeding in matters that came in shocking fashions, even to the point of making me look a martyr without a cause.

         I write this to share my experience in the hope others would find good wisdom in it and duplicate the same as a new tradition of relationship to fellow men.

I wanted to look good in the eyes of my friends online or offline, my colleagues in the press, the people around me who are poorer than me by a mile, the people who work for and with me, my peers, my co-alumni from Koronadal Central Elementary School, Koronadal National Comprehensive High School, the Mindanao State University’s all campuses, and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

I am glad I can say I achieved all these beyond my targets, and even broke records nobody has done in what many say in the most shameful way.

In so doing, the general wisdom that reigned over me for a year was to place first myself in the shoes of another with whom I had issues and examine if that other person deserved to be lambasted.

When a street boy knocked on the window while I rode a taxi or drove my 1997 Toyota Corolla, I immediately put myself as the boy and the boy as me and imagine if I deserve to be given a five-peso coin. I would immediately see my heart in tears murmuring: It is better to give than to receive as a child knocking on doors of others’ cars.

When a fellow media man came to ask me for a contribution for the hospitalization of his or her young child, I immediately thought what if we changed places. I immediately thought it is better to give than to be given for there is no pain worse than experiencing having a child hovering in danger.

I did these all by means of doing things in the humblest way I could, even to the point of everybody lecturing and telling me I should have left an inch of an honor for me. 

The memorial designed and worded by Toto for Maguindanao Masscare victims

There was this one daughter of a senior journalist, a daughter of a great writer I idolize, that I decided to help out of my thoughtless mind with the intention to make her life worthy out of her talent for cooking to cater the supposed couple of hundreds of workers every lunch so that she could rise from obscurity and infamy and in the process help me.   But she later would avoid me after trying to give me an impression she got mad at me for not picking up her own fight.  I think it was just a ploy but I had kept my quiet.  I lost a fifth of a million and still have no regrets.

There was this one man my age who berated everybody around me, including the little boy I enrolled in school and decided to support including his father.  But I later heard that the boy stole my three watches that I am now watch-less, stole my five-peso coins I placed on my secret cups, and stole my digital camera, and others.  I did not lambaste that man but I just kept my silence and never talked to him or send him a reply to his text messages, knowing that this is the least way that shame can be caused on a friend who betrayed you.   I did not get mad at the boy, too. I just politely told his father I hoped he would understand me because the things went beyond my control.  This man my age was too lucky too to get from me for the tuition and food of his son but he was too difficult to understand that I was insulted that he continuously hurt people physically in my presence that he did not stop despite my request for him to control his anger.  This man apparently envied the help I gave to the boy who stole my precious belongings.

I gave way when there were issues who between me and any of the rest to take the second to the last share or for the privilege to pick first.

I obliged to be the most benevolent despite my scarce resources and the shortness of the patience my emotions could stretch.  

I succeeded in prevailing upon my heart to reject my pride and ask for forgiveness even for mistakes committed by people against me because friendship means more to me.

Toto in Dec. 2010
I sacrificed when it was a choice of who between me and the rest to eat the one only one plate of food left. 
   
I compelled myself to call people older than me “sir” or “ma’am,” no matter how far their educational or financial standing against me, comfortable in the feeling that this is one way to at least make them happy.

I comforted my thought that I can afford a simple life enough to make me live if to give up one more would make another happy.  I know I cannot sleep on two houses that I need only one. I cannot wear two pairs of shoes that I need only one.  I cannot drive more than one car and I need only one.  I only need a certain amount to continue life and my office’s operations for two months and can spare the rest.

I spent more than three-fourths of my income for 2011 for other people and for my causes. I gave to my six “informal” employees more than half my earnings I earned from my services I rendered.  I spent a fifth of a million for my PEOPLE’S (JURY) JUSTICE SYSTEM advocacy campaigns.  I spent about a third of a million for my weekly newspaper Dyaryo Magdalo without return except for the benefit I got in the form of my altruistic feeling that I got important messages across.   

I spent two-fifths of a million just to pay for the loans taken by my two sisters using my parents’ house as the collateral because they can no longer pay. It was not my loan but if I chose to be naïve the house my father Remo and Mother Marianita founded 45 years ago would go to thin air of hopelessness and desperation.

I spent almost half a million for my offices, house rentals and utilities in order to continue the services I give.

Against all these things I did, I had shares of failures, too.

I deprived myself the opportunity of buying a new car when I could afford them if I did not spend for all the matters I stated above.

I also deprived some of my siblings of help that they could get from me although I know they tended to need the money more.  Certainly, I failed in the department when it concerns my sisters and brothers. I don’t know why it was easier for me to sacrifice for other persons than for my own blood.

Our language is truth, our spirit is liberty
           I thought deep what I should do in the next year of my life after celebrating my 47th birthday on the Human Rights Day of 2011. 

I have resolved to be far simpler in means of life in order for me to achieve with more vigor the targets of ACHIEVING TO BE OF MORE HELP TO THE PEOPLE I STATED ABOVE, AND BE MORE EFFECTIVE IN MY EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGN ABOUT THE PEOPLE’S (JURY) SYSTEM FOR ALL THE FILIPINOS, help the same people more, and increase my love for my brothers, sisters and parents.

I have not set a dream to get a wife soon because it is perhaps one of the most impossible objectives for me now, although I love to have a son or a daughter and build my own family.

After all, my bigger challenge is HOW TO BECOME A BILLIONAIRE IN NAME AND HONOR, in the manner that my name would still be mentioned in classrooms 1,000 years later.

And I will make it sure that before I die, the People’s Justice System is in place in lieu of the present system.

The present is too bad for the fate of the accused and the accuser lays only in the hands of one prosecutor commonly called “fix-cal” and whose acquittal or conviction rests in the hands of only one person, the judge.

Seal of People's (Jury) Justice System
I want that all the poor and the underprivileged have equal chances in every issue of justice: that no man can dictate the outcome of the case

Only a jury system of justice can do this.

The next challenge for me is how I could give my best to make my father Remo and Mother Marianita happy as they savor the rest of their twilight lives.  I love them both so much—more than I love myself.

Thus, as I blow my candles for this birthday on December 10, 2011, I wish I would make my father and mother very happy and see a million more people singing the idea of the people as judges in the courts and prosecutors, too, to ensure that JUSTICE AND HONESTY WILL BE DONE BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE.

If you wish to give me a birthday present, the best you can give me is A PLEDGE YOU WRITE ON THE COMMENT THREAD THAT YOU GIVE ME A CANDLE OF JUSTICE.

Be sure it is a kind of justice to be offered to the Filipino where the people are the prosecutors and the judges.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says: “A right delayed is a right denied.”

Happy Human Rights Day!
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