PN “Corazon Salbaje” pointed response to “Dissenting opinion as motion picture” article

On August 2, 2012 the Cebu Daily News published “Dissenting opinion as motion picture” By Malou Guanzon-Apalisok.

This came out shortly after Give Up Tomorrow had it’s Philippine premiere at the Cinemalaya Film Festival. One audience member responded to the article in the comments section online and was frustrated that the response was removed. They emailed us the response directly and have given us permission to share it here.

RESPONSE by “Corazon Salbaje”

The film presents evidence that was inexplicably not allowed to be presented in court, or was obfuscated by the media, or was over-ridden by the connections the Chiong family had in President Estrada’s office. With all due respect, it is unfair, if not ridiculous, for Miss Guanzon-Apalisok to obsess on the letter of the law regarding the prisoner exchange treaty when the whole point is that the letter of the law was disregarded, disrespected, and distorted when Larrañaga and the six other accused were sentenced under sketchy circumstances.

When the justice system, the government, and the media fail a citizen, it can only be left to the citizens themselves to present the truth. Thank goodness for this film and the attention it has received — because it outlines where we as a society have failed. Thank goodness for the activists who for the past fifteen years have never allowed us to forget that an injustice has been committed to these seven boys, and most probably to hundreds more who languish in prison for crimes they did not commit. “An affront to our country’s honor and dignity”? What honor to a country that has acted dishonorably time and time again? What dignity to a country that allows the indignity of mob mentality to convict people in the court of public opinion based on sensationalism and class? Miss Guanzon-Apalisok is most wrong in this regard. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. The truest Filipino is the one who is brave enough to stand ashamed of his or her country when it has acted shamefully and shamelessly. You can love your country but air your hate for how it has let its people down. That is the ultimate act of patriotism.

I wonder if Miss Guanzon-Apalisok has even bothered to watch the film before writing about it. If so, she would understand its importance as a catalyst for the necessary discussion and examination of a faulty justice system. If she hasn’t seen it, shame on her as a journalist and concerned citizen, because what kind of reporter discusses something he or she hasn’t seen?

The strength of the film is that it forces us to consider a side of the story that was disregarded, shouted down, and ignored repeatedly. Whether or not you think Larranaga and the others are guilty or innocent, we should at least have the good conscience to consider all sides properly before deciding. To disregard the other side because you disagree with them is proof of ignorance, laziness, and vanity. It is precisely this attitude that has broken our country in the first place.

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