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The wizards got it right the first time: Passion rules reason. This is a warning that we should always remember. As a blogger/journalist, when you hear an issue that you are so passionate about, the best course of action is to let the story be absorbed by your mind fully before reacting on it… before writing about it. Because if you cast your decision even before you were able to absorb it fully, chances are, you’ll be making an uninformed decision or view.

Last year, when I heard about the golf brawl between the members of the Pangandaman and Dela Paz families, I immediately wrote a short article and judged the Pangandamans guilty of–, well, guilty of something evil. Where did I base my opinion/conclusion? From the blog of the Dela Paz daughter. She narrated in her blog what happened, and “clearly,” the Pangandamans are at fault.

A week ago, four students from the Quezon City Science High School (QCSHS) were suspended by their principal because according to the news, the students blogged about how they hate the principal because of this-and-that stuff. The angst of these students was mostly on how the principal administers the school. And because this would ruin the principal’s reputation, and hence the school’s, the official suspended them for 10 days. Usurpation of the freedom of expression, right? So, again, I felt compelled to write about this.

Finally, over the weekend, I received an email spreading around from one inbox to another. This is the one about the retirement of a UP janitor (Meliton Zamora) and his less than 1 peso retirement benefit. In this email, the writer blames all the students who made Mang Meliton their guarantor. It was because of these student loans that the poor janitor received almost nothing when he retired. Allegedly, the University deducted these loans from Mang Meliton’s retirement pension or something. So, imagine the rage of students in the UP community when they read this. I, for one, have commented on so many articles and emails regarding this issue and said words like “sana maghirap yang mga walang utang na loob na mga estudyanteng yan.” I mean, how can a student, and a Iskolar ng Bayan at that, do that to a janitor?! Right? This is supposedly beyond mere legal and civil matters. This is immoral.

But wait, where am I driving at? No, it’s not about the injustices committed by those people surrounding me. This is not about the Pangandamans, the QCSHS principal, nor the UP students who failed to pay their student loans causing Mang Meliton to receive only ~P1 (92 cents!) after his retirement. This is about the injustices I have committed against those I have “judged” without doing due diligence on the matter. Why and how did this contemplation hit me? Yesterday, I saw Mang Meliton’s issue in the TV/news. In that segment, the reporter interviewed Mang Meliton and asked in detail what really happened. And you know what? The students who didn’t pay their student loans (guaranteed by Mang Meliton) has ALMOST NOTHING to do with the 97-cent payout he received (save for a 5000-peso loan in 2003). I was so embarrassed to myself for having misjudged my fellow scholars. The 97-cent payout has to be investigated given the diligence of Mang Meliton to his duties, but again this is not about it. This is about ME making conclusions without proper information, or at the very least, attempting to do a research or giving the benefit of the doubt to all parties involved.

It was the passion that made me make these abrupt and probably wrong conclusions (I was already proven wrong in the case of Mang Meliton). I hope this would be the last time that I’ll commit this stupidity.

The freedom of expression that blogging allowed us to exercise is a great power. And as the famous movie line goes,

…with great power comes great responsibility.

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