"There are some things that should transcend political animosity."
Division, disagreement and discord among people with different political beliefs are common, even good. These things make a democracy thrive and pave the way for enlightened discourse.
And then there are gross transgressions of basic human decency.
The death on Thursday of former President Benigno Aquino III came as a shock to a nation still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and many other issues in governance.
Mr. Aquino, 61, had quietly slipped into the quiet life of a private citizen after his term ended nearly five years ago, and few were aware about the seriousness of his illnesses.
A lawyer and “guest host” for a tele-radio program, however, could not contain his glee on air upon receiving confirmation that the former president, after reports of being rushed to the hospital, had passed on.
Lorenzo Gadon, during a live program on DWIZ Thursday morning, said:
I received information from some members of the media that eto daw [expletive] na ‘to PNoy Aquino…patay na daw ang [expletive].” (“This [expletive]…he’s dead, this [expletive]”
He didn’t stop there. When he was more sure, he exclaimed:
“Ay patay na nga! Yeehee!” (“He’s dead!”). He referred to the former president as an animal and said he was so ecstatic that he would raffle off a ticket to Hong Kong.
Gadon could only be heard, not seen.
One of the hosts, Trixie Cruz Angeles, even appeared amused, laughing at Gadon’s delight. She and her two co-hosts, Conrado Banal and Jonathan dela Cruz, made no effort whatsoever to pull the plug on their colleague. Not even when he later claimed that the former president had succumbed to HIV.
The station eventually apologized to the Aquino family.
But Gadon is hardly an aberration. An army of social media users have found ways to discredit Aquino’s achievements while in office and mock his imperfections in his personal life and his job. Much was made of the fact that he was living alone in the ancestral house, with only the company of household staff. Of course he was – he was a bachelor, and this was the life he chose.
There are some things that should transcend political animosity. Grief over the death of a former leader who did his best given his circumstances, eschewed fanfare, and governed with decency and simplicity is one of these things.
At the very least, if one could not say anything good or true, one better keep quiet. Gadon should not be allowed to get away with what he said.