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Of Form and Subtance September 14, 2010

Posted by pilibustero in Personal, Politics & Society.
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Our boss and another colleague were lamenting, actually disgusted over the disqualification of a research output that our office has been supporting in a national research tilt. Reason: Technicality. A mere 5 pages excess from the prescribed number of pages rendered the entry out of the competition. The contention being, first and foremost, the competition points to what is the best research, so why dwell so much on technicality? But they said, rules and rules. Better lack next time.

In the world of the right and the ideal, the two make sense. Of course there are rules, rules to preserve and ensure order. For some, they call it standard or protocol. But in this particular case, a research competition at that, the weight of the game is in the content and the substance of the research. In effect, anything that renders a research entry unfit for competition by virtue of mere technicality defeats the objective of bringing to the fore the best research outputs. The assumption could be that, we might settle for the second best because the real bests and winners were set aside due to the stringent rules. As for me, rules are rules, indeed but they are made to be broken anyway.

This reminds me of the current debacle in Congress via the impeachment complaint filed against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. The point of discussion, actually debate between the complainants (Bayan Muna Rep. Casino, et. al. vs Rabied Arroyo Supporters) Interestingly, this is the first time the distinguished August Body, in particular the Justice Committee approved such a complaint in FORM and SUBSTANCE. Observers find this a bleak incident. But Malacanang and PNoy are playing it safe. And as of this writing, the Supreme Court halted the proceedings in Congress following an injunction petition from the defense. In here, we see that when we talk of justice, it plays by the rules. But at the very least, ethics and public accountability transcend rules, so long as justice will be served in the time where Filipinos die by the day due to corruption or mismanagement in the strictest meaning of the terms.

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