Spiritual approach

By Alex P. Vidal

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore, all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”― Voltaire

ONCE the furor over the people’s initiative (PI) for Charter change (Cha-cha) will start to ebb, the news about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its controversial mission in the Philippines will take centerstage next.

Cha-cha will come and go; ICC will come and hold accountable abusive and sadistic leaders even if they are shielded and tolerated by their successors.

ICC, in the forefront of probe on the death of an estimated 6,000 Filipinos during the Duterte regime’s brutal war against illegal drugs, investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

ICC’s possible resurgence was manifested by the recent tense exchanges between President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa whether Malacanang will allow the ICC to recognize its presence in the country.

To calm down the nervous Senator Bato, Mr. Marcos immediately declared: “I do not recognize the jurisdiction of ICC in the Philippines. I consider this as a threat to our sovereignty. Therefore, the Philippine government, will not lift a finger to help any investigation that the ICC conducts. However, as ordinary people, they can come and visit the Philippines.”

Despite Mr. Marcos Jr’s solid stand, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV said a warrant of arrest might soon be issued against Mr. Duterte and his former henchman, the neophyte senator Bato.


Let’s approach the problem from the spiritual point of view. My 70-year-old chess rival in Queens has suggested that in order for the controversy on EJK or extra-judicial killings in the Philippines to be resolved, Filipinos should embrace the religion of Janism.

“Master Sam”, an Indian-American, said followers of this ancient religion wouldn’t even hurt a fly–literally.

He was saddened by reports that thousands of suspected Filipino drug addicts and traffickers of illegal substance “have been murdered like animals” in the streets and inside their houses in raids since a “no non-sense” battle against illegal drugs was launched in the Philippines during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 to 2022.

Handpicked by President Duterte to “cleanse the country with criminal elements,” Bato dela Rosa, then the PNP chief, denied the PNP had initiated the mass killings insisting “we adhered to the due process and respected the human rights of the suspects.”

Janism is one of India’s three ancient religions, along with Buddhism and Hinduism.

“Master Sam” said because of this religion, he could not even get mad at chess hustlers in the park who had been bilking him.

“I’m a peaceful person,” he said. “When I beat you in a chess match once, I felt I humiliated you (referring to me) in front of your friends. When it was your turn to beat me (eight times in another meeting), I felt it was necessary to compliment you and tell people around that you are a better chess player,”

“Master Sam,” who once lost $1,500 to Filipino chess hustlers at the Queen’s Elmhurst Park, played blitz matches with yours truly without any bet.


Despite the fact that it has only a few million adherents and is confined almost entirely in Southern India, Janism’s philosophy of non-violence has spread throughout the world, according to “Master Sam.”

To Janists, he said, the world is divided into the living (or the soul) and the non-living.

They believe that the soul is invaded by karmic matter, or negative passions, that can dominate people’s lives. These include violence, greed, anger, and self-indulgence.

This karma reportedly bonds to the soul and impedes the search for perfect understanding and peace.

To reach the heavenly stage, “Master Sam” said Janists must stop the inflow of bad karma and shed the karmic matter that has already bonded to their souls.

Once this has been accomplished, he explained, they reach moksha or a level of pure understanding where the soul is liberated from all earthly matter.

Master Sam said achieving this heavenly stage is quite an ordeal. An individual must spend 12 years as a Janist monk and go through eight reincarnations in order to get there.

Along the way, each must also adhere to the Three Jewels of Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct.

More extreme worshippers deny themselves even the most basic of life’s pleasures by fasting and wearing only the simplest clothing.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)