No one really knows why Ms. Kristel Tejada killed herself. She left a suicide note. But it was cryptic.
“Mahal na mahal ko ang pamilya ko. At lahat din ng iba pang nagmamahal sa akin. Di ko lang talaga rin kinaya. Sana mapatawad at ipagdasal niyo ko. Salamat sa lahat magkikita pa ulit tayo. Sorry pero kailangan ko lang talagang gawin to (I love my family very much, and all those who love me. I just could not take it anymore. I hope that they will forgive me and pray for me. Thank you for everything and we will see each other again. Sorry but I really need to do this). Tandaan (Remember): Without true love, we’re nothing.”
It is quite clear that Ms. Tejada’s suicide note made no mention of her tuition problems. But that did not stop student activists and leftist groups from blaming the UP financial assistance program, rising tuition fees, lack of budget for state universities and colleges, and the rich for oppressing the poor. That did not stop them from going on a rampage, defacing the walls of UP Manila, burning desks and chairs in PUP.
They had it all figured out–financial problems caused her suicide, the system killed her–even before all the facts were in. It’s just like the anti-RH camp who concluded that God was angry at the bill’s passage because there was a heavy storm when the RH bill became a law.
But if it was true that she killed herself because the “system” drove her to it, then how come there are not more suicides among poor UP students? Don’t those activists realize that by attributing her suicide to her tuition problems they are implying that all those other students similarly situated are stronger than she was?
Of course they do but they are not going to let anything get in the way of their ideology and political agenda. If the suicide can be twisted to inflame class war, to bring about their great proletarian revolution, then they are not going to let that opportunity pass.
The fact is there could have been another reason for the suicide. But activists dismissed all other possible reasons outright because it would not sit right.
Bill Clinton once summarized the problem of ideologues, “the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence. So you have to mold the evidence to get the answer that you’ve already decided you’ve got to have.”
And so the ideologues attacked the system without ascertaining first if the system was directly responsible for Kristel’s suicide. By so doing they belittled her character, she, unlike the others, was too weak to cope with the system.
They mocked her. They mock the dead. They used a dead girl’s mouth to convey their message. They turned her coffin into a prop. They turned her suicide into a weapon against the system they despise, into a tool to advance their great proletarian revolution. What assholes!
Ms. Kristel Tejada deserves more than just being turned into a prop and a tool. Let her rest in peace. Let her family grieve with some dignity.
Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms (www.aer.ph).