Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINION - ISOLDE D. AMANTE

THANKS, in part, to the gor­geous Ivanka Trump, one word-ob­sessed site’s Word of the Year for 2017 is “com­plicit.” Thrice this year, the num­ber of those who looked up the word in the dic­tio­ site rose by thou­sands of per­cent­age points, in­clud­ing last April 5, right af­ter a tele­vised Ivanka Trump in­tervi ew.

In that in­ter­view, the US pres­i­dent’s daugh­ter told CBS that she didn’t “know what it means to be com­plicit” but that “if be­ing com­plicit is want­ing to be a force for good and to make a pos­i­tive impact, then I’m com­plicit.” That’s not what it means, dear. Com­plicit means “choos­ing to be in­volved in an il­le­gal or questionable act, es­pe­cially with oth­ers; hav­ing a part­ner­ship or in­volve­ment in wrong­do­ing.

Or, put sim­ply, it means be­ing, at some level, re­spon­si­ble for some­thing, even if in­di­rectly,” dic­tio­ pointed out. The word sprung from a 17th Cen­tury French term, com­plice, mean­ing “ac­com­plice, com­rade, com­pan­ion,” ac­cord­ing to the On­line Ety­mol­ogy Dic­tio­nary. Dic­tio­’s ed­i­tors and writ­ers ex­plained they were also in­spired to pick “com­plicit” by the sto­ries “of those who have re­fused to be com­plicit.”

Each Word of the Year “serves as a sym­bol of the year’s most mean­ing­ful events and lookup trends.” The site’s re­cent choices re­veal how much pol­i­tics has played a cen­tral role in peo­ple’s dis­cus­sions: their choices in­cluded “xeno­pho­bia” (2016), “iden­tity” (2015), “ex­po­sure” (2014), “pri­vacy” (2013), and “blus­ter” (2012).

One can be ac­tively com­plicit, yet one can also be­come com­plicit by in­ac­tion. Whether or not one be­comes com­plicit in a pub­lic con­tro­versy de­pends on how much one will al­low and what, in the end, one will stand up or speak up against. In the Philip­pines, com­plic­ity turned up in a re­cent House com­mit­tee hear­ing on the im­peach­ment com­plaint against Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno.

In an “un­prece­dented” ap­pear­ance be­fore the House jus­tice com­mit­tee last Wed­nes­day, As­so­ci­ate Jus­tice Tere­sita de Cas­tro spoke about some of her griev­ances against the chief jus­tice. For one, As­so­ci­ate Jus­tice de Cas­tro be­lieves that the chief jus­tice “cre­ated con­fu­sion” in re­open­ing the Re­gional Court Ad­min­is­tra­tion Of­fice (RCAO) based in Cebu, al­legedly with­out the in­volve­ment of the other SC jus­tices or the court ad­min­is­trat or.

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