February 29, 2008. I was on my way to my boarding house in Diliman from work when I saw streamers and flags waving along Welcome Rotonda. I was expecting some of my kind: people who have had it up to here with GMA, people who want the truth out of the NBN-ZTE deal among other things. Maybe, against my parents’ wishes, I could alight from the jeepney and join them.
I finally saw “Kongreso ng Mamamayan:” that group responsible for those full-blown broadsheet ads against Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada. I didn’t mind it at all, until I saw a truck by the National Food Authority parked right then and there. I couldn’t use my camera phone, since was in a bad position to take pictures. Not to insinuate, but what would an NFA truck be doing in the rally lines of a supposedly-independent civil society group? Why would styrofoam containers of food be distributed from that NFA truck? I don’t really know.
“Truth,” as it seems, is a nuanced expression: there is no “absolute truth,” there are only versions of it. It sounds postmodern, but I don’t think postmodernity could even be an excuse for what’s going on in the Philippines today. Truth, in this case, is not relative to what Jun Lozada is saying or what the government is not saying. There is only one truth to what happened in that deal, and we don’t know it. That’s why we’re demanding the truth.
Here’s what bothers me: they were free to express their views at Welcome Rotonda of all places. Reports have shown that the military and the police prevented the entry of convoys and rallyists into the Metro Manila area during the Makati rally that same day. I don’t cry out a double-standard: I cry out that somebody out there – and I don’t know who that somebody is – is hiding the truth.
Or something like it, maybe. A friend of mine says that we’re better off having a corrupt leader in GMA than having none. I had to disagree: whoever says that we have to settle for corrupt leaders, anyway? Still another friend of mine says that we’re better off having versions of truth than having the stone-cold truth about the NBN-ZTE deal. I had to disagree: doesn’t the truth set us free?
Since a lot of people seem to suffer from a certain “truthophobia,” here’s an open letter I wrote in Friendster some days back:
Regardless of how true or genuine Jun Lozada is, I don’t think he is the point of the issue of why GMA should resign. He’s like vetsin: he’s giving me a perfectly good reason why GMA should resign.
Machiavelli writes: “In the end, what concerns us is the result.” The result is, after the promise of a “Strong Republic” and a more responsive democracy, GMA has failed us. GMA should resign because as a leader, she’s a failure. In her term as President, she has divided the House of Representatives and the Senate like it was her cake. She has divided the nation like it was pizza: nowadays, it’s either you’re for GMA or you’re against GMA. Things have ceased to be a question if you’re for democracy or not, or if you’re for the Philippines or not. They say that when you give a monkey a brain, it will think that it is at the center of the universe. Connect the dots.
Some “Strong Republic” that is.
Pao says that “A nation with a corrupt leader is better than a nation without a leader.” I beg to disagree: a nation deserves the best leader, period. There is no compromise when it comes to the welfare of the people. There is no compromise when we seek for justice, for accountability, for
transparency, and for the best damn leader who will lead us. It’s years off our lives, dammit! It’s our welfare at stake! A nation without a leader is not a nation. The corrupt leader we have now must be replaced.
Why should we even settle for corrupt leaders anyway? Have we no pride? Have we lost a sense of entitlement? Do we go to the polling booth or to EDSA just to find the least corrupt leader, the lesser of x-number of evils, second best when the best just isn’t good enough when we’re back to being strangers yadda yadda yadda? I don’t think so. We deserve more than that. We are entitled to that. It’s our vote, it’s our country, it’s our future.
Which begs the question: “Who will replace her?” GMA is not irreplaceable. Give me a reason why GMA should stay: give me a reason that extolls her virtues as a great leader who should rightfully lead this nation. By rightfully, I mean that nobody will contest her legitimacy, that people are appreciative of her Presidency.
That’s the whole point while we anti- GMA people contest her administration. It’s illegitimate. It’s something we abhor. It’s something we don’t deserve. It’s a future that we are not willing to live or confront even in a parallel universe. She cheated in May 2004. She cheated us of our past, our present, our future, and most of all, our common good. She cheated us out of the spirit of EDSA II when we who were there said, “No, anyone but Gloria.”
Surely, “replacements” will be out there. Good term: “replacement.” When my charger broke down yesterday, I bought a new one. When the President of my country breaks down, when my
President ceases to work for my welfare and for my own good as a Filipino, I’ll go find myself a new one.
Yes, it is definitely sensible to put our country in a compromising solution. Some of us already did. Because we know no compromise. Because we stand up and say, “This is what we deserve. This is what we want. This is what we demand. We know no compromise.” I salute Pao: he had the courage to stand up for something even if I don’t necessarily believe in his opinion.
But you who would stay silent and apathetic to the concerns plaguing your country and would rather resign yourselves to “doom;” you who shut up because you “don’t have an opinion;” you who remain in “neutral ground” and sit on the fence not caring for the welfare of your land; you should resign your own citizenship and heritage and go straight to hell, where there is a lot of room for people like you.
Apathy is treachery: treachery is the lowest circle of hell.