Reading all these blog entries and comments about the Pangandaman-Dela Paz issue is giving me a headache, but I sort of lost the migraine for a while with this bit from GMANews.TV:
Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman Sr. on Friday said his son, Nasser Jr., has already filed a libel case against the daughter of Delfin de la Paz over her blog entry about the golf course brawl in Antipolo City last December 26.
The DAR chief said his son, who is the mayor of Masiu, Lanao del Sur, filed Thursday the case against Bambina “Bambee” de la Paz. He said his son found the blog entry, which heavily criticized the Pangandamans, libelous.
I think that my takes on the Valley Golf brawl have been on the fair side. I’m not saying that I wrote an objective and balanced presentation on the incident and highlighting golf as an excess of governance, but it is, for all intents and purposes, one-sided. The same holds true for Bambee dela Paz’s version of the incident: it’s one-sided. Blogs and forum posts that defend the Pangandamans also happen to be one-sided.
It’s obvious by now that the Valley Golf incident is a very real, actual incident that’s obscured by an aversion to one-sidedness. There’s this mentality (or sentiment, perhaps) that the only way an event could be truthful is if the facts favor one and not the other. It’s like showbiz chismis, where one maligning bit of intriga can be katotohanan to another. In the case of the Valley Golf incident, one side lies, and the other side tells the truth. Whoever tells what side is up to the courts to decide, but we’ll not hear the last of it anyway.
Criticisms, much less stories, these days aren’t taken objectively; there “has” to be a personal motive of some sort because things like “justice” and “fairness” have been reduced to alien concepts and unattainable ideas. If a person is criticized, he or she will throw a fit and claim a monopoly of knowledge on one’s entire being. Like, “You don’t know me.” Or something like, “You only know half the story.”
It’s not about golf and middle-class gall and ethnic conflict, as much as it is about injustices and prejudices that are so mundane that they become ordinary, pedestrian, common, even taking the character of everyday occurences that we complain about when they don’t happen. When was the last time a cashier drew the window on you at 4:55 PM because City Hall closes at 5:00 PM? When was the last time someone almost ran you over at the stop sign just because he drives a fast Porsche?
While I don’t believe in absolutes, what makes “truths” and “lies” problematic is that there is no gray area in between. The half-truth, as they say, is a whole lie. That makes it impossible to be a fence-sitter in this issue: whatever happened in the golf course is a single instance of abuse and injustice we experience every day. For all intents and purposes, the Valley Golf incident is both a microcosm and a magnification of abuses that are taken for granted in Filipino society.
The only difference is that the issue is a black eye that both the Pangandamans and the Dela Pazes will blame on each other, but for the rest of us, suffering abuse of power will always be one-sided. In the end, an abusive Government always hurts us.