Final Cut: The Pangandaman-Dela Paz Feud
I very rarely – if I ever – write a “final cut;” I refuse to be the guy who has a final word on anything. Granted that a lot of bloggers already had something to say about the Valley Golf incident between Delfin dela Paz, DAR Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, and Masiu Mayor Nasser Pangandaman, Jr.; yet my passing thoughts here are not meant to be the be-all-end-all of this feud. That’s the job of the courts, considering that the case/s has/have already been filed.
Yes, it’s the proper forum. Well, don’t that beat all.
Yet over the past few days that I didn’t write about the Valley Golf brawl, I did have some time to chew on the dozens of blogs – and versions of the incident – that have come up since December 26 of last year when the incident happened:
- On the one hand, there’s a claim (the Bambee dela Paz version) that it was the Pangandamans who instigated the incident.
- On the other hand, there’s a claim (the Pangandaman supporter/sympathizer version) that it was Delfin dela Paz who started the brawl.
Like I said before, it’s difficult to be a fence-sitter on this issue. Again: the Pangandaman-dela Paz feud is an “expanded version” of everyday abuses many of us encounter from Government officials. The question as of late is whether or not some members of the blogging community are judgmental, or have prejudged the incident, on the basis of Pangandaman being a Government official.
I won’t wash my hands of the issue: I did, in fact, became rather judgmental and critical of the Pangandaman side on the basis of two things:
- Pangandaman and his bodyguards had no right to beat anyone up.
- There is an injustice in the caprices of our Government officials; the fact that the brawl happened in a golf course is just one of the many levels of injustices that are to be explored in this incident.
OK, for that, sorry.
The new “problem,” so to speak, is whether or not the blogosphere was right to take on this issue as a sort of “advocacy.” Now that the details are getting a bit clear, some bloggers and commenters may be right to claim that a lot of Pangandaman critics in the blogosphere are backpedaling on the issue a bit.
Maybe it was a bit pre-judgmental, maybe the verdict was a bit prejudiced, advanced and tried in the court of public opinion; in this case, the Philippine blogosphere.
Then again, was it? Hmmm…
It’s easy to admit that emotion (or in my case, an almost neurotic distrust in Government) was the order of the day when it came to judging this issue on the court of public opinion. To say that there were no errors in judgment to speak of in this issue would be to tell that bloggers and commenters alike are scot-free from criticisms.
If there’s any self-criticism I can do for myself, it’s that I blew up this issue to encompass things that may have taken my own arguments out of context. This was a plain and simple issue of violence which I blew up to an issue of agrarian reform, the chasm between rich and poor, and the capriciousness of golf.
Guilty as charged, ladies and gentlemen, guilty as charged; if that means I should be arrested, fine. As you wish.
For all intents and purposes, it f**ked up the general sentiment of some of my readers and told them that the tiff is a manifestation of so many other injustices, while in a way framing the injustice done to a couple of Government officials, a 56-year-old man, and a 14-year-old boy. Who goes into a golf course armed with bodyguards to play a round of golf?
Well, how many of us happen to be 56-year-old men with 14-year-old sons who play in golf clubs? How many of us happen to be high-ranking Government officials with bodyguards everywhere? When you’re in the picture, you can’t see the frame.
Yet for all that can be said – and was said – about this issue, it’s that the blogging community’s outrage towards the incident is not founded on mere emotions (or in my case, neurosis), but on experiences that are taken for granted, taken to be so ordinary, everyday occurences of living in our “hopelessly corrupt” nation ruled by those who have the power over us.
Unfounded? Maybe; we say the same things in retrospect with issues like People Power, EDSA Dos, and all sorts of actions where we may have made a mistake we cannot undo. Such is the nature of opining, of raging, of criticizing, and yes, even blogging.
That right to rage – against the Pangandamans for abusing power, against the dela Pazes for a half-true story that may have all of us flim-flammed – must be taken into context. Here was an incident, among so many other incidents, that we focused on, that we took a stand on, and some of us get chastised for, perhaps even embroiled in “buzz,” whatever godforsaken s**t that is. That rage, that anger, shows us that all is not well, and indeed, in Bambee’s words, f**ked up. And when everything’s f**ked up, it’s almost certainly a question of who’s being f**ked, and who’s doing the f**king.
And none of us want to be f**ked, so to speak. We all want to leave with dignity intact.
Sure, the criticism is wanting. Sure, the attack is lacking. Sure, some of us (myself included) will have to chew on a boot because of what we said, because of what we felt, because of how we responded. Pre-judgmental? OK, yeah. Yet surely, in the end, we all have the right to bitch about it, and put ourselves in the shoes of everyday people who suffer varying degrees of injustice. We all have the right to take a side, arm ourselves to the hilt, and say “Hey! Whoa! You ain’t doing this to us.” That’s something you want to say to the whole race of fixers and kotong cops and corruptible, bribe-able public officials, which in this case, something that was said to the Pangandamans.
Even if it doesn’t seem at all to be right. In the end, what we want is what’s right. No matter what side that is.