ACOUPLE of Yellow partisans are asking why people have not denounced Duterte over #MRTbulok in the same fiery manner that we did against PNoy.
It is a charge that is more dangerous to those who hurl it: It makes us remember how Yellows’ misrule and incompetence helped make Duterte.
This odd, insipid way of thinking is so Yellow, if you ask me. They think Duterte’s rising tyranny invalidate the criticisms against PNoy. They arrogantly continue to preach a “black and white” mentality that misrepresents themselves as “pure white” and all the others as “evil black.” They preach and thrive on the false gospel of perpetual division.
Commuters forever detest PNoy and Jun Abaya for their gross incompetence in maintaining the MRT for six years and for purchasing and ordering ill-fitting train coaches. Now, we denounce Duterte and Art Tugade for their gross incompetence in wasting more than a year in either returning the train coaches or in looking for possible solutions like retrofitting the ill-fitting trains. We can actually denounce both the PNoy and Duterte regimes, right?
The Yellows are insulting the intelligence of Metro Manila citizens for insinuating that we lack acumen in determining political accountability and the need for political action. Metro Manila rose in protest against Duterte’s honors for Marcos and against Duterte’s policy of promoting extrajudicial killings in his anti-drug war.
If the Yellows are really sincere in fighting for the commuters and the taxpayers who pay for the lease payments to the MRT consortium, their legislators in both houses should do everything in their power to have the trains returned, and to prosecute PNoy and Abaya for their incompetent purchasing decision. Of course, they have not done so. The MRT issue is merely a political weapon against Duterte and the public they vindictively misdjudge.
It is not unlike the charge – again principally coming from Yellows – that voters “made a mistake” in electing Duterte. True, it betrays an arrogance that they alone made a correct decision in voting for the right candidate. Not just arrogance though, but a failure in political leadership. The Yellows cannot lead people from inside Congress and in the parliament of the streets, and so they blame them. And they would at other times wonder why there’s no outrage against Duterte, or why many are turned off in protests and alliances that involve them or which they mount.
The trouble brought by Yellows was so heavy and the wounds they inflicted on the public still fresh. Duterte’s minions capitalize on this, and remain a powerful reminder on why people roundly rejected t Yellow misrule in 2016.
Which brings us to Duterte’s claims to the mantle of change. After more than a year in office, his regime is known more for moving towards tyranny, rehabilitating and mimicking Marcosian authoritarianism, rejecting accountability, weakening institutions of checks and balances, promoting a culture of impunity and cosmetic changes. These do not by any stretch of the imagination invalidate people’s desire for authentic change; in fact, Duterte emboldens the people to carry on the fight for fundamental change.
Duterte and his minions claim a Yellow-Red conspiracy to bring down the tyrannical regime. But in fact, some Yellows are as anti-communist as Duterte is, as we can see from the noises coming from Superficial Gazette and Akbayan, the coalition partner of the Liberal Party (former ruling coalition of Daang Matuwid). This anti-Red allergy is a common reaction arising from the mutual disdain of Yellows and Duterte to the substantive and radical reforms the Reds represent and which have mightily and consistently pushed.
Of course, this is not about Reds or activists possessing what is arguably the best or most correct analysis of the situation, or the best and most correct program of government. In fact, one does not need to be Red to be for human rights, human dignity, competent governance, sovereignty and comprehensive social policy. One needs only to be a patriot and a democrat.
The people’s greatest political tasks today are to stop the killings and Duterte’s rising tyranny. There’s a broad and growing consensus about these issues. The Reds, Yellows, independents, moderates, young ones, the once young, an increasing number of OFWs, the national minorities, and even many of Duterte’s non-fanatical supporters are objectively united on these issues.
This consensus and coalition have not found the courage to come together. We must encourage them to do so. The Yellows’ sense of moral superiority and divisive “black and white” politics don’t help. They must redeem themselves by repenting and resisting from the temptation of portraying themselves as saviors.
PNoy portrayed himself as savior from Arroyo’s Strong Republic, and Duterte as champion against Daang Matuwid. We can’t afford to premise our political action on any new false political idol, and cheapen our national aspirations as mere blessings from them. We can’t reduce discourse and policy to showbiz fandom levels.
We deserve a better, national and democratic kind of politics that seeks to arouse, organize and mobilize the people, and not to blame them.