Pi­noy idols

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - By TONYO CRUZ Fol­low me on Twit­ter @tony­ocruz and check out my blog tony­ocruz. com

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.