Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why I Cannot Support Another EDSA Uprising

We are at a critical stage in our nation's development.

I support freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in our Constitution.

But, I cannot support another 'OUST' movement. Permit me to be the Jose Rizal during the Spanish Revolution and not the Katipuneros' Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio. On the so-called 'Pro Democracy' 'Anti Duterte' side, we have constant grumblings on EJKs, lack of due process, investment chill (is the shift to China really good?), unjust climate leading up to fascism, dictatorship and the much dreaded martial law - which still hasn't happened by the way.

On the Pro-Duterte side, we have the various ragtag army of trolls, social media misfits that I wouldn't even care to name, the 'unholy alliance' of 'alleged criminal politicians' and the legions shouting 'death to drug addicts' and strangely enough, a lot of Christians and pseudo Christian sects.

I'm sick of both, to be frank.

The former for its hug the establishment, status quo coddling, protect the interests of the rich, blow up the trumpet of self-righteousness, while basically perpetuating what has been the 'kalakaran' of governance. Most of those involved in this side are the so called 'progressives', so called pro-Democracy, definitely pro-Business and a host of other things.

The latter for its gung ho anarchic we're macho men out to kick some badass attitude never mind due process and the law while still coddling the other 'elites' that the former side has put in jail on corruption charges. Not to mention, the chaotic exercise of power. I've met some of the staunchest supporters of this side, and I can tell that some may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - not from war, but from some definitely mind shocking crime that's been committed against them or their loved ones.

Both have doubtful moral ascendancy.

Reason 1. Anyone up for EDSA #99?

Just how many times do we have to do an 'EDSA'? This would be the 3rd or 4th, if ever.

That isn't far from the possibility as we have been racking up the number of revolts ever since the Spanish Colonial period. It's always been like that historically. People don't want the leadership, they go march with their trumpets or bolos while detailing the excesses of the leadership and installing new leaders - but with ties to just another set of the 'elites'. The truth is: the ordinary INDIO'S government, no matter who is in charge is held on the necks by multinational interests, large conglomerates with onerous contractual obligations, the traditional elites with their own interests and the constant influences of the international political climate

There are just many things that we indios cannot even begin to comprehend nor control.

I believe that we should not take to the streets every time something happens that we don't like. We have fragile institutions that need nurturing and defending.

Reason 2. Removing PDuts from power will further embolden those who did wrong before

Granted we also cannot allow the trampling of our Constitutional rights and do away with the rule of law. Those are important and must be upheld. But fear is the only language that those who do wrong understand. They may not be afraid of the law, they may not be afraid of God, they may not be afraid of so many things - but they should be afraid of what they stand to lose if they do not follow the spirit of the law

It's a complicated quandary, full of hypocrisies, full of contradictions - but one that 16 million people voted to answer. We are at the cusps of a pivotal time in our history, where we either change ourselves or we continue to let the structures of old continue. 

The administration of PDuts is awash with its hands dipped in blood, that is true, but it is an organic reaction to the catastrophic failure of the judicial system to address flaws and concerns about how corruptible we are as a whole nation - as a people. Yes, we, in general as a people are corrupt due to tradition, due to practice, due to so many things that hold us back.  Due to our own failures to own up and be accountable for our mistakes.

Moral ascendancy is a difficult theme and not as simplistic as some are trying to portray.

"There is none righteous, not even one." Romans 3:10

Reason 3. I'll just stop here, knowing that what I write will probably not be read anyway. 

The gist of it all is that, yes, as far as I can read on the news, things are going to the shitter on so many fronts. That's endemic of the Filipino getting wounded, bruised, scratched from an iron grip that has existed long before PDuts or even Marcos. 

We are our own very worst enemy. 
Our own weaknesses lend us to mistakenly think, that one day or one week of rallying can change things. 
Our own weaknesses lend us to delude ourselves into thinking that all it takes to bring righteousness back to the fore, is by removing one man, and installing another.  
Our own weaknesses make us who we are, insecure brown Indios who don't take the blame for our own mistakes. 
Our own weaknesses drive us to think we can take shortcuts to progress and do away with institutions and abstract concepts. 

Yes, we are all hypocrites. Yes, we are all fallen. But politics has never been about moral ascendancy. It's about the authoritative allocation of scarce resources. That's the real gist of the matter.

We need a third force that can change our very culture, our very selves if we really want to transform. But as it is, all I can see is a perpetuation of a vicious cycle that has been going on for ages.

These are difficult times when it is hard if not impossible to fathom which side is telling the truth. But suffice to say, I'd rather content myself with the fact that I won't allow any side to use me for whatever their purposes. 

There has to be something else.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Christ as the Victim of Death Penalty - My Response to CBCP's criticism of Manny Pacquiao

Politics and religion always seems to mix even if in an ideal modern democracy it (ideally) shouldn't.

The issue of death penalty is a contentious one.  But as it is, the general perception I have of my mostly barbaric countrymen is encapsulated in a single statement: "The fear of death deters most criminals." This is echoed in countless neighborhood conversations and street talk.

A few days ago, the CBCP (Anti Death Penalty) issued a statement noting to Born Again Christian Senator Boxer Manny Pacquiao (Pro Death Penalty), that "Christ is one of the victims of Death Penalty". The simple and concise statement strikes at the heart of this traditional nation - if it still has one. Judging by the silence of majority of the population concerning extra judicial killings, it appears that many either don't know or don't care. Ignorance and escapism is indeed bliss in this country more enthralled by the Miss Universe pageant than of the plight of thousands murdered with no day in court to prove their innocence.

I have personal experiences regarding criminals. Yes, they are mostly poor. And yes, in most times, I have applied grace and mercy. To be honest most of the time, looking back at the end results or a few years after the fact, grace and mercy made me feel weak in the eyes of others. Up to now, I have qualms wrapping my mind around the overall concept of justice and retribution as I see how communities degenerate when those who should be liable are not punished - almost as if there was no law to correct them.

Of course I also know of redemption and of the mercies of the Lord that have changed lives.
Of course I also know of the weak criminal justice system that's prone to corruption and manipulation.

But in a country that's fast growing in so many aspects, people should be made liable for the acts that they commit. A functioning and thriving democracy can only survive in such. That is the essence of freedom - it comes with responsibility and accountability. Sometimes, ordinary life reflects things that are more akin to anarchy if not a dysfunctional democracy. Government, in my personal experience, mostly touches my life come taxation time.

What do I think Manny Pacquiao's Response Should Be?

That Jesus Christ did so with foreknowledge. How can you be a victim if you willingly accept it? He knew and accepted that going to the cross is how it should be. He could have just ran or said that he's innocent. He cried in the garden of Gethsemane. He pleaded to his Father if there was another way, but of course, He already knew the answers. Jesus Christ willingly and sacrificially went to the cross. By definition, hardly a victim.

CHRISTIANITY WOULD NOT EXIST IF CHRIST DIDN'T GO TO THE CROSS. He KNEW it from the beginning! (And I'm saying this, na para bang nanduduro). 

Of course, my civil, legal and political discourse would be totally different. Citing the fact that most first world nations with progressive ideals do not implement the death penalty. But hey, this is the Philippines, where discourse is often emotional and less logical.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Political Blogging

I've veered away from political blog posts as well as writing in general because I've been noticing a disturbing trend: the rise of partisan and hurtful online discussions.

Spiteful, vengeful, angry and extremely disturbing: social media has metamorphosed into this beast of a hydra. Gone are the glory days when blogging was for fun and later on, for profit. Gone are the days, when we, the digital pioneers of a certain tech era marveled at innovation after innovation after disruption. We are in a new stage now. A stage where everybody has already gotten on board the ship that sailed.

But with everyone on board the ship of technology, "viral" has taken on a totally different meaning.

Sick thoughts, sick words from sick people deprived of logic, sound and simple sanity have permeated the technosphere to the extent that rational debate has virtually become impossible. Somebody will always say something that toe the line of their preferred viewpoint.

Today, the "Dox"

There is a war going on right now. And it is a war for the minds and hearts of whoever will believe. Philippine society is practically polarized - or maybe, the perception of society as polarized exists. You are either on "this side" or "that side". The middle ground has seemingly disappeared and that's dangerous. 

Today, a man will be doxxed (personal details revealed to the general public) and it may be premature to cite the justifications, and I believe it is unrighteous to do so, regardless of the things he said which offended people. 

To be sure, these are difficult times. As a writer, you can be as cold to the point of irrelevance, or as hot as to invite more flames.

Rusi MP-Y-110: My First Motorcycle

I was looking for something low end, affordable, decent and just enough to help us save on our transportation costs. Riding a tricycle here in Lipa City is slightly weird and definitely expensive, but that's another story ("Magkano binabayad niyo hanggang sa inyo?" "Teka, di ba dapat kayo nagsasabi kung magkano binabayad namin?")

I checked on and there she was. My first motorcycle. She was a Rusi MP-Y-110. I didn't know a single thing about motorcycles. But my options were limited so, I said, why not give it a try? Fast forward to five months later and the experience is exhilarating. From discovery, experimentation, road testing to daily usage, I can say that owning a motorcycle is indeed is going to be my next hobby.

I got it from a guy who lives somewhere in Tambo at a bargain price of Php12,000. Of course, later on I discovered that it had no battery, no Vendix gear, the front wheel is already kalbo, and the horn button had to be replaced.

I bought a new wheel, interior and exterior, had the horn button replaced with a new fuse, performed my own change oil, had it tested from our place to Balete, to Kinalaglagan to Mataas na Kahoy and back, no hitches.

First Time

As a first time bike rider it's pretty awesome to ride here in the provinces. The air is fresh, there's practically no traffic (once I learned how to manage to squeeze between vehicles) and the only drawback is you get wet. It's like riding a bicycle, only you don't get tired.

After a few months with my first bike, I'm thinking of upgrading a bit as there are limitations to the Rusi bike.