HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated December 13, 2009 12:00 AM
It’s not only me. Many people I have known for a while, and even people I have just met seem to be suffering from the blahs. This is not the usual regular holiday blues or depression that besets many at this time of year. It is something else.
It seems that most people feel like they have been under siege these past few months. There are the big losses of livelihood and possessions, and even lives caused by typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng and Santi that many still have to recover from. Then there is the demoralizing onslaught of horrific events that have been playing out in our national life, leaving everyone in fear, shock, anger and unadulterated disgust.
The monumental ineptness of rescue efforts by the government during recent natural calamities has left many reeling. Seeing many of our friends, neighbors and countrymen completely at the mercy of Mother Nature, and government practically useless in abetting much of the suffering, we have begun to question what kind of officials we have in place, or why we even have a government at all.
The saving grace in all this is that the people themselves realized almost instantly and collectively that we would have to provide the help ourselves — taumbayan helping taumbayan. Thus, the great outpouring of compassion from everywhere energized many and neutralized the cynicism that was creeping in big-time.
The phenomenal victory of Manny Pacquiao over Miguel Cotto, making him a candidate for best boxer of all time, helped lift our sagging spirits, no doubt. What a guy! Watching the fight, I had moments similar to what I felt when I wrote, “Kay sarap pala maging Pilipino” in the song Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo.
Then, Efren Peñaflorida winning the CNN Hero of the Year award lifted us up even higher and made us feel very proud that, yes, we do have what it takes to be world-class. And yes, there are good people among us who can and are showing the way out of the rut of ignorance, poverty and helplessness. There is hope.
But then, just as the heroism of Efren inspired us collectively, the spoiler — the evil that often appears to sabotage our own dreams of liberation — moved in swiftly with a counter 1-2-3 punch.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, defying the most cynical among us, announced that she was not through with us yet and was filing her candidacy for Congress. Wow! This woman, despite garnering the lowest rating any president has ever had in our history continues to wantonly, brazenly pursue her ambitions. No, she was not stepping down, and with matching timing, her heavily-stacked Supreme Court asserted that incumbents or persons in position of authority need not give up their present powers if they wish to run for public office. Unbelievable shamelessness!
Ominous clouds suddenly hovered overhead, threatening to end the sunshine of Manny and Efren’s world-class victories.
And as if GMA’s caper wasn’t dizzying enough, a few days later came the most shocking, barbaric, grizzly and horrible murders that went beyond any evil we had ever experienced as a people. The Maguindanao massacre of 57 Filipinos in the most heartless and brutal fashion made us recoil in horror and disbelief at what a Filipino could do to another Filipino. The inhumanity of the execution, rape and mutilation of the women, and the crude burial by backhoe was incomprehensible in its animalistic butchery. I felt sick hearing the accounts and almost threw up when I saw the pictures circulated on the Internet.
What kind of monsters are these who are capable of such depravity? And what kind of president could even have a history of being cozy with such moral cretins? Why did it take her four days to act on the situation? And why did her spokesperson say that the horrific event would not put an end to GMA’s close relationship with the Ampatuans?
It was mind-boggling hearing Lorelei Fajardo say that. We already knew that we had a shady, morally- challenged president who wants to stay in power at all cost, but we had no idea what that “cost” would be. The Ampatuans delivered ARMM to GMA during the last two elections with results that defied logic and the projections based on statistics applicable elsewhere in the country. If that means cozying up to low-life butchers such as these, then so be it.
Many are worried that GMA’s declaration of martial law in Maguindanao may be another manipulative card she is playing to save the Ampatuans from the long arm of the law, if only to prevent the dismantling of their cheating machine that has served her well.
How can we not speculate when 79 percent of us Filipinos do not trust her to ever do the right thing?
Last Tuesday, Governor Grace Padaca of Isabela, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, a handicapped media person who has thrice beat the powerful Dy clan in elections, was unseated by the Comelec after a spurious recount. It won’t be long before Among Ed Panlilio of Pampanga will also be unseated in favor of GMA’s friend, Lilia Pineda. The sky seems to be falling for those who had high hopes that the start of true change might come in 2010.
These past months, I have been asking myself and speculating on the future of the Philippines after the 2010 elections. Will Noynoy win? Will we have a resurgence of elected reformists who will enter the scene with a “real change” agenda? But all I am seeing right now is that the prospect of getting rid of GMA in 2010 is almost frustratingly nil.
The resident evil refuses to leave us. You know what it’s like when you keep flushing the toilet and the excreta refuses to disappear?
If the pundits are right (and more and more of what they have been saying is turning out to be correct), she is going to be a congresswoman with her eye on the speakership which will put her within stone’s throw of acquiring her greatest desire — Charter change — after which she can impose herself further on us as prime minister. For life!
I am so sorry to say that her chances of succeeding are great, despite her overwhelming rejection by the Filipino people. Why? It’s very simple, really. We all know she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. That’s more than what can be said about the millions who hate her but who only complain, blog, tweet, march once or twice in a demonstration, vote for the reform candidates, but will do no more. GMA is willing to show up every day and do what she needs to do to fulfill her ambition. Can we say the same for ourselves?
And that’s why we Filipinos are doomed, for now. Only when we wake up and fight for this country like it is really ours will we get the government we desire.
There is a Hindu saying that goes, “There is a dream dreaming us.” Look around you. What are you seeing? Are you seeing a world where your dreams are taking place? Of course not! Whose dream are we seeing then? GMA’s, the Ampatuans’, the trapos’, the polluters’, the predators’ of the poor are all playing out their dreams. Why are we allowing this? Why are we allowing ourselves to even be part of it?
It’s time to wake up, and dream our own dreams, act on them and pursue them, like free peoples elsewhere. Let us do something constructive everyday— learn about the issues, engage, convince or inspire someone. Join an org, get involved, be active and stick to it. Fight the forces of the nightmare that rules over us. Do anything except be a passive player in GMA’s dream. This is how we can reclaim our country.