Musa Dimasidsing

I am breaking two personal rules with this entry: expressing anger and writing about politics.

Musa Dimasidsing, the district supervisor who was shot dead, was the election official who exposed the election fraud and other anomalies in Maguindanao. I was so shocked and deeply saddened when I heard it on the news a few days ago.

I tried to imagine being in his place. Here he was, a teacher who probably taught a lot of important values to his students and was probably so troubled by what he saw in Maguindanao–the cheating, the fraud and the outright disenfranchisement of his fellow Filipinos. He had to do something.

He must have thought of his choices very intensely. On the one hand, he could just keep quiet and pretend that nothing happened, and it would have been the safe thing to do. After all, everyone seemed to be doing exactly this, resigning to the fact that this is just the way it had always been. Besides, what can one man do?

On the other hand, he could stand up and speak out the truth about the hypocrisy that is the election practice in the place he lived. For sure he knew there were risks, and he must have thought about the consequences. He probably faced the inevitable question that haunted him and that was, what is the right thing to do?

He knew exactly what he had to do and to hell be damned. He exposed the fraud that he saw. One night, gunmen came and snuffed out his life.

A few days before, Commissioner Abalos was belittling all the complaints about Maguindanao and implying they were mere hearsay. It was only when media had exposed the blatant cheating that he cooled his heels about recognizing the CoCs from there. He had no choice if he wanted to salvage the remaining shreds of his tattered reputation.

I am so sickened and angry that evil men can carry out out their plans to sow fear on the people of Maguindanao. I am so angry that our politicians are involved in this. Regular, ordinary people will not cheat just to cheat. Our politicians do not give a rat’s ass about the democratic process, and that is the saddest truth about it.

If the death of Musa Dimasidsing is to mean something, we must express outrage and let our leaders know about it. The Garcis of Comelec should be ostracized and punished. The Comelec, if it has any decency left should get to the bottom of this and punish the perpetrators. And yet, I know that as I write this, I sound just like another angry writer to our newspapers whose sound and fury will MOST LIKELY amount to nothing.

BUT THEN AGAIN, IT MAY AMOUNT TO SOMETHING IF ALL OF US EXPRESS OUR OUTRAGE. For Musa Dimasidsing and what he stood for and paid dearly with his life, we must rage against the cheating machine and topple it because it tramples on our rights to freely choose our leaders.

16 thoughts on “Musa Dimasidsing”

  1. Hi Jim,
    I’m one of your avid readers and like you I also migrated with my family 5 years ago to Canada. I know you have your own reasons for leaving the country but in my case I felt that the Philippines is a hopeless case (although I have given it a lot of thoughts lately but that’s another story). Everytime I hear about people like Musa Dimasidsing I have only admiration for them because of their courage to correct what is wrong. I think the Philippines is in a fight or flight situation and they chose the path less travelled. Unfortunately for many of our kababayans, they remained to be apathetic. Your one “small” voice will add to the growing clamor for change so go ahead break your rules more often. Best regards, FBS (Toronto)

  2. As a fellow Filipino, I love you and have the highest respect for you.

    As a young girl I witnessed how you fought not only for democracy but also for justice for Ninoy Aquino’s death.

    Ninoy was not an ordinary man – he was probably the most popular public figure in our country.

    Now I can sense the same energy of anger and frustration from you for this “nobody” who was shot dead from Maguindanao.

    From Maguindanao!!!

    I truly admire how you give the same amount of attention and respect to a big/popular public figure and a nobody from…sorry but I don’t know where Maguindanao is!

    Jim, you are truly a great Filipino. You love your country as much as you love your fellowmen. Like you I hope Musa Dimasidsing gets the justice he deserves.

    Being away from home I can only offer my prayers and blessings.


  3. I’m so glad you broke your two personal rules sir, because it needs to be said. But as you have said, all this anger will most likely yet again amount to nothing, thus poor Musa’s death will be yet another in vain.

    The reason I say this is because I believe the will to change all of this has to come from the Filipino people.

    Filipinos only seem to complain about corruption & law-breaking when it disadvantages them. Whilst they get the benefit of it, they love it.

    It starts with running red lights, jumping queues, piggy-backing power & cable TV, littering, taxi drivers not using their meters, buying & selling pirated products, unlocking stolen cell phones, & stretches all the way up to rigging elections, kidnapping, hold-upers etc. But the attitude behind the crime is the same – the Filipinos find ways to justify their rotten behaviour, & it has become a part of their psyche to do so.

    Wrong is wrong. It doesn’t much matter whether you are taking a performing artist’s income from them or taking a person’s life from them.

    I truly believe there is a fix to these problems, & the blueprint already exists, but the desire for change from the Filipinos themselves has to be the first step. Look at NYC for an example of how change can happen. When the people in NYC said “enough is enough’ to the crime rate, the broken windows policy was conceived, whereby they addressed the attitude of crime by strictly enforcing even the minor offences (such as the breaking of windows) so that these crimes don’t then grow into the major ones. It was a hugely successful program for reducing their crime rate.

    But whenever I think about this subject I come back to the same issue. How does the message of change get out to the Filipinos? How can we instill the desire for change?

    FBS, there’s something much worse than apathy from Filipinos that have migrated, & that is the interfering behaviours. I personally know of a number of Filipinos here that return home every election time for one purpose – to assist their family members with their vote buying. As well I get emails from Filipinos here trying to muster support for supposed coup attempts (although I suspect they are only lip service, not real attempts). Just look at what just about every Filipino does when they return home – buy goods without receipts, buy pirated goods, ride in taxis without insisting the meter be turned on, etc., etc… And they teach their kids who grew up overseas that it is ok to go to the Philippines & do that.

    I would much rather apathetic Filipinos who have migrated, than the pathetic ones I have mentioned.


  4. Jim,

    Im writing from the Bikol Region.

    It was only last night that I learned about Musa Dimasidsing. I agree with your observations and share your outrage.

  5. when talking about the philippines as a nation i have only two emotions: frustration, and sadness.

    sometimes i don’t want to watch the news anymore, because everyday is seems like its getting worse, and what really pisses me off is that nobody’s really doing anything about it.

    election times are the worst. people talk so much about how evil corruption and cheating are, and yet you see them waiting IMPATIENTLY beside their gates for the envelopes to come, you see them huddled together gossiping about which candidate dished out the most money, kung sino ‘yung pinakamalaking binigay, kung sino ‘yung pinakamaliit. some even have the gall to complain about how little they received. there are places where people will refuse to cast their votes unless they are paid to do so, there are people who don’t vote kasi tinatamad sila. some people vote for the same lousy, inutil politician who has been sitting for decades without anything to show because “natudan na” — bikol word for “nakasanayan na”, or they are used to him or her already. believe it or not, these people had to be coaxed, bribed, just to vote FOR CHANGE.

    politicians and citizens – sadly, pareho lang sila. there must be something seriously wrong with our psyche, how else can you raise your kids dreaming for them to be DHs in Saudi (not that i’m undermining them) or as Japayukis in Japan? what can you say of a country where doctors “go back to school” to be nurses ABROAD, when there are barely doctors here to help the people? and what of our politicians whose greatest achievements so far are bickering, grandstanding and throwing mud at each other, at the expense of the people they claim to serve? sometimes i wish mapipi na lang ang mga politiko natin, so that we will be spared the BS that regularly come out of their mouths.

    how can we have change if we keep voting for the same rotten people, and how can we have change if we don’t start with ourselves?

    when i voted this year i did so with the sinking feeling that there won’t be much hope for change, knowing the Filipinos’ seemingly penchant for self-flagellation.

    you can see disillusionment written all over my post. long post, and i still have so much to say.

    i do not know where to source my hope from, but i’ll keep looking. i hope i can still find some, before i make up my mind about leaving this country altogether, for my sake and for my family’s. i love the philippines, but as the song goes, sometimes love just ain’t enough.

    PS. thank you po sir jim for dropping by my blog, it made my day =)

  6. Thank you for writing this Jim, I’m in the process of collecting the reactions of bloggers, and also encouraging other Filipino bloggers to write their reaction on this senseless murder…

    We are making a difference Jim, change is constant, thus we must always be working for it…

  7. Mr Dimasidsing’s death must not be in vain. He dief for a cause, to break the wall of silence over the continuing crime against people’s right for their votes to be counted.

  8. (I hope you won’t mind if I post a few words from my blog. It’s somewhat related.)

    A terrible evil stalks our beloved land. It knows no borders, spares not even the most helpless, and cares nothing about God, principles, integrity. or the truth. It is an evil that deceives our people. It tries to convince the masses that the causes of their poverty are such lies like “overpopulation,” or an “unmet demand for contraception,” or a “dogmatic Church”, “meddling priests,” or some other nonsense that will serve as a cheap excuse. It is the evil that tries to hide the real cause of the numbing, crushing poverty that robs our people of dignity, health, their rights, and even their lives every single day.

    We are a people terribly oppressed by our very own: by those who steal our votes, waste our tax money buying the political loyalty of community leaders, and use the police to do their dirty work. They sit in high places and make boring, platitudinous speeches extolling their hollow achievements. The trophies of their mindless bad governance and unquenchable greed are the dead Everymen that work and toil only to leave behind grieving families without enough money to bury their departed loved ones.

    Someday, justice will be meted out to the Trapos (traditional politicians) that have destroyed this country.

  9. I am glad that you published such reaction on the killing of “Musa Dimasidsing”.

    When you went back to RP for the Pinoy Dream Academy show, it created a positive view for our country. At least a person of your stature have shown support to the country.

    I just do not understand, why so many government officials continue to destroy the Philippines.

    You are right that we need to condemn the killing to its fullest. I hope that justice will be given to the family of Musa and to the Filipinos as well.

  10. Most Filipinos will listen to a message delivered in a song or show. Jim, it would be good to honor Musa’s memory, this way. Who knows, the people might finally listen and really condemn all those cowardly bastards.

  11. Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman and philosopher, said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Musa Dimasidsing was one good man who tried to do something and paid for it with his life. Ninoy Aquino was another. He paid the same price. Both men knew what was on the line, and still crossed it. They did this, I think, because both carried the same conviction that Filipinos are good men, but have the strength and fortitude to, at the proper time, do something. We remember PEOPLE POWER 1986 don’t we.

  12. I agree with cmoraza re composing a song for Musa D. because Pinoys do pay attention to every word and meaning of the song…

    …unfortunately our kababayans at the moment seems to be more hooked and interested at what’s happening with Ruffa and Gretchen.


  13. Dear Jim,

    Discipline is a hard word to follow. It takes extreme self control to fall prey to temptations. Unfortunately, people, regardless of where you are, who you are succumb so easily.

    It’s so convenient to look the other way than do the right thing. Philippines is like Sodom and Gomorrah (hopefully, I spelled it right). 90% are succumbing to greed and lust. 10% are just staying afloat. I pity the children and the elders. They have no voice and have no choice.

    I feel sorry for my country, but change has to come from within and within does not exist among my fellow countrymen especially those in power. They are so intoxicated they cannot distinguish reality from fantasy. No harm intended, Jim, but Filipinos are saturated with entertainment via TV, radio and films to create a facade of prosperity, but we know the truth.

    Unemployment was invented in the Philippines along with other third world countries. Same scenarios, drunk with power. Few voices are heard and drowned.

    Jim, I have no answer like anybody else in this blog. I live in Santa Clarita, California and seeing and hearing the travesties we have back home are hard to even imagine.

    May Musa rest in peace for what he believes in. He did the right thing in life and he paid dearly for it. Just like Jesus.


  14. For me, all those who run for office are the same. Our government and politics are just one big circus. A freakshow, really. I hate politicians. Why in the world would they invest millions of pesos on campaigns? Why would they let their friends help them win? For 10,000 pesos a month? COME ON! They are power hungry and they are thieves! How can you be that way when there are so many people going hungry? Really, how can they sleep at night?

    The man you speak of – his life and his choices have not been in vain. He stood for what is good, and his life has been justified.

  15. dear mr. paredes,

    peace. i am ramon bayron, a freelance multi-media writer (film, tv, print) here in manila.

    like you, i’d like to believe i am an artist who, more often than not, finds it hard not to be influenced by the external environment and heed the inner voice within in the practice and pursuit of artistic expression.

    that is why i find it so reassuring when a prominent artist like yourself dares to step up and speak out for marginalized individuals and brave ideas that are either being ignored, or silenced or are found to be insignificant to be consequential.

    it is my fear that the case of musa dimasidsing is falling in this category. he and his story will be forgetten faster than it was remembered.

    the “musa dimasidsing story” as it is currently being played out “lacks” the “dramatic impact” of say “the flor contemplacion hanging” or the ninoy aquino assassination- stories that created so much impact it cannot but move the otherwise passive majority to decisive action.

    it could be the teacher’s relative distant location to manila or to the cultural cloak that veils him from the many. i don’t know. i could only guess.

    but if i may offer this nagging theory. it could also be because the voice of indignation from the genuinely concerned and arguably more learned individuals are expressed in the language that the majority do not speak- thus, the loss of the message for the many.

    led by this theory, i decided to write you not only to express my admiration but to ask you for a favor or two-

    a) could you translate your post on the musa dimasidsing murder in pilipino?

    b) may i be allowed to post/repost it (the original english and/or the translated version) in my online accounts to help spread the word?

    unfortunately i could only offer giving you full credit for the said post and my sincerest appreciation.

    maraming salamat at mabuhay po kayo, g. paredes!

    please continue writing…


    ramon bayron

    ps- yes, australia is such a lovely, organized, well-managed society. breathing its fresh air alone constantly reminded me of how good life can and should be and how we are messing it up here in the Philippines.

  16. cristina–It makes me wonder too how they can spend millions on a campaign for such a small salary a month.

    We definitely need electoral reform.

    Ramosm–just read your letter now. Will try to do something this week and send it. My Tagalog is not as elegant as my English!

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