• Abandoning friendships, betraying decency: A personal account



    I WRITE this in the first person to make it personal and authentic. After all, the personal is also political.

    I voted for Binay and Marcos. And now I support President Duterte. And some of my friends are trying so hard to understand me. They think I have gone to the dark side.

    Enemies will always attack me. They will always find fault in what I post or write, or say, and one should no longer be surprised, more so in this season of division and polarization.

    However, what throws me off, for which I must admit I need to recover from, is when friends, or at least that’s how I see them, attack me.

    I seldom post in other people’s walls in Facebook, since I have instructed myself to let people be with their politics. This is also to avoid being accused of invading another person’s territory. A few days back, however, I took exception to a post by one of my former students at UP Los Baños, who made this audacious generalization that all people who criticize Leni Robredo are “bayaran,” or paid hacks. I reminded her that I am a critic of Robredo but she would know that I am not paid to bash her Vice President. Perhaps as a sign of yielding to her former professor, she said that I was excluded.

    Fair enough.

    Until another friend, who was also one of our alumni, and without mincing his words, insisted that I was a “bayaran.” He posted this publicly in the open, knowing that I would definitely read it. To think that this is the same person who months ago chatted with me, asking me for advice regarding employment prospects considering that he already resigned from the university where he was working.

    A part of me, the indecent part, wanted to give him hell. But I reminded myself that it’s not worth it.

    I know I am not alone in this situation. There are many others like me who have been abandoned and attacked by their friends because we chose the side they hate.

    I am particularly targeted for making what they construe as terrible political choices.

    I voted for Jojo Binay, despite all the corruption allegations against him. I also voted for the son and namesake of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. And now, I am a supporter of Rodrigo Duterte, the cursing and uncouth outsider they accuse of being a mass murderer. How can one remain decent in the eyes of this crowd when all the choices I’ve made represented everything they worked so hard to diminish and demonize?

    In their political universe, I am night and they are day. I am crooked and they are straight. I am a follower of the evil villains while they are the disciples of saints and heroes.

    They think they are the decent ones. They are the guardians of morality, and the gatekeepers of political correctness. They are the protectors of human rights, and their task is to sweep away the abomination that is represented by my political choices.

    They are the decent ones, yet many of them fight for the rights of drug criminals, even as they turn a blind eye to the rights of their victims. They decry the death of the former as extra-judicial killing, even as they consider the latter as simply murder. They cry out for the abomination that is the former, while they settle for the ordinariness of the latter.

    They are the decent ones, yet they ignore, and even deny, the evidence of electoral fraud that may have attended Leni Robredo’s narrow win over Bongbong Marcos. Worse, some of them even consider it as an acceptable political karma for the Marcoses.

    They are the decent ones. They frown upon the cursing of President Duterte. They make an issue of his womanizing and misogyny They condemn him for these immoralities. Yet they refuse to condemn Leila de Lima for being a party in the commission of an immoral adulterous act. Worse, they even celebrated Leila’s frailty, and turned her into a hashtag for #everywoman, without even attempting to commiserate with the suffering of another woman, the legal wife.

    They are the decent ones. They accuse President Duterte of committing atrocities against innocent drug users and their families. They erupt in agreement every time critical media paint the President as a brutal killer and a human rights violator. But they are silent when the Philippine Daily Inquirer painted a member of the brutal Abu Sayyaf as a good kid.

    The country is now so divided. Friendships are being abandoned. Ironically, in the name of decency, decency is being betrayed. Several of my friends told me patronizingly that they were trying to understand why I am on the side of President Duterte and Bongbong Marcos.

    I have news for them. Decent friends don’t have to try. They just accept, respect, and understand.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. God has bless you with a talent in writing assertive opinion. Please continue to share your thoughts and share them. If you look at our current situation, it is very easy to identify that those criticizing the present government are the people or folks who are with the Aquino Administration. Instead of helping the Philippine government they are the one instrumental in attacking, creating false accusations and being indifferent even supplying wrong information to rest of the world to satisfy their own political and personal interest to destroy Our President. It so easy to see the hypocras of this “yellow” critics of the government. They are simply complicating and aggravating problems of the Filipino people. Truly there is a true democracy in the country as they freely criticize the government. I voted for Ms Grace Poe in the last election. However, just like you, there are many Filipinos who are aware of what is really happening and are now supporting Mr Duterte for a better Philippines! Mabuhay ka Mr Contreras!

    2. I think that you are one of the better writers on this paper. I don’t always agree with you, but that’s not important. Make your best friend the pursuit of the truth. Make your flock the people of the country. Keep on doing what you’re doing. There is a real need for voices such as yours. A lot of really great people in history pursued the truth for the masses and found themselves walking a lonely path. You’re in good company.

    3. Rene Evidente on

      If it is a consolation to you, you are not alone. Not just friends but relatives, too.

    4. They say it’s better to have bad friends than to not have friends at all. But friends aren’t born, they are made. You, good sir, should make better friends.

    5. Continue doing what is appropriate and right for you are not alone in this fight! Do not despise. Soon, these friends will be back and laughingly discussing with them the folly we have been through from this exercise. In Politics nothing is permanent!

    6. arnel amador on

      two thumbs up prof! i voted MDS and Bongbong but now supproting meyor digong simply because he walks the talk (his talk), that would be enough for me. fighting illegal drugs and crimes his way is a choice between wrong and wrong. i’ve got mine, one can pick his choice…as the old saying says “hindi lahat ng tamang pagkain ay matamis, kung minsa’y mapait”…keep it up sir!!

    7. nahulog ang isang butil ng palay hanggang sa nawala ito sa iyong paningin…dapat ka bang mag-alala?.. huwag kapatid, dahil kapalit nito ay ang bagong sibol na palay na kalaunan ay magdadala ng maraming butil…….

      #goodReadParatiSaKolumMoProf.. #thankYou

    8. Sir, I know how this feels. Losing friends because of your political view. But we have to endure. The truth will always be the truth even if you are alone in proclaiming it. We are here with you.

    9. The Yellows simply belong to a different mental world, epitomized by their icon Noynoy Aquino who committed serious blunders during his administration but thought he was still on the Straight Path. But we on the other side understand and try hard not to condemn the Yellows because insanity is a valid defense.

    10. Life has a just way of getting back at you for misdeeds. And as cliche as it sounds — you reap what you sow –oftentimes more.

      You preach falsehoods, you get hate but you sow love you get blessings. As basic as it is. Truth is always revealed and never concealed.Friendship is a 2-way street.

      They were your close friends who have seen your persona up close and personal — right? Having followed your column for a while now, it is safe to assume there must be some aura of truth to what they wrote and said.

      One must atone for ones actions. Self denial won’t help either. Only a turn around of character will.

      • I felt like having a big laugh and will probably will gag myself to laughter when Gabs writes to you – seems like Gabs hates Tony’s guts every time he write something good about Duterte. There must be too much misery in such life that “You preach falsehoods, you get hate but you sow love you get blessings. As basic as it is. Truth is always revealed and never concealed.Friendship is a 2-way street”.

        I felt like writing 10 lines of 10 times of 3 hahaha but it seems inappropriate in this site and expect it to be ignored and deleted by the administrator.

        The last paragraph is even funnier as it judges Mr Contreras. “One must atone for ones actions. Self denial won’t help either. Only a turn around of character will.” How many “hail mary’s should we get him to say to atone for his sins – how many how “our father’s” should he recite? Honestly, where are you going with this Gabby?

      • They began as friends. Things were said and Ton- Ton did not like their ideas. They parted ways. He writes about it in his column and labels them (or anyone who does not share his views) as yellow. Notice this deceiving slant?

        He proclaims righteousness and justifies his action. All though it is obvious, he picked the losing candidates and shifted allegiance for whatever reason only he knows. Not academic at all.

        Readers (including Ave Maria) beware.

        Would you believe someone like him?

    11. only fools do not change their minds…..sir, you definitely arent a fool and i salute you for that.

    12. Wow, very well said! This is how I also look at the situation the Philippines is having. Decency should go both ways. There has to be no sides. The reason why I support Duterte is because finally someone is doing something against the problems of the country. He may not achieve his promise in 3-6 months, but that’s okay. The important thing is he is doing what he says.

      I hope people could just be more supportive about the good things the President has done and will be doing, and be critical of the bad things he do. There has to be balance. No more sides, no more political parties.

      For me it will just go down to what is more important. The rights of this criminals or the rights of the victims and would be victims? The rights of the corrupt or the rights of the tax payer? The rights of the politician or the rights of the voters?

    13. They are just your friends for a reason – either by knowing you they have a one step ahead. Everyone must respect ones life & comments, we can hate our friends due to hear action & comments – but never hate him/her as a person, because if we do it , wether he did a good deed we still hate it and find a reason to pull him down. I hate the cursing of the President, I am not use to it. Never heard my parents cursing each other or to other people. But I support the President because he faces problems, he did not deny problems in our country rather he share to us intelligence report where in fee individuals have the privelege to see. If he did not face our drug problem then who will do it – pusher & addicts are all over the country. If he will not face corruption then who will do it – yes the Aquino administration started it but as we all know it is just for a show & to instill fear to their enemies look out what happen to GMA, Corona. The current administration fight for corruption is real you can feel it down to agencies..

    14. Naku Kuya, you just have to live with it. You can never please everybody. There will always be a basher, hater, unbeliever or plain cynic. Just smile and live and let live. Importante lang na you write what you believe is right and just. Honor and Excellence lang Kuya.

    15. Prof, Like you I also voted for Binay and BBM. I am also giving Prez Digong my full support because he is a full reversal of the fake, corrupt and immoral Daang Matuwid. Our country will progress with Digong and soon-to-be VP BBM. Leni and her handlers are ‘salot’ to the nation.

    16. Luzy Canilao on

      Bravo. Mr. Contreras! Robredo, the CBCP and the rest of the self-professed “decent” people have enormously denigrated the true meaning of decency and their own selves by thinking, talking, and living the exact opposite. Puro porma at panlabas na anyo lang ang alam nilang decency; sobrang mababaw, walang lalim . . . they choose na masapawan ng sobrang panlabas nilang kadiliman ang supposed to be ay genuine goodness na nasa kanilang mga puso . . . a total eclipse of the heart… hypocrites! lol

    17. mon querubin on

      People who are against the Duterte administration doesn’t understand that our president (Duterte) is trying to put us in the right direction. The Filipinos know this but some of them (super duper minority composed of 0.0001%) are trying to picture duterte differently inspite of the successful change he has brought to the nation in less than a year. What is really clear to ordinary Filipinos right now is that all the mainstream media are controlled by the super duper minority because they have money. These super duper minority are tax evaders and Duterte government are after them because their tax can help a lot of suffering Filipinos whose addicted to drugs and the government wanted to help them by rehabilitating them.

    18. Chris Espiritu on

      I have to credit you Prof. Contreras for being honest in your opinion. Just like you, i am on the side of Pres. Duterte ans the true, legit and qualified vice president of this country Bongbong Marcos but it was a tough grind for me because i was duped by the “Daang Matuwid” mantra and even celebrated BS Aquino The Turd’s dubious victory in the 2010 polls despite candidates head and shoulders above him. But i was disillusioned upon learning his incompetence, indifference and idiosyncrasies. But what completely broke the camel’s back was his K-12 “reform” that made many college instructors like me near jobless for dearth of college students. This is Daang Matuwid, a one-way ticket to oblivion! PD30 and BBM are the hope and will serve as a flickering hope of this nation that the Yellows would be more than happy to extinguish. Be the voice of reason and continue to fan the embers of progress with your articles. Let us show these Yellows that their so-called media is no longer the source of truth. God Bless you sir!

    19. That’s right, many Filipinos today are hypocrites as if they are the only one who knows the right and wrong. If you raised contradicted opinion, you’ll be accused as “bayaran”, lapdog, blind follower, etc. They always find fault on every uttered words of the person whom they hate. Try to tune-in and all morning radio programs and you’ll notice that each anchor men/women and even their reporters have their own piece of thought to every issues and supported personalities or politicians.

    20. Continue writing your thoughts Dr. Contreras. If your friends do not respect your political opinions because it is contrary to theirs, let it be. They are not your friends.

    21. Prof dont worry about those friends of yours who are against your political choices. They must be jealous because you chose the right leaders to lead this nation to a better future .

    22. maybe they just believe in the principle of ‘innocent until proved guilty’ for tlall, and dislike the hypocricy of the political dynasts who use this refrain in their defence repeatedly whilst they play political ping pong and miraculously employ expensive lawyers on a supposed meagre salary.
      it is a question of ethics, which transcends politics and separates the good from the bad.

    23. dating kriminal on

      You should not take any of the negative comments personally, either coming from your friends, supporters, followers or otherwise. Often times, they do not share your views when they disagree, but you also need to understand that they have all the rights to disagree with you and express their frustrations whenever they can. Sometimes, people can get out of control, expressing their frustrations and insult your integrity, but it is all part of the process. At the end of the day, you know you have written a good article and move on.

    24. It is plain and simple. They are not your decent friends. They are like the arrogant New York Times that wants to dictate to the world what it should do to Duterte because of its expose that does not have even a leg to stand on. Be thankful Mr. Contreras that people who you considered friends turned out to be your real enemies. At least they are unmasked now.

    25. Sir, you are precisely correct and true! My advise, disregard…..silence is golden!

    26. Lea Hetherington on

      These people who are full of hate have to be alive and well in order to balance the ecosystem with the good people in the Philippines. It’s only shamed that they are not thinking about a good name to leave behind for their descendants to cherish when they’re gone. I’ve learned in life that nothing is forever, and that people who may be our friends today, will be our enemies tomorrow.