• Cynthia and Jim, again

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    ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

    ONE is tempted to just ignore them, but like an unwanted gift, they keep on giving.

    Cynthia Patag and Jim Paredes, two of the most vocal critics of President Duterte, have once again inflicted themselves on the general public. While it may be prudent to simply let their idiocy pass on without notice, I am going to humor them with a loud reminder that I am doing this out of pity.

    Cynthia, in her most foul moment, posted on Facebook an entry that she titled, “Murder most foul,” where she expressed outrage at the self-confessed suspect who killed a family of five in Bulacan after raping two of them. She noted the cockiness and smugness of the suspect, saying that there was something terribly wrong. And then, in one big leap of creative fiction, she alleged that the suspect and his companions could have been paid to commit the gruesome murder in aid of a propaganda campaign in support of the war on drugs and the death penalty.

    I don’t know what Cynthia was thinking, but someone who would connect a murder to a propaganda campaign either has very little respect for civilized government, or has very little respect for reason.

    It is a given that Ms Patag has no love lost for the President. It is also understandable that she would raise all kinds of allegations against him and his government. However, one has to realize that there is always a limit to criticism, where one gives the other side the benefit of the doubt. But Ms Patag will not grant the President that privilege, and would rather paint a murderous regime that would pay petty criminals to massacre an innocent family to boost support for a policy proposal that doesn’t even need any propaganda at all, for it is backed by majority of the population.

    Like Ms Patag, I oppose the death penalty. But unlike her, I still have my bearings intact enough for me to judge the ridiculousness of her preposterous allegations.

    And then we have Jim Paredes.

    And I would subsume under him all other critics of President Duterte who rejoiced at the defeat of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in his latest boxing bout in Australia, for they all belong to a category of people who cannot transcend political hatred.

    It is not even being Filipino that is the issue here, for I can grant Jim Paredes and his cohorts, some of whom are my friends, the freedom not to be limited by citizenship in expressing preferences on who to root for in any sporting event. That is a freedom I can easily respect.

    But this is not an issue of nationalism, but simply an issue of decency.

    It is easy to dislike Manny Pacquiao’s politics. I do. His position on homosexuals and same-sex marriage, his biblical perorations to justify his policy preferences and his uber-conservative stance on many issues deeply offend me.

    And if it were an election, I would never vote for him.

    But he was not being a politician in that ring. He was a boxer fighting to defend a title. To wish for his defeat in the said boxing match to teach him a lesson for committing political sins is an irrational and immature way to deal with those with whom we have political differences. Decent, mature democrats don’t do that. We argue on the basis of the issues, and show Manny Pacquiao the follies of his policy stances. We rejoice every time we score a point on our arguments to weaken or demolish his position.

    And Pacquiao was not in the Senate making his conservative, misinformed speeches. He was at the boxing ring performing his trade as a boxer. It would have been more mature and decent for people not to gloat over his loss and declare it as karma.

    But this is exactly what Jim Paredes did. He tweeted his joy, saying that it was a happy day that Pacquiao lost. Others echoed such gloating. Disgusted by his anti-gay, ultra-conservative politics, they expressed karmic delight over his downfall, even if there were indications it may not have been a fair one.

    Jim Paredes gave a litany of the political sins of Pacquiao, including his sin of being one of the staunchest allies of the President in the Senate. He was the one who gave Matobato and Lascañas the worst grilling, and Paredes and his anti-Duterte cohorts can never forgive Pacquiao for being a speed bump in their drive to demonize the President as a mass murderer.

    We do not have a logical problem if what we are wishing for is the defeat of Pacquiao as a politician in an electoral contest. In fact, I will most definitely actively campaign for his defeat on the basis of his illiberal positions, and join the celebration and declare the day he will lose in an election as a happy one.

    But one has to sincerely ask where is the sanity, the logic, and the decency, in wishing for the defeat of a boxer just because his politics do not coincide with your preferences. After all, despite his loss, Pacquiao will remain an uber-conservative senator holding illiberal views.

    In the end, if anything has been proven here, it is that Jim Paredes has become the face of pettiness and lack of political maturity, and that Cynthia Patag is the personification of irrationality.

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