Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters

7

“And we are here as on a darkling plain,
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”
 — Dover Beach by Mathew Arnold

The phrase “documented irrelevance” is not my invention. It is in one of the pages of The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy by David Halberstam, a book which I have just finished reading. It is a very arresting and relevant phrase in application to the present Philippine situation where “ignorant armies clash by night.”

But before the discourse, I wish to quote several texts and comments on my column on the revolution because they define the temper of the time and they cut across age and tribal bias. I cite them here to fortify my faith in the great and loving concern of Filipinos for their country. I salute them publicly because these are the Filipinos whom we should emulate because, like John F. Kennedy, they keep asking themselves what they can do for their country not what the country can do for them.

From the internet and text messages
The Internet: From Mariano Patalinjug, from Yonkers, New York, on November 15, 2015, at 4:36 am: “What Homobono Adaza suggests here appears to me, a close and long observer of the Philippine of the Philippine situation for 60-plus years now, as what could break the vise-like grip by which a Plutocratic-Politico Conspiracy has held the country since it gained ‘independence’ in 1946. I sincerely compliment him for ‘thinking the unthinkable’ and ‘expressing the inexpressible’. I call that courage of the first order.”


From abbymil, on November 14, 2015, 10:57 pm, in the Internet: “For me, Election is just a moro moro, the candidates who are willing to spend money will surely win. I won’t vote, as I don’t want to make a fool of myself. I agree that revolution is the answer, but who will lead and who will be joining, may God bless the Philippines.”

From Arquero, on November 15, 2015, 1:01 pm, in the internet: “Radical as it may seem but it can be done.”

From Amado F. Cabaero, Sr., Founder and Chairman emeritus of the Philippine Association of Retired Persons (PARP), on November 14, 2015, 2:45 am, in the Internet: “I absolutely agree. What we need is a revolution of the heart of the Filipino. Not the violent kind that can destroy us all. We, senior citizens, should heed this call of Mr. Adaza.

From DBA, on November 15, 2015, 9:13 am, in the Internet: “Revolution to alleviate poverty not to make the rich richer.”

Text messages: From Marino L. Padilla, 76 years old, of Orion, Bataan, on November 14, 2015, 5:51 am, through text: “Count me in.”

From Jun Abing, Panabo City, Davao del Norte, on November 14, 2015, 8:09 am, through text: “Nabibitin ako sa artikolo mo Revolution now, not tomorrow.”

These reactions and comments represent a cross section of people’s opinions on the subject of revolution – peaceful and constitutional. How I wish more people would express their views, for or against, through the Internet or texts so whoever are planning, and possibly executing the installation of a peaceful constitutional revolution could test the validity and viability of their ideas as well as their strategy and tactics in paving the way for systemic change. Comments maybe relayed through adazalawoffice@yahoo. com or 09156166791 or 09062661133.

Mainstream media and their columnists
Mainstream Media: As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors have an obligation to this country to report events, accurately and fairly, with all sides in a controversy or an ongoing debate on major issues well covered and represented.

As a rule today, this does not happen. The current rules governing mainstream media are imbedded in the following indelible principles: First, protect the interests of their owners and those whom their owners support. Second, on issues that do not affect their owners, media persons, as a rule, are practitioners of “envelopmental journalism” and the ACDC principle (attack and collect, defend and collect), meaning whoever gives the money could see their names and ideas in print or in radio or television. Third, partisanship and bias are the names of the game. If you belong to their crowd you can get your name in the newspapers, radio and television, even if your activities and ideas are inane or stupid or both. Fourth, there is no serious discussion of ideas. Fifth, there is no in depth knowledge of events and their implication on the life of the people. Sixth, there is no effort to educate the people. Seventh, there is stress on idiotic entertainment and game shows. Eighth, never mind ideas, just know whether he holds public office; it makes no difference whether his ideas are idiotic or insane, quote him.

In plain and simple words, there is celebration of documented irrelevance.

Debate or symposium on ‘Election or Revolution’
When I suggested to media organizations that there ought to be a debate on whether we should have elections or a peaceful constitutional revolution, the idea was met with impertinent discussion or dead silence. It is a good thing I met lawyer Ramon Maronilla, President of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) on November 18, 2015 at the mass at Holiday Hills during the 84th birthday anniversary of the late Vice-President Salvador “Doy” Laurel on the invitation of Doy’s widow, the lovable and lovely Celia Diaz Laurel, and their children, who promised me that the UPAA will sponsor such a debate or symposium at the UP Campus in Diliman, Quezon City.

Well, as Doy Laurel used to tell me when we were challenging the seemingly indestructible forces of the Marcos regime, we are the crisis men – the fellows who come to the rescue of the country when the country is in crisis. UP is the nesting ground of crisis men because, as I remember very well during my time, which seems like only yesterday, UP as a state university was designed by its founders to be the training ground of national leaders, to be the home ground of the tradition of excellence, and as a promoter and preserver of the aristocracy of the mind.

Thank the Lord for crisis men like President Mon Maronilla of the UPAA who, I am sure, will fulfill his commitment to hold such a debate or symposium, in place of the despicable failure of mainstream media to fulfill its duty to the country and her people.

Critics and protesters
The Critics: I am amused by the behavior of many critics of the present national situation. Their protests seem interminable but they forget to examine themselves and their past. Were not many of them connected with past national administrations that fattened in graft and corruption at the expense of the people? Were they not participants in graft and corruption themselves? If they were not, what did they do during their time? What have they done to solve the continuing problems of the poor, the dispossessed and the underprivileged when their groups were handling the helm of government?

To go down to specifics, what have they done to solve the following problems when they were in power: 1) Six thousand children below five years old die every month due to hunger or disease; 2) Seven out of ten poor persons who get sick die for reason of poverty; 3) the massive corruption in government in Congress, in the Cabinet of the President, in Customs, in Immigration, in Armed Forces of the Philippine, in the Philippine National Police, in the judiciary from the Supreme Court to the Municipal Trial Courts, in the Airports and ports, etcetera, etcetera; 4) the denudation of the forests and the pollution of rivers and streams from miners and factory owners; 5) criminality which has been growing in leaps and bounds.

I could go on and own until we sink in the quagmire. But even if they were not involved in graft and corruption and various forms of criminality, have they not ever imagined that criticism by itself does not solve problems? Even if they offer solutions within the system, will they be adopted? If they have enough brains, have they not ever thought that the problems are systemic and that their solutions could not be adopted within the system?

Systemic problems can only be solved by systemic solutions? Get that baby? It does not take brilliance or extensive experience to know the answer.

And the systemic procedure to pave the way for a systemic change is a peaceful constitutional revolution!

The Protesters: I admire the protesters on the streets and those before buildings of the high and the mighty. They always make good their points. They get beat up by the police, but they persist. It is the demonstration of raw courage and determination; it is greatly admirable. I salute them and their kind.

One day they will prevail. History proves that! The demonstrators at Petrograd, now St. Petersburg, paved the way for the Russian Revolution. The marchers in the Long March resulted in the Chinese Revolution. The demonstrations in the streets of Paris led to the French Revolution. In these revolutions, the struggle was quite long in gestation as it is in the Philippines.

It is not enough to have demonstrations unless they are designed to achieve an immediate purpose – systemic change! Unless that is the purpose, nothing significant can happen; nothing will change in the lives of Filipinos.

But it does not have to be violent, it could be peaceful. Remember the two EDSAS? They were not revolutions but they paved the way for a change of administration, within the ambit of the existing Philippines Constitution. It had been done, it could be done. But it is not the only way; there are other ways to do it in a blitz and in twelve hours it is over. Maybe the formula has not been tested yet but it can be done. It can succeed; it will succeed. We will not only overcome, we will prevail, as William Faulker put it so well in his acceptance speech when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

The end of an era
The era of documented irrelevance is at the edge; it is about to fall from the cliff. Many believe it will end! In the last column I wrote last week entitled “The Revolution and Duterte,” I got a flood of replies, most of which come from Dutertistas based on the intensity of their reactions. But as I said it then, I am saying it now – the method to be used is not election but peaceful constitutional revolution. If you use election, believe me, you are courting not only a brush fire but a conflagration which could keep this nation burning for quite sometime. And you won’t like it! I have done so much comparative reading that I know what could likely happen.

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7 Comments

  1. Indeed, we need a revolution but with the kind of political immaturity of even those who proclaims change, I do not think it can succeed in the way they envision. Even that group calling itself National Transformation Council does not even seem to have a viable and pragmatic solution as all their proclamations are textbook solutions for a very rowdy populace. When a revolution is started, there will be a phase of a power vacuum where various political forces will be trying to outsmart each other claiming sole knowledge of the “solution”. That phase will determine the direction of change.

    What I propose is a surgical elimination of all corrupt, incompetent and criminal elements in the political leadership and in society and an immediate formation of a civic-military junta that will only be there for 30 days. Within that period, they will put nominate the members of the constitutional convention which will define a new constitution within 30 days and set forth a national election within the next 30 days.

    Hence, even at this stage, Bono, Mon and other patriotic Filipinos should already form a working group to write a constitution that shall be available online so that all Filipinos can put their inputs thereto. The working draft can be completed in thirty days and the finalized draft can be the starting document of the constitutional delegates who should put the finishing touches in 30days. The civic-military junta can pick the 70 delegates. Maybe, our patriotic Filipinos can even nominate names for the civic-military junta now and put them online and finalize the list as inputs from the public comes. We have to work on strict timeframes as Juan dela Cruz need to earn and eat daily. With the internet, the working draft can be finalized. When the draft is finished, then, the surgical operation can start. I guess, the operation may only need two billion pesos as there are so many patriotic soldiers who are tired of incompetence, lying and corruption already. Surely, that amount can easily be raised before the end of the year.

  2. When you speak about “revolution” it means arm conflicts that’s the general perception. It is a common understanding the word revolution is shedding of blood without it peace could not be achieved. As to my understanding, by Duterte’s revolution is not a bloody one but constitutional, a change or shall we say abandoning the present old government system then replacing it with a new type of governance such as Federalism/parliamentary. I truly believe Federalism/parliamentary could be the right form of government that would fit the Philippines where each province is empowered to develop each own way of achieving progress or each province is allowed to govern themselves independently. In other words the set of power is not centralized but decentralized thereby less corruption. What’s more there’s no need of the so called BBL the pet project of the present administration. Adopting Federalism our beloved motherland is intact, no lose of territory, no more quarrel. There would be long years of peace and progress. That is our dream.

  3. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    26 November 2015

    The Establishment has been pushing what I have called “that old rickety cart of rotten tomatoes”–meaning policies and programs that have not put the Philippines on a real, solid, INCLUSIVE and enduring path to prosperity and progress in the last sixty years or so.

    More likely than not, a new set of “governors” will be elected next year. But I am close to being certain that it will be more and more of the same. There will be no drastic departure from a well-beaten path. The country would still remain as one of the poorest in the whole world, with the twin scourges of systemic Corruption and widespread and chronic poverty still very much around.

    It is high time for the Filipino people to try something completely new–and that is what Homobono Adaza has proposed for several times now, in the hope that the country could finally get out of the economic and social malaise into which it has fallen these last six decades.

    If, after a period of Trial, say twelve years, his proposed “revolution” should fail to work for one reason or another, then that will be the time for the Filipino people to do what has proven to work for the 12 American colonies way back in 1776, the French people in 1789, and the Russian people in 1917.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

  4. The way I see it, your revolution can only be a military led movement, and I agree it is the most viable kind of revolution at this time. However, the military must have a clearly delineated and necessarily limited agenda, not ambitious at all. In short it must be simple and convincing to the people, otherwise it will fail like all of Gringo Honasan’s “revolutions.” The crafting of this agenda is the first and most important step, and it must answer this question: who will be the power wielders, the people or just a different set of elites?

    • In short, when you are building a house, it easy to describe in glowing terms how beautiful the house will look, but the truth will lie in the construction plans. Show the construction plan first.

  5. I believe the word revolution is not proper to the change you are insinuating. You mention Russian revolution and China revolution. Those were arm conflicts. Mostly
    revolution mostly when it is mentioned change is made through arm conflicts.

    I suggest the word INNOVATION instead of revolution. I respect your crusade. I can be called when I am needed.

  6. Gambel Nuqui-Dizon on

    Did I remember right, Duterte said that if he is elected president he will declare a revolutionary government? If so he should be elected President.