IT is difficult to wrap one’s head around the fact of this president deciding to go and speak to the family members of the SAF44, and failing to answer questions about what happened on January 25, or what is happening with the investigation.
Of course we might say this was no failure. This was the President being tired, he was speaking to the last three (or six?) families, and he was just being human. Lahat tayo napapagod.
And the President must be tired, we understand. This isn’t the best of times for his administration, and this might be the one time when they cannot spin the dominant conversation.
Dominant, beyond conversations on social media, I mean. Because even mainstream media —even yellow media!—has found the need to be critical. Watching this shift happen has been interesting, to say the least, where the columnists one would always feel were on the side of the President —or at least were wont to be kinder to him—have found the words to demand that he answer questions, that he take responsibility.
And many in the celebrity world – usually quiet because of the Presidential sister – have found it important to find their voices and speak louder than usual. Asking questions, demanding answers. Taking jabs at even the Presidential sister herself, for being oh so defensive for her brother and using the platforms she’s been allowed by the public to speak against this same public. Erap might have apologized to Kris for his daughter speaking out, but in fact Jerika Ejercito hit the nail on the head: for someone who dishes it out, Kris sure is the most pikon celebrity on nationwide television.
There is also AM radio, where every station worth its salt is talking about the SAF44 and the search for truth and accountability. And if you weren’t listening before to AM radio, then you should do so now, especially to Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja’s “Dos Por Dos” show on DZMM, where one is treated not just to intelligent banter about current events, but even brilliantly irreverent banter. Layer that with Taberna disdaining the usual stuff from social media—because who knows who is speaking exactly?—and choosing to focus on first hand information instead.
That’s what he did with the talk that the President had responded quite unpresidentially while speaking with the families of the SAF44. He decided that he would read on air the personal account that was sent him by a SAF widow. Of course he read it like it was a letter to Charo Santos on Maalala Mo Kaya.
Irreverence I tell you. In times like this one, there has to be laughter.
It must have uplifted the spirits of the President (and the President’s sisters?) when they saw that hashtag #noynoyparin trending the past week. It must have been like manna from heaven, a gift from God, that there were enough people on twitter who could make this show of support trend.
I had braced myself for Malacañang’s smug proclamations of how this proves that the President has the support of the people. We have heard Secretary Sonny Coloma say it often enough that the Palace has social media analysts (or experts?) who decide when social media noise comes from but a minority, or when it is not “dominant opinion.”
But all we got from the good secretary was a general assessment of how the hashtag proves that we are in a healthy democracy.
He forgets of course that this hashtag in particular was premised on televangelist Eli Soriano’s declaration of war against the Catholic religious leaders pushing for the President’s resignation. That this hashtag actually went up that trending list might have had more to do with Soriano and his organization, than it did with “a public” enjoying “this democratic space.”
In fact the way that hashtag was created reminds of something far far from democracy, especially if you’re of a generation that remembers Marcos Pa Rin. As Lourd de Veyra remarked on the TV5 morning show he hosts: #noynoyparin reeks of the desperation – of the insistence on staying in power – that Marcos Pa Rin was about.
Not quite the kind of hashtag one would wish for at this point. Not even for this President.
If there’s anything that Malacañang might be banking on though —and rightfully so—it’s the way things look for those who are calling for another EDSA to push the President to resign.
Because I do wonder in what world Peping and Tingting Cojuangco are considered credible leaders of a movement to oust the President, where the only thing I remember when I see the couple is Hacienda Luisita and the continued injustice that befalls the farmer-peasant community there.
One also cannot find reason to believe in the world that Carmen Pedrosa paints, about charter change and federalism, at this point in time. Because that layers this crisis with a more complex process that so few are educated about, it just seems like one group taking advantage of the situation.
And really, a resign movement dominated by the voice of the religious and conservative? I cringe.
Too there is this: in the midst of all this talk about kicking out this President, what happens to the investigation on the Mamasapano tragedy? What happens to the search for justice for the SAF44? What happens to the demand for accountability and making sure that the ones responsible pay the price for this bungled operation?
With all this noise it seems that time must be spent taking stock. The EDSA 1986 Anniversary seems like the best time to do that, too.