• The people’s revenge on the post-Marcos elite

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    ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

    ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

    It is the meekness of the Filipino, the silent courage that we exhibit in the face of disasters and oppressors, and the ready smile we flash even during periods of torment that may have cultivated our resilience in the face of the worst that nature and politics could inflict on us. Social scientists who have endeavored to contextualize our behavior relative to our history and culture point to our inherent capacity to live a life that is shared, or what is referred to in Sikolohiyang Pilipino as our sense of “kapwa.”

    It is “kapwa” that nurtures our strong sense of community, and transforms this into a powerful resource that enables us to weather not only storms but even dictatorships, and the corruption and inefficiency of our leaders. It also helps a lot that we possess an uncanny supply of wit and creativity. We have been able to deploy laughter and parody in the face of the worst of crises, to a point that we managed to turn our tragedies into material for comedy. We have used humor as weapons to turn our politicians into caricatures. We have colonized the social media and used them as templates where we paint not only our foodies and selfies, but also our memes as our virtual placards to show our disgust at our political leaders.

    Unfortunately, the meek and gentle Filipino was abused not only by our colonizers, but even more so by the elites who inherited their power. Filipino elites mistook our silence as apathy and a blanket acceptance of oppression, and the Filipino smile as a sign of an unlimited supply of forgiveness. This, notwithstanding the revolution we waged against the Spaniards, the war we fought against the Americans, and the resistance we inflicted on the Japanese.

    The resistance waged by the Left, which on its own logic embodied the capacity of the ordinary Filipino to rebel against capitalist and imperialist torment, and an alleged dictator by the name of Marcos, was unfortunately co-opted to become a base narrative from where our politics has become just a rivalry between two political families. In this narrative, everyone has become just a footnote to the political war between Ferdie and Ninoy. In the end, opportunities for transformation were co-opted into being mere convenient narratives to sustain the elite power play.

    The horrors of Martial Law, instead of becoming assets to propel the search for real justice and truth, have instead transmogrified into convenient tales that the anti-Marcos elites could use to increase their political capital. This turned the real victims of Martial Law into mere recipients of legislated indemnification, and its martyrs and heroes into part of that accounting and treated them as mere victims. This is what was convenient to the political elites – to use Martial Law and Marcos as objects of hatred, even as the widow and orphaned son of Ninoy, their political power notwithstanding, turned a blind eye to the search for truth of who really ordered his assassination.

    Post-Marcos elites ruled by drawing their legitimacy from a demonized narrative of the evil Marcos and his Martial Law. EDSA was celebrated as a people’s victory, lulling the ordinary Filipino into believing that we owned that part of our history, when in reality it was a civilian-backed coup in which we became merely human shields. The narrative of EDSA appropriated the Filipino’s penchant for a community gathering to propel a fictional people’s revolution. In truth, EDSA was not a revolution but a restorative episode in our history, and it rendered restitutive justice not to the people, but to the elites whose political capital suffered under Marcos. Thus, the pre-Martial Law elites came back with a vengeance, personified in one single act when Cory returned to the Lopezes the empire that they lost. ABS-CBN returned the favor and became not only the source of people’s entertainment to feed the ordinary Pinoy’s craving for fantasy and fun and aided in turning politics into a simulacra where image and reality are no longer distinguishable. It also became the bully pulpit and the propaganda machine of the elite to vilify their political enemies.

    The post-EDSA and post-Marcos political, and even intellectual, elites have grossly underestimated the people. They have appropriated our silence and misunderstood our smiles. Thirty years of being taken for granted and lied to. How can the elites even think that there is a forever for this? “Walang forever!” as one character in an ABS-CBN soap opera has said.

    It is just their misfortune that the icon to where the people turned to is a mayor from the south who represents a break from this narrative, and has become a bearer of the people’s rage. Uncouthly vulgar, but authentically on the people’s side, President Duterte has become the elites’ inconvenient truth and nightmare. He has turned out to be the people’s revenge on them.

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    11 Comments

    1. Yonkers,New York
      30 September 2016

      If, as Antonio P. Contreras says, x x x President Duterte has become the elite’s inconvenient truth and nightmare. He has turned out to be the people’s revenge on them”– he has a funny and even grotesque way of showing that:

      He has engaged in the megalomanic warrantless genocidal extrajudicial killing of all those he and his “berdugo” PNP chief General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa SUSPECT of being involved one way or the other in the illegal drug problem, whether as drug lords, drug pushers, or DRUG ADDICTS, a ruthless drive which so far has netted 3,000 victims—most of them probably DRUG ADDICTS, who more likely than not are ordinary and POOR people

      It is not clear to me how Little Tyrant Duterte is making it uncomfortable or inconvenient one way or the other for the ELITE..

      MARIANO PATLINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    2. Leodegardo Pruna on

      The Yellow Cult would want to keep what is not theirs after having ruled and influenced government administration. The good has intervened and hopefully crush whatever remnants are left of the Yellows. God bless the Philippines.

    3. I was in Martial Law Era and I experience peace, green revolution, cleanliness, construction booming, explosion of Philippine art, etc.
      The yellow tards keep talking which is not there.

    4. I agree that our President Duterte will be the nightmare of this oligarch yellow cult people. I like it.. go go go Mr President..Give them a problem that they never experience for 30 years.. Otherwise lumayas sila dito sa Pilipinas, palitan sila ng mga taga ibang bansa.. Kung sino pa iyong mga Filipino siyang swapang at ganid sa kayamanan.at pahirap sa mamayang Filipino…

    5. The so called Edsa revolt involved only a negligible 10 of the whole populace.. How about those from the provinces? Were they ever given a chance to express their views and thoughts? how can majority of Filipinos so gullible that we just went with the flow, so to speak. Andyan na yan, wala na tayo magawa, tanggapin na Lang .. So sad indeed..

    6. This is what these yellow hypocrites do not get, that Duterte was overwhelmingly elected president because the people have judged the 30 year old anti-Marcos regime as a failure. What a joy to watch them slowly drowning in their own fantasies, and to think that this is just the beginning.

      • Lenia Hetherington on

        Well said Amnata Pundit. My only wish for these people who are full of hatred, is that their own family, descendants will turn the tide against them.