WHAT IS WITH DAVAO?
“What I have done to Davao, I will do to the Philippines.” Such words captured the hearts of many. A lot of good things were being told about Davao City, the city that Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte has ruled for 22 years. Davao was heralded as one of the safest cities in the world. The many tourists and most of the citizens of the city attested to this claim. Yet, human rights watch and some people of the media(some alive, some dead) said otherwise. Davao City is like a coin whose two sides were contradicting and never seem to come into agreement of a clear picture. If Mayor Duterte wants the Philippines to be like Davao City, then we must unify the contradicting images of Davao city. It must be clear to everybody what Davao City really was.
Such an image gives pride to its residents to the point that they were incorporating it to their narcissism and vanities. Attempting to offer another viewpoint that says otherwise will be met by their immediate repudiation. I beseech my readers who were residents of the city or those who share with its supposed pride to depart from your biases and prejudices, remove the calluses of your eyes, and remove the hands covering your ears. Hear everything out. Don’t dismiss anything. Is it what being open-minded really meant, right? It is a tragic mishap to fall for people to only realize their delusions in the end, when everything they believed in was really not at all true.
Desist from alluring yourselves with the shadows being cast in the cave, and find your way towards the light.
What made Davao City, one of the “safest cities of the world” as you claimed to be? According to local newspaper articles, only one survey said so. The survey came from Numbeo.com. We scrutinize the social weather agencies like PulseAsia and SWS everytime our preferred candidate lags behind their polls. We looked into their data-gathering methodologies and sampling procedures to check if indeed the survey results represented the whole population to some extent. At this point, if you don’t know any principles of statistics, you better start learning them. The website Numbeo.com said that the data came only from responses from web visitors. That already nullifies the representation essence, where the data had a bias towards one sector. I wouldn’t be calling it a sector, because even one person can be the source of all the inputs in that survey.
With that already debunked, the next thing that you would be hearing was what Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has said during the presidential debate. Things like:
“Bobo ka ba? Subukan mo kayang maglakad ng Davao ng hating-gabi. Tignan mo, walang gagalaw sayo.”
But unfortunately that claim ended too as a farce as one resident named Almira Manila tried to do so in that fateful night of January 9, 2016. She was killed as she exhibited resistance when a man tried to rape her there.
Then, they would be tuning down their statements, saying that Davao City is not entirely crime-free. Then it is just like the case of Binay claiming that poverty is eradicated in Makati, when in reality that it is not.
I find it quite odd that many religious sectors were backing Duterte’s bid for presidency. Most of those sectors were predominantly Christian. To have those groups whose doctrine abhors killing support a candidate who is promoting it is quite ironic. Some people would reason that the killings would be limited to criminals. But no matter how people twist it, killing is killing. They would be violating the doctrines that they themselves were preaching and “following”. That is a clear definition of hypocrisy. But these people don’t see or won’t see it that way, maintaining that their stand was still righteous. Let’s employ some philosophy and philology to develop the analogy and framework for this mindset.
Christian Doctrines tell that there will be a final judgment day for mankind – the Rapture. The people will be segregated into two: the good people and the bad people. The good people will be granted eternal life in the Kingdom of God and the bad people will suffer eternal damnation in Hell – a second death into oblivion. It will happen after the Second Coming of Christ.
Hmmm… (Yep, I’m writing this piece impromptu while scanning the possible references) So a possible analogy/metaphor was that Duterte assuming presidency was the Second Coming of Christ, that the purge that he was proposing was the Rapture, and a disciplined society that he envisioned was Heaven. Don’t take offense (Nah, just joking. Be offended if you want to). It is just an analogy. But there is a high possibility (I’m using philology right now) that such analogy were hidden deep within our subconscious. Another thing was that since we were believers, we assumed already to ourselves that we were the good ones who will be granted passage to heaven, creating an exclusivity complex in our subconscious. We were already making presumptions on who’s going to live and deserves to be killed. Take note that some Bible purists interpreted it in a different manner, notably the Calvinists who believed in predestination.
Exclusivity. You don’t belong here. It is such a scary thing to employ. INC members employ it to non-INC people. It is not much different with Duterte supporters who were wishing ill things to happen to those criticizing the candidate. I remember one of my colleagues, who is an atheist, saying that Duterte should instead run for a position of god by the way most of his supporters were blindly venerating him. Back to the exclusivity thing… Christian doctrines don’t promote exclusivity. We can see it in Jesus seeking more of sinner in His Mission and to Paul opening the doors to the Gentiles.
Comparing the Messiah in Jesus and the messiah(d) in Duterte just makes me laugh. He is our only way of salvation? I remember saying this last Easter Sunday:
Ngayong araw ipinagdiriwang ang muling pagkabuhay ng Messiah bilang pangako ng pagpapatawad at buhay na walang hanggan.
Meanwhile sa Pilipinas, isinusugo nila ang isang ‘messiah’, na handang magwakas ng buhay ng walang patawad, para sa pinakamataas na posisyon sa kapuluan.
These people pursue the heaven in the afterlife, thinking only of themselves and thinking that it will be exclusive to them. But why not make our world a heaven too? Gawing langit ang mundo? Is it much better then?
What’s all with these polemics? I should have just said that it was just vested interest.
Recently, a violent disperal took place on the picket line placed by the farmers of North Cotabato who were pleading for the government for assistance when they were starving as El Niño dried their croplands. Instead of food and relief, the farmers were met with bullets and grief. Such a violent and unnecessary dispersal earned the ire and disgust of many.
The government tried to do some damage control. The farmers who demonstrated was said to have their rally permits expired already. Why didn’t they disperse by the time that their permits expired? It is because their grievance were not heard yet and no actions were still taken at that time. It is such a silly thing: to ask for permission to rally and demonstrate from the government, the one who should be looking to their welfare, the one who lent a deaf ear to their grievances in the first place, and the one whose negligence and inaction brought the situation in the first place.
Next was the violence employed against these poor farmers. Where is the maximum tolerance that they should be doing? Now, there is a Senate inquiry going underway to determine who employed violence first. No matter how this inquiry will end up, the police forces there would be accountable. How can anyone stood up against bullets, when there is nothing handy to defend themselves(the farmers) from it. Warning shots were fired. At what angle? To the direction of the farmers? Warning shot is synonymous with headshot?
Finally, we grub into the politics of this issue. It was said that elements of the left have infiltrated the ranks of those farmers. The farmers were said to be manipulated by the NPA to fulfill their agendas. Some were even pointing their fingers to Duterte as the mastermind, since he was the one trying to be the hero now of the situation and of their cause. No matter how much you twist it, these farmer were driven into the corner because of the government’s negligence and now they and their plight were being used for political gains. Too much politics for this one! My sympathy is with the farmers alone.
Since a lot of people were noticing similarities to what happened with Les Miserables of Victor Hugo. With all the hunger in the land, those people rise, building their barricades. They were driven into a corner. They have to see their children fed. If the accusations of NPA infiltration were true, then they must be the schoolboys, the ABC Cafe, who led the June 1832 rebellion. These schoolboys, even though some enjoy their higher status in society, abandoned these and sympathized with the people and showed them the way to have their voices heard, and the government should be thankful that the way they showed was only thru demonstration and not thru an armed rebellion as what the ABC Cafe did in the novel.
Since this article is about Duterte, where should we place him in the Les Miserables context? Is he Enjolras, the charismatic young leader who led the people into pursuing the change they wanted to? Maybe it is true. Enjolras is described as a “charismatic leader, with a tendency of doing something terrible.” It fits Duterte. But the consistency of comparison does not run throughout the entire story. Enjolras does not find killing necessary. The ABC Cafe rose up to arms not because they just wanted to kill the national guard, but because they hoped the people would rally to their side. He punished some of his men for killing innocent people (Duterte never significantly sought justice for those killed by the DDS). He lets Javert receive a court (of the rebels), thus believing in due process. In the end, comparing Duterte to Enjolras in the first place makes the “people of Paris sleep in their beds.”
If Enjolras is not the fitting description, then who is? In the whole story, my favorite character was Javert. I sympathize with him because I see my past self in him. His existential dilemma in the end was the same dilemma that I faced. I submitted myself towards the winds of change and reshaped my ideals instead.
Javert sees things in black and white. He has an irrepressible hatred to criminals (since his parents were criminals too) and a personal foundation of “rectitude, order, and honesty”. Exemptions include Javert being a person without vices (Duterte has women) and a consummate legalist. He only sees men in two classes: the sinners and the law followers.
It is evident on the treatment of Javert towards Fantine. First is when Javert arrested Fantine for assaulting Bamatabois. Javert never inquired on what caused the accident, which is really Bamatabois molesting Fantine first. Javert had his bias towards favoring the people that he deemed respectable, turning a blind eye towards his(Bamatabois’) wrongdoings, and persecuting Fantine who was driven to the corner by poverty, a situation Javert never understands, or didn’t bother to inquire on.
Second is when Javert mocked Fantine on her death. Clearly, he doesn’t think Fantine as human being who deserved to be treated equally in the eyes of the law, based on how she lived her life. He was blinded by his vanity and his assumed moral grounds, as so does Duterte and his followers.
There are contradictions to this comparison. First is Javert’s hatred toward rebellion. Duterte promotes “change” and is a sympathizer of the rebels. But looking further to the reason of Javert’s hatred to it, lead us into saying that Javert, as well as Duterte, hates what he deemed as defiant. In Duterte’s case, who was also a defiant individual, he wanted to be the only defiant one that stands out. Clearly, his brand of hating defiance lurks behind his “political will”(a term generally misinterpreted by Filipinos) and inclination towards authoritarianism.
The last negating trait is the legalism exhibited by Javert. Javert upholds the law. Duterte claims and chases to be the same. Incorporation of duty to one’s vanity often produces tragic results. The upholder of the law begins to treat himself as the law itself. Because of that, Javert became a person doomed to fail as he would soon encounter a contradiction to his principles. Duterte is already encountering such contradictions. Javert, being true to his words, cannot live to see his principles, the ideas that he believed in, and his words that he proclaimed becoming worthless upon encountering that contradiction brought by Valjean, threw himself to the Seine. Duterte won’t, even though with all of the self-contradictory ideals and statements, because he doesn’t really keep his words and just cower behind his guns and his rabid supporters. Remember when PNoy and Sec. Abaya said that they would have themselves ran over by the train if their target was not fulfilled. The target was not fulfilled but these two did not have themselves ran over by the train. The 6-month promise of Duterte is just like that. That promise is a mere hyperbole.
We had a lot on comparing Duterte to some characters of Les Miserables. Maybe we should also draw him a contrast to them. Javert’s self-contradictions were all because of Jean Valjean. Oh yes. Jean Valjean. He may be the anti-thesis on what Duterte believes in.
Jean Valjean is a person who proved that even a feared convict can change for the better. In fact, his imprisonment was already a form of injustice in our modern way of thinking. But the laws back then were that absurd. He was imprisoned during the transition years before or during the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century with a simple reason: he stole a loaf of bread for his sister’s son as they were starving and struggling to survive back then. He was imprisoned for 20 years because of that!
That 20-year sentence is way too much for a petty crime. Well. Actually, the sentence was just 5 years, and the indefinite extension was because of his attempted escapes. Duterte seeks worse for those petty criminals. A lot of them may be like Jean Valjean, who seek escape from their miseries of the world.
What forced them to commit crime? Do they enjoy committing crime like some psychopaths? No. They were driven into the corner. Their choices ran out. They were starving. And so like, Jean Valjean, who felt that he was forsaken by the law that was supposedly made for their welfare, decided to break it.
Ok. Let’s suppose that we had Duterte’s brand of discipline implemented: one that is rooted by fear. Will that stop the miseries and hunger that Valjean and the like were experiencing? Those people who were blindly asking for that kind of discipline were the ones who had lesser things to worry about: having the basic needs, not stricken by poverty, and having their tummies full. If you don’t know their predicaments, then you must not tell that it is for everyone’s sake. As well as to drugs and vices, where some people want to escape from worrying when the miseries were too much. Their struggle to survive will always overcome the fear that was imposed. So it was no use, since they must be thinking that they would die anyway. Discipline should not be out of fear but by the determination of the individuals to become good and respectable citizens. Forcing them between a rock and a hard place will make them forget about those choices.
Valjean was given a chance to change, and he changed tremendously. The bishop became the prime mover for his change, giving Valjean the silverware to alleviate his problem with poverty. The Bishop gave Valjean real hope and a chance to change, unlike Duterte who strips it away from them, by simply, killing them. Jean Valjean became a good person whose morals transcended beyond the level of those claiming to have good morals. His kindness touched everyone…and ultimately Javert.
If we were to kill Valjean early on…ehem… the petty criminals… and not give them a chance to change, how can we see them change for the better? How can Duterte promote change when he strips others a chance to do so? Mas masahol pa sa hayop. Let Manny’s words sink to you and to this folly. The story of Jean Valjean makes Duterte and his ideas a mere laughing stock.
DOING THE HOMEWORK
Let me list down to you the warning signs, after doing my homework:
- He has weak knowledge in economics. (http://getreal.rocks/duterte-not-quite-familiar-yet-in-business-and-economics-needs-more-competent-advisers/). Maybe, that is why Davao City is not as progressive as Iloilo City or Naga City.
- He admitted killing people. (http://www.rappler.com/nation/politics/elections/2016/94302-rodrigo-duterte-davao-death-squad) Yeah, if you claim Duterte obeys the law, then he must follow due process as mandated by the law, not just killing alleged criminals on the spot.
- He seeks to release people who were proven to be guilty of corruption. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/762270/duterte-if-elected-i-will-release-gloria-macapagal-arroyo) If his slogan was to eradicate crime and corruption, then why would he seek to release those guilty of those crimes.
- He admitted that he is not suitable for national office. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/637306/poe-says-no-duterte-tells-santiago-take-gibo-teodoro) Then, why ran president in the first place? If he admitted that national office is not within your abilities and capabilities, then why we should we voted for someone like him?
- He dismisses the extrajudicial killings as a fitting punishment to criminals. Then why not saying that to the family of Jaypee Larosa, who was mistaken as a target of the death squads in 2008. (https://www.hrw.org/report/2009/04/06/you-can-die-any-time/death-squad-killings-mindanao) If he has this logic on the killings, then he can kill anyone then just brand the one killed as a criminal to get off scotch-free. No matter how put it around, murder is murder. Murder is a crime. The presence of those crimes in the city already debunks it’s claim of being crime-free, or “almost” crime-free. Silent does not mean safe.
- He wants bilateral talks with China. (http://globalnation.inquirer.net/137093/duterte-tells-china-build-us-a-railway-and-lets-set-aside-differences-for-a-while) China was trampling on our sovereignty as they forcibly occupy the territory that our forefathers have fought for and died for. Yet, Duterte is willing to sell it in exchange for a railway in Mindanao. Not only that Duterte promotes ethnocentrism, but also, with his move, he clearly showed that he belonged to the likes of the annexationists and autonomists like Pedro Paterno and Felipe Buencamino Sr. To hell are your comparisons with him to Antonio Luna. Wala sa kalingkingan ni Antonio Luna si Duterte. Wag nyong ipilit.
- He promotes dissension by promoting to pay revolutionary taxes. (http://davaotoday.com/main/politics/new-peoples-army/npa-taxation-a-reality-just-pay-them-says-duterte/).
- He clearly does not promote transparency. (http://politics.com.ph/duterte-tells-coa-ghost-employees-none-of-your-business/) Maybe that is the political will that he kept blabbering about: being stubborn and hard-headed. Accountability and transparency prevent corruption which is the one he is campaigning against.
- He does not want criticisms, clearly with deaths of Jun Pala and Ferdie Lintuan.
- He is a sympathizer of the Marcoses and he is trying to justify the cause of the Martial Law.
- And finally, he wants Algebra, Calculus and Trigonometry removed from the school curriculum. (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/12/17/1533532/duterte-wants-algebra-calculus-trigonometry-replaced-business-math) It is not new from a person who failed his economics subject. But to dumb down a society by lowering the standards is beyond explainable. These subjects prepare the students for a much arduous chapter of their education, college. Some don’t feel their significance because THEY WERE ALREADY TAKING THEM FOR GRANTED WITHOUT KNOWING. Never go full retard, Digong.
WHO’S YOUR CANDIDATE THEN?
Finally, when the arguments and facts being thrown against their preferred candidate were overwhelming, they pathetically try a way out by asking this question: “Who are you voting for then?”, to those who presented the arguments and facts. It is already a logical fallacy. They would be criticizing then any of the candidate that they (the presenters and debaters) said that they preferred, as if their preference was no better and their presentation of facts was a mere black propaganda/campaign against their candidate. It is just that people cannot accept anything that is outside of their belief system or cannot accept that they were the ones that were fooled.
I am still undecided and weighing down my choices, but I cannot stand the fact that we might elect a president by falling prey to the lies that were being circulated, the farce that Duterte “promises”, the myths that were mistaken as true, and to the promises that are too good to be true. It applies to all of our candidates. But it is with Duterte that it is very alarming.
Not being affiliated to any candidates will make others accuse me as a “nuisance debater” or a “man with no certain stand”. The environment in UP regarded me as such, since I was unaffiliated to organizations other than what I have founded along with my colleagues. I don’t want to develop initial biases or prejudices before talking any topic or issue. It is a much difficult road to take rather than siding myself with one side. The mind should be open to every topic. I have to be a “Man apart”, cold and distant.
There is no such thing as a balanced judgment, for judgment itself is a bias that came into place based on the presented evidences, and it should be made after the inquiry, and not before. My judgment and inferences of the situation will be mine alone. I will exercise my right to say it for this is going to be my stand until further evidences were presented and discussed upon in a civilized debate. We may have our differences. If people want to settle it, be it in a proper debate where actual arguments were pitted against each other. But I will continue endorsing my stands and beliefs like the way that you are convinced by your own candidates. We may tolerate our differences, but not to the point of ignoring it and excluding ourselves to the bar of public opinion. Your freedom of expression ends where other person’s begins.
Sometimes the truth is too painful to bear, but bearing it is necessary. Therefore, we may be acting like the bad guys by presenting to you the plain and cold truth, because like the chief Filipinista T.H. Pardo de Tavera said:
The cultured Filipinos represent not only their own interests but those of the popular masses who look up to them for leadership. This trust places upon us a tremendous responsibility, and obliges us to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. I shall be sorry if, complying with this obligation, I will incur the censure of the public; for I speak not to please people but to be useful to them even when I displease them.”
-T.H. Pardo De Tavera (1909)
Meet Scotty P. from the movie We’re the Millers (2013). He has cool tats, you know what I’m saying. This is his credo: No Regrets; although his tattoo says otherwise. He loves letters, which he luckily guess that the numbers of letters is in the twenties, you know what I’m saying. He is Casey’s (played by Emma Roberts) suitor… This is a typical girl tendency when girls fall to a bum or a dumb guy.
Scotty P represents the rebel that people fall into. There is a charm emanating from being a rebel. It is proven from time to time. But most of the time, like in the case of Scotty P, such rebellious attitude and defiance is pointless. The reason is that there are times that people act like rebels to garner attention only, particularly dumb people. Real rebels are revolutionaries who knew what they were fighting for, not those who make exaggerations to appease people then toning them down later, and not those who make declarations then pulling back those words later.
It has become bravado out of ignorance. Ignorance found its own refuge. People start to flock around him. Even though he is already saying stupid things, his followers don’t bother to process what comes out from his mouth. People say that he’s transparent…because there is really nothing inside.
He courts you, telling that he will only show you how he will love you after you gave your yes. And as a fool as you are, you fell for it, later finding out that everything was just a farce. Still, you would iterate that you have no regrets over this matter. But the problem is, it is not only your life that is involved in this issue. The fate of a nation rests on who you would be choosing. We already gave our warnings and you didn’t listen. And now we might get to share the misery of the folly of your decision. You will be having no regrets over such foolish choice. It is now comparable to Scotty P’s tattoo: “No Ragrets”. You branded yourself as an idiot and you’re proud of it.
You may have your exercise. We gave our warning. But as the disaster of his presidency begins to unfold, we would be looking at you, the one who voted Duterte, with a condescending face, as we murmur,
“Yeah. You’re that guy.”
You could be that guy. It is up for you to choose, since you are free to do so.
PART 2 will feature the following:
- Demanding Straight Answers
- Shaping the Mindset
- King of Ad Hominem
- Political Will and Authoritarianism
- Nothing to offer
- Martial Law
- Federalism – The Pros and Cons
- What’s The Plan Then?