Four years ago. To relieve the miseries of my life and to patch up my broken heart, I started writing a novel. Into it, I poured all the regrets on the things that I should have done, my interpretations of society, the culmination of all the things that I’ve learned and postulated.
I was riddled with a curse. All the predictions that I’ve written became true: Me messing up with Myrtle, my projections on societal behavior, the deaths of key figures in government, and the emergence of a leader like our president. The protagonist of my novel: Eminencio Magnifico, was a villain: a fictional wretched president of the republic who was a downright lunatic, protected by a popular vote and cult of personality, killing those who get in his way. The name of the protagonist was Aquilino Eminencio VI, which I derived from our former president, Noynoy Aquino, whose psychological issues became a talk at some time in the past. All of Noynoy’s bad traits, whether speculated or not, were raised at an alarming level. I have also infused some of my hideous behaviors and jaded philosophies into his character.
To be honest, if I was not educated nor became immersed in the pursuit of knowledge, my sadistic streak would be extended to people, harming them. Through education, I learned to channel those sadistic impulses into other harmless outputs, like sports. To his character, I channeled all of the irrationality running through my mind, trying to justify the wretchedness of his acts.
I never thought that such character that I created for four years would materialize into a real person, in the form of our current president.
It may seem that my character took its real form to the real world. It may have seem that I have to assume the shoes of my novel’s antagonist, Joshua Alvarez, a student-leader who always hindered Eminencio’s plans. To him, I infuse my one style of writing which was deemed by others as rude: a scathing counter-rebuttal speech to every speeches that a hypocritical person made. To Alvarez, I put in my whole personality, my social perspectives, my noble intent, and my ideals, without the burden of obligations to my family (I made Alvarez an orphan at a young age), which hindered me with their their selfish cravings.
I envy those families who promote open-mindedness. I envy those families who act out of reason and not of social and personal cravings. I envy those families who don’t attempt to clip the wings off their members. I envy those families who don’t entertain insecurities among each other and instead encourage their members to accept their attributes and talents and continue on. I envy those families who let logic and reason reign supreme instead of ego and prejudices. I envy those families who raise children into becoming their own persons, and not puppets into manipulation. I envy those families who let their children pay back the debt of gratitude on their own volition instead of nagging them into it all the time.
I was never a good son to my parents, nor I was a good elder brother to my siblings, nor I was a good relative to my blood relatives. But that does not stop me from being a good citizen who looks for the welfare of my country. Criticizing the wrong doings was never bragging. The culture and depreciation of education now discourage critical thinking in society. I was met with resistance from the culture that bends values into self-contradiction, and forces people into lethargy. I was being pleaded to respect the views of people who have no respect whatsoever to human life. I was being forced to accept their definitions on the things that they don’t understand at all. I was being asked by an educator to let “miseducation” happen, to let ignorance, which the education was fighting against, reign supreme.
These things tend to corrode the rational and logical mind. Others mistook rational, logical, and critical thinking as ego. Let me tell you this: If the mind follows reason and logic, it would be willing to accept ideas that even upset the person’s current line of beliefs, as long as it is supported logically by evidences. They would admit that they were wrong if the evidence was overwhelming and logical. But if the mind follows ego, the mind will reject even the most obvious and simplest ideas stubbornly for self-preservation. They would never admit that they were wrong, and would commit logical fallacies that put foul play on the discussion.
I was fed up with these self-contradictory convictions of others. They kept downplaying my stellar academic background yet kept forcing me to demand high compensations because of it. I was kept being told that grades were irrelevant, but when the jobs required high grades, suddenly they were telling me otherwise. Being a solitary person, I was being told to look for others, but when I was now looking for the welfare of the Filipino people, I was being told to look after myself first.
I was asked:
“Ano bang mapapala ninyo dyan?”
I have a simple answer:
I am not seeking any rewards for the deeds that I’m doing. It is just me fulfilling the responsibilities that were given to me as I was being enlightened…being true to the ideals that our forefathers left…heeding the call of duty for our country.
I seek not be loved by people…but to keep ignorance at bay.
I seek not to entertain the people, nor entertain their prejudices. But I seek to stick and remain true to my rational and logical convictions.
“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)
If I happen to hurt the pride and ego of some people as I convey my messages, I extend my apologies, but no retraction will be ever done to my declarations and statements.
It was being threatened by my family to being cast out, if I continue to do what a citizen must do in a democracy:
“Yes-men are not compatible with democracy. We can strengthen our leaders by pointing out what they are doing that is wrong.” — Jose W. Diokno
“Criticism, we welcome. Distortion, we deplore.” — Jose W. Diokno
The statesmen in the pre-Martial Law days are the ones that I admired tremendously. The likes of Senators Jose W. Diokno, Ninoy Aquino, Jovito Salonga, Gerardo Roxas, Serging Osmeña, Claro M. Recto, Lorenzo Tañada. These people believe that public service is a greatest honor that they can receive from the country. Sadly, now, Philippines were riddled by politicians pursuing vested interests.
Being cast out? I don’t care. If sacrificing everything will prove my convictions and beliefs to them…on how I cling to those convictions…
That is why I must become my novel’s very antagonist, who looks after the people, who would make scathing indictments, which were initially intended for a fictional character who is Eminencio, who materialized into a real person. I might share the same fate as I’ve intended for Alvarez. I might live in voluntary poverty, because now my parents were threatening me to be cast out of the house. I am inclined to defy them. At least, if that happens, I won’t be worried on the thought that they might be used as hostages to stop me.
“Ano na bang nagawa ko sa bayan para magtaas ng punto?” Having a voice and engaging in political discourse does not have a prerequisite of having done something. Active civic participation is already doing something. We will make full of the democracy that people have worked hard to achieve.
And now these relatives and parents of mine were clamoring for another Martial Law. By the time that happens, I will join those who would undo that folly, even if it will cost my life. At least, I will be true to my convictions into being like Elias of Noli me Tangere. I don’t have much time left anyway.