Following that whole kerfuffle between singer and die-hard Aquinoist Jim Paredes and Manila Times columnist Rigoberto ‘Bobi’ Tiglao over the question of Paredes’s citizenship, people are now curious about what is it exactly that makes Jim Paredes such a seemingly confused individual.
After all, Paredes back in the 1980s already had a United States Green Card (a document many hopeful Filipinos regard as priceless) which, in a euphoric fit following the happy conclusion of the 1986 EDSA “people power revolution” he supposedly returned to Uncle Sam. Gerry Lirio who interviewed Paredes while on a concert tour in Melbourne in 2006 wrote in his ensuing Inquirer report, how Paredes in 1989 was so committed “to the Filipino, he decided to get rid of any means of escape.”
All that, only to successfully apply for Australian residency in the late 1990’s citing “fatigue” he felt for the situation surrounding him in the Philippines.
“I felt I’d already done too much in Manila,” he said. “I experienced political fatigue. Nothing new was being discussed in Manila. I told my son: ‘There is polarization. There are no new ideas.’ People have become cynical. I had to leave. I needed to recharge. I had a good life. I want to do things in a foreign country. I told my wife I wanted to leave before I got too old.”
Not surprisingly, Lirio’s Inquirer piece was given the title “Finally, Apo’s Jim Paredes gives up on RP” by the news editors when it went to print in August 2006 — a title Paredes took offense to.
Writing to the Inquirer on September, 2006 Paredes accused Lirio of “cherry picking” information he included in his report to fit the title and “so missed the true story”. He also expressed how the article and its headline “caused me stress and has sadly upset my family, friends and a lot of other people.” He also proceeded to call Inquirer news editor Artemio Engracia Jr “calloused” and “pathetic”. He also called him a liar.
Sure, I expressed disappointment with the politics of the country just like everyone else, but to say I have “finally” given up on the Philippines is to put it mildly, a naked lie. It seems that the one who thought of this headline feels the best thing this country needs is a daily fix of despair and gloom.
More correctly, I have always said I would fight another day. Every day in Sydney, I wake up to discover the things that work well and wonder how we can do it back home.
Note that Paredes is often a victim of so-called liars — so he says.
Though the Inquirer publisher later apologised to Paredes, news editor Engracia along with his co-editors stood by their headline in a response to Paredes printed under Paredes’s letter…
With due respect to our publisher, the editors strongly disagree that the Inquirer owed Paredes an apology. While Paredes may not have said so in direct quotes, the sense of Gerry Lirio’s interview with him unmistakably delivered one message — he had given up the fight and ran away. Whether he plans to come back to fight another day — as he had promised repeatedly — remains to be seen. Until that happens, the thousands he had inspired with his patriotic songs through two decades are left holding the bag.
Our understanding is that when one migrates to another country, he intends to live, stay and work there for good. He applied for and was granted permanent residence. If permanent residence is not what he had planned in Australia, then he is abusing the generosity of his adopted country and has a lot of explaining to do to immigration authorities.
Engracia also cited an August 2006 blog posted on the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) which features a podcast interview with Chit Estella where Paredes said that his reason for migrating to Australia was to “take a vacation from being a Filipino”.
It seems. however, that Jim Paredes is now in the Philippines taking a vacation from being Australian — so much so that he now endures prolonged periods being away from his family (who still live in Sydney) while he does whatever he feels he needs to do back in his homeland. One of these “duties”, it seems, is to continue being a member of the cadre of celebrity mouthpieces of the President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III and his Liberal Party who have now pinned their hopes on Mar Roxas in a desperate bid to cling to power past 2016.
That’s some vacation, Jim.
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