When thinking of the character of the Filipinos, I am reminded of a taxi driver who said, when you’re in the city, you can’t be “mabait.” Instead, keep making “tutok.” Maybe he meant asserting yourself, but it could also mean that you should be mean and aggressive to others. Perhaps you have heard of some Filipinos, maybe probinsiyanos who tell you, “everyone’s out to wrong you, so what you do is, get ahead of them and wrong them first.” They thus twist the Golden Rule: Instead of “Do unto others what you want them to do to you,” it becomes “Do unto others before they do it to you.” You see the problem here; they become the ones doing wrong. So they can’t complain of being the victims; they did wrong first.
Many writers here explained that Duterte, thought to have approved of the killing of innocents aside from criminals by the Davao Death Squads (which fanatic supporters vehemently deny, despite so many reports of it going around), is the product of a society that itself may approve of the killing of innocents at times. The clamor for Death Squads and the willingness to overlook his connections to extrajudicial killings imply that the ordinary people themselves have a disrespect for others’ rights. Filipinos are likely looking for harsh extra-judicial “justice” because they themselves do not like the judicial process. They want the rule of whim over law. They are willing to overlook someone’s questionable methods as long as that someone carries out some violent retribution on someone they hate. In short, they just want the people they dislike killed. In the U.S., Donald Trump is capitalizing over this same attitude that some American people hold about Muslims and even LGBTs.
There is another thing about the death squad killings: all reported deaths are mostly of small-time hoodlums and crooks (even street children!). Not one has been a report of someone big-time or a wealthy boss or drug lord. Thus, there is a risk that Duterte will not mop up the corrupt politicians by killing them. Indeed, who is foolish enough to believe that? That is only wishful thinking. It seems that the death squads only kill poor people, the ones in society needing help. And this could indicate a Freudian slip in the Death Squad-tards, that they actually want death squads who could get rid of all the “kadiri squatters” around them by killing them (as if they will). Seriously, that seems to be the attitude many middle-class desthsquad-tards have.
I wonder, what if Duterte had an about face and said, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t just kill anyone you want to see killed. Let us go through due process first, because if an innocent is killed, then we have done wrong. Let us instead focus on economic solutions.” What would be the reactions of the supporters? Would they say, “hey, you disappoint us, you should kill all those we hate!” I would praise Duterte for that, because that would be the right thing to do. But if the fanatic supporters behave as I guess, then it shows that they are indeed worse than the politicians they either endorse or hate.
The leaders are only a reflection of the people. It proves what we have been saying all along: the problem is not just with the leaders or the elite of the country. It’s with the people themselves. Sometimes, the people who claim to be law-abiding are themselves either the actual law-breaking ones or have an inner desire to be law-breakers. Perhaps the people are still hung up on the vigilante and crook movies of the 1970s and 1980s, like Boy Negro and all. But these are fantasies, and those who believe the real-life version of these characters will make Philippine society better are deluded.
It seems many supposedly educated Filipinos still have the hypocritical tendencies that they are fond of charging the politicians they hate most of having. They complain about government officials stealing from workplaces and putting in relatives in sensitive positions, but they do the equivalents themselves. They want a peaceful society, but they want it done by having other people killed. Despite their claiming criminals will be killed, it is likely that innocents will be killed by mistake (and it has happened). And if they say that this is a necessary cost for peace and order, then you know that they don’t really care about societal peace; they only care about their own. Perhaps they are the ones manifesting the attitude of the probinsiyano I talked about above: before they commit crimes, kill them first.
This also shows one of the wrong attitudes Filipinos have towards politicians. They see Filipino politicians as do-it-all genies who, once elected, should already know what the people want and will immediately do it, so the citizens can just focus on their lives and try to enjoy themselves without a care about the good of society. But that is not true. The reality shows otherwise. Politicians today are able to bank on the laziness of such people so they can get away with their shenanigans. Then the people complain that the politicians are corrupt, but it’s because the people didn’t do their duties in the first place. Perhaps the assertion that fanatic supporters are delusional and lazy might be true after all.
Filipinos should stop their Juan Tamad approach in politics and actively become the check-and-balance of the leaders they elect. They should stop their own pasaway attitudes and indeed be more respectful and concerned about the public space. They should stop the fire-and-forget approach in voting and realize that continuous intervention in political affairs is the ordinary citizens’ job too. Indeed, the reform should not just be in government, but in the people.
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- The Mess the 1960s Created - March 1, 2017