I can’t help but think that Filipinos who blame former Philippine President and Congresswoman, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) for everything bad that has happened in the country have a squatter mentality. By my own definition, people who have a squatter mentality have this strong sense of entitlement. They believe that the government owes them benefits or privileges. This is why you will often hear people say, “It is GMA’s fault why there are more poor people in the Philippines”. Never mind that GMA had no control over people’s decision to have more babies they can’t afford to feed. Of course, GMA wasn’t perfect. But like I said in my previous article, the fact that the Aquino government can’t even charge her for her “crimes” using a case that could stick means that they’ve got nothing much on her.
People with squatter mentalities do not believe in hard work or in contributing to the betterment of society. They think that they can rely on the government to be responsible for their own happiness. It is quite a fitting description considering squatters by their very nature have no concern or respect for the rights or property of others. They also think that the laws do not apply to them and that they are entitled to disregard them. Some squatters can be arrogant, defiant and selfish. For some reason, the incumbent President, Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) and his minions come to mind when I think about people with squatter mentality. After all, PNoy and his mouthpieces keep blaming GMA for everything, including their own shortfalls and especially when they commit gaffes.
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Take the case of singer and songwriter, Jim Paredes. He has been very active on his twitter account lately trying to vilify GMA every chance he gets. This is what he tweeted earlier: “Atty Topacio MD, better check her height. I think she may have stopped growing, too. She may need therapy abroad.” Judging by the number of crass tweets Jim has been sending in reference to GMA, I think it is safe to say that Jim may have lost the plot. Jim appears to be struggling to find his relevance in Philippine society nowadays. His jokes are so half-a-century ago – back when political correctness was non-existent and Tito Vic and Joey ruled the comedy scene. To be precise, his jokes do not belong in this day and age when making fun of people’s appearance or illness is a no-no and a sign of ill breeding.
As a self-proclaimed key player in the very first (and certainly not the last) people power, Edsa revolution, Jim seems to think that he still has credibility after lending his talent to the campaign for PNoy during the 2010 presidential election — PNoy, who most rational people know, was the least qualified of all the presidential candidates. Sadly, Jim used his popularity to help PNoy win the election. Jim’s action is something that I would consider “misguided” and his lack of remorse in supporting PNoy even after PNoy’s mediocre performance after almost two years in office is pathetic to say the least. Worst of all, Jim’s blind support for PNoy’s defiance of the Supreme Court says a lot about his character: arrogant, shows no respect for the law, and no concern for the rights of others. In short, he seems to have a squatter mentality.
There are many more high-profile personalities like Jim Paredes who still refuse to see the big picture. They fail to see that their continued ranting against GMA and some of the members of the Supreme Court continues to divide the nation between those who are being irrational and those who can think objectively, which in turn results in disunity and instability.
Ask the average Filipino why he hates GMA and you won’t get a straight answer. He’ll just spew the usual “she cheated during the 2004 election” or “she stole taxpayer’s money” drivel. It gets really boring to hear the same thing over and over without getting any of the specifics or details of their allegations against GMA.
Since some people have a hard time figuring out why they hate GMA, I have come up with a list of the most probable reasons why they do:
1. Most Filipinos think that blaming the late former President, Ferdinand Marcos is so passé so they have moved on to GMA. A quarter of a century after Edsa, the Aquinos and their supporters cannot keep blaming the original “bad guy” because blaming Marcos after all these years will highlight the fact that there was nothing significant about the so-called “people power” revolution that happened in 1986 to begin with. It becomes funnier when you hear them say, “GMA is worse than Marcos” because they don’t realise that this is the same as saying, “We were better off during the Marcos years”.
2. Most Filipinos need to blame someone for the lack of progress in their own personal lives. They might still be stuck doing the same dead-end job or in the case of some, still stuck waiting for government handouts.
3. Most Filipinos are actually angry with themselves, not with GMA. Underneath that arrogance is a people who are clueless as to why the country continues to be plagued by corruption and lack of progress. They don’t realize that it is the people’s lack of attention to how public servants do their jobs that is the reason why public funds gets mismanaged. In other words, people’s apathy and indifference to how the country is being run is the real cause of corruption and not GMA.
4. Most Filipinos need a diversion. They’ve got nothing going for them. In the case of PNoy for example, he needs to divert people’s attention away from his lack of leadership skills and lack of vision for the country’s future. It is beginning to be quite obvious to a lot of Filipinos that his only agenda for the entire duration of his term is to prosecute GMA. PNoy seems to think that he can simply continue to ride upon GMA’s economic gains while blaming her during his term.
5. Most Filipinos are suckers for drama. This is why they would rather believe hearsays or “tsismis” than facts. It doesn’t help that GMA was said to be not in good terms with some stakeholders of mainstream media. Allegations of GMA’s criminal activities probably gave them huge profits every time they printed stories of her “crimes”.
6. Most Filipinos are addicted to instant gratification. Instant gratification describes the short-term satisfaction gained from impulsive behaviour. And some of the things that can give Filipinos instant gratification are initiatives like “people power” revolutions and habits like defying the rule of law. It is much easier and quicker to get instant results when you throw the rulebook out of the window. But there are grave consequences when using shortcuts like defying the law as an option at getting something done. Most people have not realized it yet but removing an elected leader unconstitutionally the first time already set a dangerous precedent. It gave people excuse or reason to justify doing it again and again. Marcos, Erap and now the Supreme Court.
7. Most Filipinos are ignorant of their rights. 25 years after Edsa, Filipinos still struggle with their knowledge of what freedom is about. They don’t seem to know how to use their so-called freedom responsibly. This is evident in how some Filipinos keep throwing false accusations against their opponents left and right without thinking of the consequences. This is evident in how PNoy keep saying that some members of the Supreme Court cannot be trusted to do the right thing.
Some Filipinos are even ignorant of the law and individual rights, which is precisely the reason why they are gullible enough to believe people who claim to be doing the “righteous” thing like when DOJ secretary Leila de Lima claimed she was looking after the “national interest” in defying the temporary restraining order of the Supreme Court.
8. Most Filipinos are beholden to celebrities and sons and daughters of so-called “heroes”. If you don’t have a celebrity gene, you could end up the bad guy. But what’s so dysfunctional about most Filipinos’ way of thinking is that they keep voting into office the relatives of the public servants they say are corrupt (the Marcos’s, the Estradas, and the Arroyos among others) and most of their preferred lawmakers are showbiz personalities or are sporting heroes. Which is why precious time and taxpayer’s money are spent on trivial stuff like the proposal to rename Edsa to Cory Aquino Avenue.
9. Most Filipinos are still looking for a hero. The people who voted for him thought they found a hero in PNoy. But PNoy actually thought he could get some direction on how to run the country from the people. Both are getting lost in the process of looking at each other for clues on how to get to the quickest way to the “tuwid na daan” or straight path.
10. Most Filipinos still believe in “angels” and “demons”. This is unfortunately a legacy of peoples’ belief in superstition. Like those who believe in witchcraft, some will believe “evil” stories involving GMA even if these lack any basis or evidence to back up the claim. Because some things are very difficult to accept like the reality that they are also accountable for their own lives, some Filipinos would look at their problems, shrug these off and say that things happen for a reason because of interventions by “The Adjustment Bureau” or some heavenly being. Never mind that some things like politicians getting away with criminal activities happen because of their own negligence or lack of vigilance.
So there you have it. It does make sense for most Filipinos to keep blaming GMA. They don’t have to do anything but send out “sick” jokes and feel good about themselves. Unfortunately for them, their lack of foresight can be their undoing. They fail to realize yet again, that even if they successfully prosecute and put GMA in jail, the way they did with former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada or even when they forced Marcos into exile, they will have no one else to blame but themselves for the lack of progress in the country in the end.
And that is why there are a lot of squatters in the Philippines.
In life, things are not always what they seem.