Filipinos like emotional highs. They need them as a distraction from their wretched existences. Pinoy Pride, which a victory by Manny Pacquiao, or Gilas Pilipinas, or any other sports team or celebrity with Filipino blood competing overseas provides, is an example of such a source of them.
They also got such a high from Mary Jane Veloso.
Mary Jane was scheduled to be executed for smuggling drugs into Indonesia, but the execution has been postponed, seemingly due to the intercession of her supporters and other interest groups. However, it’s only been postponed, not cancelled, pending an investigation on Maria Kristina Sergio, the one who allegedly recruited her illegally and duped her into carrying prohibited drugs into Indonesia.
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At the risk of stating the obvious, the investigation and trial of Veloso’s case must not be screwed up. Of course, the Philippines is notorious for its slow justice system. And right now, it seems that the Philippine government is more preoccupied with taking credit for the delay in Veloso’s execution.
As always, there are deeper, underlying questions that need to be answered. Just like Veloso’s case, they’ve always been there, yet Filipinos don’t do anything about them until the 11th hour. Why do we continue to send Filipinos abroad as overseas contract workers? Why are there still Filipinos who insist on drug trafficking into other countries? Why have successive governments not been successful in weaning us away from reliance on OCW remittances? How many other cases like Veloso’s are out there that are not being given sufficient attention?
I shudder to think about how government treats one of the biggest sources of money flowing into the country: “Go and keep sending us your remittances, but if you run into trouble in your host country, bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo!” The Philippine government seems to be so…helpless in protecting its OCW’s yet here they are generally exploitative of and indifferent, bordering on rude, to them.
Enough about that for now. Because Veloso’s execution has been delayed, Filipinos are now going into the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight fired up. They’ve been waiting for a long time to see this fight happen (actually, this fight should’ve happened years ago), and they’re all too eager to see Mayweather get beaten by Pacquiao.
I’m generally apathetic about the fight itself; I couldn’t really care less who will win.
Several days earlier, however, Pacquiao announced that he would eventually be running for president.
I can see a scenario wherein whether Manny Pacquiao wins or loses, Filipinos will have a reason to vote him into office anyway. He wins, they will vote him because Pacquiao will stoke Pinoy Pride once again against a very high-profile opponent. He loses, they will vote him in out of pity.
What else do Mary Jane Veloso’s case and Manny Pacquiao’s have in common? The underlying attitudes and problems concerning Filipinos will not change for a long time. Filipinos will still leave everything to their government, who will in turn neglect and abuse OCW’s unless they can use it for pogi points. They will also continue voting unqualified people and the same old politicians because they continue to lack imagination and capacity for change. Worse, they will still continue to hold on to Pinoy pride, because it’s the only thing they have that can make them feel good about themselves. They latch the entire Filipino people onto an individual’s success and claim it as one of their own.
Emotional highs, such a temporary reprieve. Pretty soon, Filipinos will be back to their indifferent and wretched realities again. And they will still lack collective resolve to change their society for the better.
А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. – But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.