As I wrote in my previous article The Philippines’ shame: Bickering over the Mary Jane Veloso case, the five-year plight of Mary Jane Veloso leading to the 11th-hour stink raised by the Philippines’ “activist” community which, in turn, spurred the government of President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III to get on the ball negotiating a stay of her execution in Indonesia on charges of drug trafficking provides full and sufficient context behind the rage exhibited by her mother, Celia Veloso, today. Indeed, if your daughter had been on death row in a stinky Indonesian jail for five years, then “rescued” from her executioners only because the profile of the case was raised by a swelling of popular support just weeks before the execution date, you would be hopping mad seeing President BS Aquino taking credit for that “miraculous” escape.
That is exactly the point that celebrity activist Monique Wilson hoped to bring across in her impassioned plea to a Filipino public suddenly repulsed by a speech delivered by Celia on Labour Day, the 1st of May after arriving from Indonesia following her daughter’s narrow escape from death. Wilson writes…
I urge netizens not just to know the full story first – and the story does not merely begin in the hour leading up to her suspended execution), but to look at the entire CONTEXT of the case, and more importantly, to also IMAGINE if this happened to you and to your loved one. Would your pain not make you rage, too? Would you not be shouting even louder than Nanay Celia for what you felt were your privileges?
Indeed, perfectly understandable.
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The trouble with the Veloso family is that they found comfort in the arms of the wrong mob — those communists.
The militant “activist” group Migrante who, it seems, put Celia up to that Labour Day speech are part of a whole social movement sector — the militant Left — that had long ago been discredited and are now no longer regarded as a community of serious reformists. These people had long been known for their shrill tireseome anti-any-government anti-American rhetoric. Though creditable for their monomanic consistency, the militant Left have failed to evolve into a modern activist force adept at navigating the vastly more complex 21st Century public relations landscape.
Indeed, keeping a famously attention-deficited Filipino public engaged in Mary Jane’s on-going plight (she is still on death row and, therefore, not quite out of the woods yet) would have been paramount after this first win that was her temporary reprieve. As such, Celia’s speech, in essence, turned the whole effort into an absolute PR debacle. As evident in the reactions to that speech raging across the Philippines’ social media scene, not even Monique Wilson’s star power could stem the turning of the PR tide against the Veloso cause.
The fact is, Filipinos were first willing (or emotionally conditioned) to overlook the fact that people like Mary Jane Veloso are products of generation-spanning poverty and victims of administration-transcending systemic exploitation that found themselves subject to a legal system that cares for neither. Celia’s screechy misguided tirade brought that reality back to the public consciousness and tragically eroded the gloss of Mary Jane’s initial media packaging as a hapless damsel in distress.
In short, the decades-in-the-making walking PR disaster that is the Philippines’ militant Left had fatally rubbed their eyesore-inducing dysfunctional media image off on the Veloso cause in a single ill-advised public address. If there was a bigger tragedy than Mary Jane’s erstwhile already-tragic situation, that unfortunate development would be it.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.