Suddenly everyone has an opinion. People who normally can’t be bothered to comment, post, or even glance at any political information you regularly provide are now so involved with what’s going on in the country.
That’s good. Despite the obvious bandwagoning typical of Facebook users for the hoped-for ‘likes’ and adulation for their posts, at least people are showing signs that they’re not actually that indifferent and oblivious to things going on around them.
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And there’s nothing like a provocateur like Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to stir things up with nary lifting a finger. Because of a crass joke, people are losing their minds. I agree with the general sentiment that it was uncalled for and callous considering he was in a public setting and he was a public servant. And that all public servants should hold themselves to a higher moral, and ethical plane than the average citizen as an example.
But then I remembered: This is the Philippines we’re talking about. And on the heels of that: When did we ever have politicians who behaved decently in the last 20-30 years anyway?
This is a place where—as I have already pointed out in two write-ups about Manny Pacquiao when he found himself in a similar quandary because he cannot control his mouth—people routinely partake in more than one form of verbal abuse without even thinking about it at least once in their lifetime.
In the Philippines, gutter-mouth is the norm, even among the so-called elites. Mar Roxas himself has had his share of gutter-mouth moments in front of the public, where one crispy Putangina! Ano to?! Putangina! Walang bawal-bawal sa akin! after another also got him in the crosshairs of political observers who called him out on it. And that’s a supposed elite, AB crowd favorite and a ‘decent’ candidate’s slip showing in no more than one occasion.
Look no further than your own neighborhood and even own household for racial slurs, gay jokes, and risque conversations. Where friendly ribbing like ‘Wag ka mag-alala di ka mare-reyp sa ayos mong yan‘, is as banal and inconsequential as ‘Hello’ or ‘Kamusta‘. Sometimes, even a combination of insults that would probably land you in jail in more developed countries happen: Where jokes on how skin color or gender orientation might save you from a possible sexual assault because they’d repel sexual predators.
You have heard this in no more than one occasion and I’m sure you simply forced out a smile or a chuckle no matter how uncomfortable you must have felt just to save yourself from being ostracized by the group. And that at one time or another, you’ve been guilty of the same insensitive slurs yourself.
That’s a daily reality in the Philippines. Of course it’s not right. But there’s something hypocritical about being able to observe, move around, hear and probably did it at one time in your life yourself, and suddenly grow a civic-minded altruistic crusade to rid the universe of evil simply because another member of a society that tolerates that type of crap said it.
What’s even more confounding about this recent outrage fad is that it centered on a person’s cheap talk. Meanwhile, some quarters are using taxpayer’s money, government resources for their campaign, and, recently, open-fired on a bunch of famished farmers. But the outrage for those were nowhere near the rabid bloodlust some people had for that verbal screw-up.
I should know. My Facebook timeline was chirping crickets about those types of things until that Duterte incident happened.
I guess when there’s no sexual element involved, then it must be within the bounds of what constitutes as ‘moral’ in the Philippines. No less than the ‘venerable’ CBCP had ‘maximum tolerance’ on matters involving malversation of taxpayers’ money:
In a report on CBCPNews, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas reminded Christians to “love at all times, even those who sin and err, for none of us is above human frailty.”
“For those among us who are not accused, let us remember that the offenses with which those who now stand accused are charged could very well be the offense of any of us as well,” he said.
“Who are we to condemn? Let the one who has no sin be the first to cast a stone,” he added.
Villegas urged officials not to act out of hatred or desire for vengeance. He said a vengeful action “cannot be from God.”
And an off-with-their-heads policy on gutter-mouthed politicians:
CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said: “Vulgarity is corruption. When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people.”
“When a revered and loved and admired man like Pope Francis is cursed by a political candidate and the audience laugh, I can only bow my head and grieve in great shame. My countrymen have gone to the dregs,” Villegas said.
So much for casting that first stone, padre.
When you get robbed by pristine-looking thieves mouthing off their Hail Marys and their saintly virtues and people buy into that, guess the shit really hit the fan. And we don’t need potential despots like Duterte to ruin something that’s already damaged beyond recognition.
Worker in a private sector hive.