Calling for a laban or “fight” is easy. You can see how easy it is by observing any schoolyard brawl.
“Bakla ka raw sabi ni Totoy. Payag ka?”
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“Kalabitin mo sa titi”.
“Siga ka ba? Di ka naman papalag.”
Filipinos then grow up, leave the schoolyard, then go on to apply the same childish mentality to their supposedly “grown-up” politics. Recently, Philippine presumptive “vice president” Leni Robredo issued the equivalent “grown-up” version of a schoolyard call-to-action by raising the long-dead Laban slogan of her long-dead political party in her latest ululation…
“As your duly-elected Vice President, I took an oath to defend the Constitution. You can count on me to do everything in my power to right this wrong,” Robredo said at the Free the Courts forum at the University of the Philippines (UP) as she hit the quo warranto petition [against Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno] as the “final blow to the ideal of justice.”
Robredo uses an old-fashioned (though, to be fair, still-effective) technique of mass persuasion used by demagogues of yore.
(1) Jump off from a claim to administrative authority (“As your duly-elected Vice President”)
(2) Style yourself as being on a Mission from God (“I took an oath to defend the Constitution”)
(3) Describe said mission in nebulous terms (“You can count on me to do everything in my power to right this wrong”)
(4) Put forth a “victim” that is “under attack” and therefore needs to be “rescued” (“final blow to the ideal of justice”)
The fornmula is structurally the very same sort of call-to-action issued by popes and imams to launch their crusades and jihads. Whether it’s one “holy city” or the other or the name of one prophet or messiah being used in vain, the “victims” that one is called to “fight” for are often abstract or anointed with some sort of summary hallowedness that resonates with a people who would rather believe stories than think through factual options.
This is the intellectual cancer that the Philippine Opposition under the leadership of the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards) continues to infest the nation’s politics with. Rather than encourage intellectual debate, the Yellowtards continue to stunt and poison Filipinos’ minds with the same cult of personality influence peddling around which they define their angels and demons. So, in the minds of the Yellowtards, the angels are those who live in the “heaven” of the perverse liberalism they espouse, and the demons live in the “hell” of the annoying rules that are now working against their agenda.
What Robredo and her minions are waging their “crusades” over are mere business-as-usual initiatives any government worth their salt would pursue — like sanctioning businesses such as Rappler for baldly violating regulation, throwing in prison “senators” under whose watch as a former Justice Secretary drug use, trafficking, and administrative abuse proliferated in state correction facilities, revoking concessions given to “reporters” as a result of their employers’ business compliance offenses, and removing “chief justices” who are clearly not qualified to head the judiciary. That’s just plain old good housekeeping — something the shrillest of the shills who pass themselves off as the Opposition’s foremost “thought leaders” should understand at heart.
Truth be told, the Opposition has not much intellectual capital to build strong counterarguments upon. Their old voodoo platform of worshipping faces on 500-peso bills had been massively discredited in the 2016 elections. They are now hard-pressed to craft a new alternative pathway to the “strongman” rhetoric of the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that continues to be popular with millions of Filipinos. Suffice to say, the Opposition have not stepped up to meet that higher challenge and are, instead, waging a reactive intellectually-impoverished guerrilla war.
Indeed, guerrilla wars are romantic subjects for SOB-story “inspirational” dramas. Some may even argue that the commies won the Vietnam War using guerrilla tactics. But, see, Filipinos are not like the Vietnamese and the guerrilla cause their current Opposition are desperately recruiting for exists only in the confused minds of “opposition” leaders like Leni Robredo.
What is ironic is it is the very “influencers” of this “opposition” that continuously whine about the “weaponisation” of technology for political ends. We can understand where this mentality comes from now when we behold the absolute primitive approach they take in their political movements. This is, after all, the 21st Century and it is pretty evident that the playing field has changed thanks to the very technology that these liberals once heralded as, well, “game-changing”. Funny how the more clever use of these technologies by their opponents so easily knocked the wind out of all that gushing about the new “citizen journalism”.
We can see here how every word uttered by Leni Robredo reveals the intellectual bankruptcy of the Opposition she presumes to lead. The solution is therefore obvious. The Opposition need to ditch Robredo and, along with her, any trace of influence coming from the Yellowtards her face, form, and vacuous substance represents. The clock is ticking towards the 2019 elections and, soon, the next change in leadership. It is not too late for a real Opposition to emerge — if the obvious solution is considered, that is.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.