Opposition social media “activists” have recently been up in arms over the portrayal by a popular comedy act of Opposition Senator Leila De Lima who is in prison on charges of drug trafficking. In last Saturday’s episode of Vice Ganda’s It’s Showtime, Ganda and singer Jugs Jugueta made reference to De Lima’s incarceration with Ganda kicking off banter with Jugueta by commenting on her appearance on the show saying “Nagmukha kang si Leila de Lima na bloated. Parang hiyang ka sa loob. Ano message mo kay Trillanes?” (Translated: “You look like Leila De Lima only bloated. It’s like prison suits you. What’s your message to [Senator Antonio] Trillanes?”)
In response Jugueta quips, “Hoy hinihintay na kita dito!” (Translated: “Hey, I’ve been waiting for you to join me here!”)
Netizens were, as expected, quick to denounce the sketch as one “mocking” De Lima’s supposedly serious predicament. Inquirer columnist Gideon Lasco issued a statement on Twitter condemning it as “unacceptable”…
Senator Leila de Lima deserves utmost respect as a woman of courage: one who boldly went against Duterte’s drug war at the height of his popularity. Any attempt to make fun of her, especially in light of her current predicament as a prisoner of conscience, is unacceptable.
Other Netizens chimed in to cite the recognitions De Lima had received from international “human rights” organisations and reports on her plight published by major prestigious media organisations such as the New York Times as evidence that she is not a person that deserves to be “mocked”.
Therein lies the point De Lima’s defenders seem to be missing — that despite the supposedly awesome “support” she is getting from the “international community”, they worry her reputation and the supposed nobility and moral ascendancy of her quaint “activism” could be eroded — even undone — by a mere comedy skit. The fact is, De Lima and her pal “senator” Antonio Trillanes are public figures that are not entitled to the kids’ gloves treatment. For one thing, De Lima hasn’t exactly kept her nose clean enough to mitigate the risks associated with going up against a popular political figure such as current President Rodrigo Duterte. For his part, Trillanes himself sports quite the rap sheet of military adventurism punctuated by the use of deadly military resources against a duly-elected civilian government.
If anything else, De Lima should consider herself to be in good company. Jesus Christ himself was the subject of far more mockery over many centuries — and continues to be fodder for thousands of comedy sketches. Yet he remains at the centre of vast religious empires that continue to grow in wealth and power. Indeed, rather than get comfy with this latest opportunity to play the Victim Card, what De Lima should really be doing, if she really believes in her advocacy, is to assure her followers that comedy sketches by popular Filipino comedians do not concern her.
It is quite obvious that the Opposition De Lima fandom remain convinced that De Lima cuts a big figure (in both literal and figurative senses) in the “human rights” activism industry. In that regard, they should just get a life, tune in to Vice Ganda’s show and have a bit of a laugh over what really is a rather funny skit.
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