You either are or aren’t a communist. How difficult is it to answer a “yes” or “no” when asked, Are you a communist? Evidently, very difficult. This fact about the Philippines’ political and cultural minefield was brought to the fore when, in a recent press conference given by Ana Patricia Non, founder of the Maginhawa Community Pantry, GMA News reporter Tina Panganiban-Perez asked “Meron ka nga bang link sa communist groups?” (“Could you confirm if you actually do have links with communist groups?”). As a result of this simple question, Panganiban-Perez became the latest whipping girl of members of the Opposition led by the Yellowtards (the bloc of partisans within it loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco clan) and the communists who had taken to social media to whip up an outrage fad around this.
The context behind this latest outrage fad is in reports that Non had shut down her community pantry initiative due to what she described as incidents of “red tagging” coming out against her. One would think then that if her reasons were such, then the natural question would then be whether said “red-tagging” actually does have bases. This is likely to be the motivation behind Panganiban-Perez’s line of question. In short, Panganiban-Perez was only doing her job laying the factual groundwork for the report she will presumably have filed following this conference.
Indeed, there are other bases as well to justify why such questions need to be asked of Non. As of this writing, what seems to be Non’s Facebook profile, “AP Non”, is publicly-accessible and, as such, fair game for reference. Noteworthy features of this profile include a background image of a protest rally where a banner screaming “PAG HINDI UMALSA ANG MASA, WALANG TINAPAY SA MESA” (“If the masses do not revolt, there will be no bread on the table”). The slogan is attributed to communist front and “women’s issues” group (so they claim) GABRIELA. The profile image used is a black background upon which the words “WE CRIED A RIVER NOW WE FIGHT BACK #OustDuterteNow” is written.
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It is on this profile that Non seemingly announced her decision to shut down her community pantry in a post dated yesterday, the 21st April. Among other events documented on her timeline is her participation in the “Grand Mananita” rally held in the Diliman Campus of the University of the Philippines (UP) in June last year.
It is evident then if these are indeed content she had published herself on Facebook that Non is a supporter of initiatives that (1) aim to unseat the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte outside of established institutional processes and (2) incite the masses to revolt as a means to put “bread on the table”. It is reasonable then to expect a journalist worth her salt to use these observations collectively as context for the hard questions that certain members of the “activist” communities Non consorts with find uncomfortable. It is quite ironic that these very “activists” who habitually assert the entitlement of journalists to ask such hard questions are the very same ones now trying to muzzle Tina Panganiban-Perez.
In his Manila Times column “A crisis in truth seeking”, Professor Antonio Contreras writes…
I am in deep awe at investigative reporters who are able to pore over documents, some of which are even classified and secret, and interview well-placed sources, some of whom are even working for their own governments who, protected by the assurance of secrecy as a confidential source, would provide vital and credible information about the inner workings behind every government decision, or scandal.
Here, Contreras refers to those traditional bogeymen — states and governments — as roadblocks to “truth seeking”. Funny enough in this recent instance, on the question of whether or not Non is a communist, it seems it is the so-called “activists” and “thought leaders” of the Opposition who have taken the role of the personas traditionally associated with efforts to thwart said “truth seeking”. Here, again, we see the hypocritical selective nature of Yellowtard and communist “activism” on exhibit. Indeed, it is easy to see now what sorts of regimes these people would put in effect in the event they succeed at seizing power.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.