Thinking that Truth can be subverted, the privileged quite often will throw terror and hell fire (not the least in charging multi-million law suit) to create the ultimate fright, erecting an imaginary yet visibly felt bill board that says: don’t-you-mess-with-me-or-else. The privileged will find it necessary to flaunt its supposed privileges, showing to all and sundry that it has the upper hand. Truth, just like Frodo and the rest of the halflings in Lord of the Rings or Aung Suu Kyi of Burma or for that matter Cory Aquino of Edsa 1, becomes the underdog. But the oppressively over bearing stance of the privileged, as we all know it, is only temporary.
Erap learned this first hand. He tried and manipulated his way into the presidency, with the catch word Erap Para sa Mahirap. The Mahirap bit the formula hook and sinker. Erap’s last and hopefully final presidential showdown only indicates that many still bite his formula. Of course, it helps that Erap is a movie star. In a poverty-stricken nation such as ours, entertainment, as always, is the most viable opium. A good actor and a good script can really go a long, long way, at least for a certain period of time. But time, precisely is on the side of Truth. Erap’s viciousness unravels itself, no script and good acting can hide it.
When Erap became comfortable with the presidential privileges, he became adverse to criticisms and to Truth in general. There was a time he wasn’t pikon-talo. In fact, probably taking advises from his minions, he took every opportunity to utilize the then famous Eraption jokes to his advantage. And the public made sure he would not be talo. But then again, the privileges went to his head. To make everybody understand how sensitive he was to criticism and to Truth in general, Manila Times was brought to its knees. The Philippine Daily Inquirer almost surrendered, but the men and women of the Inquirer risked and took a mighty step by standing with its Truth. Erap was exposed for what he really is, a plunderer of the nation’s wealth, earning for himself the first ever Filipino president to have been sentenced and convicted of the highest crime of the land.
Arroyo is another case in point. Her I-am-sorry (better still Hello-Garci), NBN-ZTE deal, the pompously expensive Macapagal high way, the Maguindanao massacre (just to mention a few) will long be remembered than all of her well-orchestrated state of the nation address. However, Arroyo was more prudent than Erap. Instead of simply getting angry to criticisms, Arroyo used all the presidential privileges so no one will squeal the Truth. Even to this day, her machineries still work, protecting her like a gigantic water dam (more like a gargantuan monster in our nightmare) ready to fulfill the promises they made. Utang na loob after all is a very strong trait amongst Pinoys. Make no mistake though. This, too, is temporary. Truth, in whatever form it may reincarnate or revisit, will have its vengeance. It’s only a matter of time.
Across our surrealistic Republic, the privileged still acts like well, the privileged. They plea bargain their horrendous acts of plunder with the equally privileged, unmindful of the material, but more so moral injustices they wrought. They bask on the knowledge that in this country, all you need are the privileges to get more privileges. If you’re poor (with or without a crime), you will be beaten by thugs and accusers on national television before you are brought to prison and the slow pace of justice will be your sure lot. The privileged will also halt any and all attempts, Truth Commission or what, which will seek the Truth. They are ready to provide us with all the petty reasons, and they are armed with their privileges.
Expect then that the privileged, as Pontius Pilate did, to ask: what is the Truth? When all you need to do is to get out of your Porsche car to know.
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