By Antonio Montalvan II
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Asia News Network
As the footage goes viral on social media, the whole nation cries for blood.
Has the value system of Filipinos turned upside down? If the mass outrage against the bully were an indicator, yes it has. If the absence of outrage against the death toll from state police operations now counting 27,000 were an indicator, yes the Filipino value system has eviscerated from the gut to its worst pathological template. The contrast should be very distressing.
Samira Gutoc, that gutsy M’ranao civic leader of the Islamic city of Marawi, released a statement last December 23 that, for its entire provocative meaning, could have gone viral. But it did not. As a message that should reverberate across the nation with the audacity to challenge us from our current state of very strange stupor, Samira’s is a voice in the wilderness.
I run the risk of politicking for Samira, who is running for the Senate this May. But it unravels something nuanced about our elections – voices in the wilderness are not characteristic of dirty traditional politics. There is a paradox of integrity in our legislative halls and if it takes to elect a woman like Samira Gutoc to the Senate to break the glass ceiling, then I assume the risk.
“A high school kid bullies another kid, and the nation is outraged.
“The president declares Martial Law in Mindanao, bombs Marawi, and tells the soldiers they can rape up to three women, and it would be on him. There is no outrage.
“There is something profoundly wrong here. We have strict standards and little tolerance for juvenile delinquency. But [we] ignore bullying by the highest official of the land, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“It is time to push back. And push back hard we must to reject bullying as the norm of governance and normal Filipino behaviour.”
What is the weight of Samira’s message? Much. Cops took away the boy Kulot in an anti-drug operation, his rigor mortis cadaver later found with a masking tape wrapped around the pained face. There was no condemnation.
Since July 2016, 35 judges, prosecutors and lawyers have been murdered, yet where is the cry for blood? Not even from the judicial community, where not everyone could be a hoodlum in robe?
Despite martial law in Mindanao, a mall in Cotabato City was bombed. How many lives were wasted? Despite martial law in Mindanao, a six-year-old girl was raped in Davao City on December 27. Where are the calls for justice? Blatantly, the statistics do not match the justification. We did not see the anomaly, neither did our pork-loco legislators who voted to extend martial law.
But legislators do not sit in the two houses of Congress on the basis of power from the people. The majority sit there because they paid voters their way to their positions. “August”, a word long extinct from our Senate and the House of Representatives, makes Jurassic Park a walk in the park. The word means noble, dignified, majestic – the majesty of the law. None of these can even feebly describe our legislators. And yet we abet the crime of dynastic bullying on our Constitution.
Impunity is at the pinnacle of priorities of Rodrigo Duterte. And the nation has accepted it with wide, open arms. We have become a twisted mass of humanity pretending to be a nation of ideals.