Pinoy Alternate History (Part 2)

Just like last year’s celebration of Independence Day, I joined RocketKapre.com’s Twitter discussion/trend/story telling about alternate Filipino history. By means of the hashtag #RP612fic, Twitter users shared their tweet-length stories about our country’s alternative history and realist micro fiction.

I decided to collate and post my #RP612fic tweets here in my blog because eventually, these stories will be covered with other stories, opinion, and whatnots on my timeline. I would like to preserve these precious tweets and let it reach a wider audience through Juan Republic.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I am presenting you the product of my love for history, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and Game of Thrones.

  • Before Jose Rizal was given a mercy shot in the head, the commanding officer told him “The Lannisters send their regards”.
  • Simoun/Crisostomo Ibarra’s plan to sabotage Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey’s wedding failed when Isagani threw the lamp to the river
  • “Di lang ako Presidente! Artista rin ako at hindi ako basta-basta artista! Ako si Da King at ang orig na Panday!” – President FPJ
  • The White Walkers defeated the Night’s Watch under General Gregorio Del Pilar. They later chased Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela.
  •  Andres Bonifacio sensed that something was wrong at the Tejeros Convention when ‘The Rains of Castamere’ was played by the Cavitenos.
  •  The last words of Captain Pedro Janolino to the bloodied corpse of General Antonio Luna: “And now his watch has ended.”
  •   Pol Medina Jr. declared National Artist for Visual Arts – much to the dismay of St. Scholastica administration.
  •  Bossing Vic Sotto unites with Peter Jackson! ‘Si Bilbo Baggins at si Enteng Kabisote’ eyed for the 40th Metro Manila Film Festival
  •   In the Battle of Manila Bay, the Americans implored the help of Tyrion Lannister to use wildfire against the Spaniards.
  •  The City of Manila was declared an ‘Open City’ to save it from further destruction from Khaleesi’s dragons and her unsullied army.
  •  The City of Manila was the second most destroyed city during the War of the Five Kings – next only to Winterfell.
  •  PNoy named Hannibal Lecter as Malacanan’s new executive chef. The palace received good feedbacks from guests at the Vin D’Honneur
  •  Bonifacio rose up from his grave and punched ER Ejercito in the face over the former’s ‘bad image’ in the movie ‘El Presidente’.
  •  Before Aguinaldo’s men could kill them, Procopio and Andres Bonifacio contacted USS Enterprise and shouted “Beam us up, Scotty!”
  •   In 1892, Jose Rizal was exiled to the planet Vulcan. There, he became friends with Spock and the rest of the Vulcans.
  • In the year 2080, due to the numerous archived pro-Marcos posts, kids believe that Ferdinand Marcos is a member of The Beatles.

I could have added other insane stories on my tweets but I didn’t want to flood my followers’ Twitter timeline and I was then in the middle of rushing (read: cramming) my diagnostic examinations for my students (Yes, I’m a High School teacher. Yey.)

It is said that there are no ifs in history. We cannot dwell on the past and try to change it. But we can always learn from its lessons. As what George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

But we can always use our imagination and think of a good and creative historical fiction. And have a good laugh.

Mabuhay ang Kalayaan! Padayon!

___________________


Elsewhere:

  • Pinoy Alternate History – My #RP612fic tweets from last year – inspired by pop culture, television shows, and conspiracy theories.

Padayon

Isang basong tubig galing sa poso inutang na kanin at malamig na ginamos
kaunting asin sa plastik na platito busog na bay, puwede nang magtrabaho 
Sa aking balikat ay papasanin tatlong-daang kilo ng asukal limandaang sako ng denorado sanlibong kaha ng delata sampung tonelada ng arina
Kalawanging bubong, pader na may butas posteng pilay at sahig na paduyan-duyan ang aking palasyo’y pagkatibay-tibay pero puwede na ‘pre – tuloy ang hanapbuhay Ngayong araw ay tatapusin ko isang subdibisyon, limampung hektarya tatlong dosenang mansyon na magara higanteng gusaling likha sa semento kilo-kilometro ng kalsada
Oo, kay tamis ng buhay oo, kay daling umasenso  hangarin ko’y makatikim ng kaunting hayahay subalit kailangang ipagpatuloy ang hanapbuhay Pagkat walang ibang makagagawa nito paandarin ang makinarya bigyan ng buhay ang industriya patakbuhin ang ekonomiya padayunon ang pagpangita
Padayon!
Isang awiting obrero, para sa mga obrero, sa araw ng mga obrero.
May isa akong tweet na nabasa noong panahong wala pang masyadong jologs sa Twitter, mula yata kay ginoong Ramon Bautista. Kung gusto mong magkaroon ng inspirasyon sa araw-araw, pagmasdan mo daw ang mga ordinaryong taong pumapasok sa kanilang mga trabaho tuwing umaga.
Oo nga naman. Madalas, puro reklamo tayo sa hassles ng buhay. Puro reklamo sa trabaho at pag-aaral. Puro hinaing sa kung ano ang mga bagay na meron tayo. Gayong marami sa ating mga kababayang obrero, halos mamatay na sa trabaho na magkaroon lamang ng marangal na pagkukunan ng ipangtutustos sa kanilang pamilya. Ganoon ba dapat ‘yun? Kailangangmamatay upang makabuhay? Isang napakalaking kabalintunaan.
Hanga ako sa mga obrero, lalo na yung mga (mababa pa sa) minumum at arawan lamang kung sumuweldo. Tapos, hindi pa mga permanente at puro kontraktwal. Sila yung mga taong pinaghuhugutan ko ng inspirasyon para hindi sumuko sa buhay. Nakakahiya nga sa kanila. Ako na nga itong nakatapos at nasabing mas may pinag-aralan, ako pa itong tatamad-tamad sa trabaho. Paano kaya kung nagbiro ang tadhana at iyong skill at knowledge ko ay nasa kanilang mga masisipag? Napakalayo na siguro ng narating nila.
Kung hindi lang sana kalakaran dito sa atin ang kontraktwalisasyon. Kung ang trabaho ng mga obrero ay permanente at hindi na mamomroblema makalipas ang limang buwan. Siguro nga, metaphysicaly speaking, sa mundo ng negosyo at Kapitalsmo, maituturing na ‘necessary evil’ (o kinakailangan talagang umiral dahil ito ay nasa kaniyang natura gaano man kasama ang epekto) ang kontraktwalisasyon. Pero naniniwala akong hindi dapat iyon ang kalakaran sa tunay na mundo.
Isa sa mga paborito kong kanta ay ang ‘Padayon’ na orihinal na inawit ni Joey Ayala (na muling binigyang buhay ng Rivermaya sa kanilang album na “Isang Ugat, Isang Dugo”). Napakaganda ng mensahe nitong nagbibigay buhay sa manggagawa na huwag susuko at ang kanilang importansya sa lipunan.
Ang ‘Padayon’ ay isang salitang Bisaya na ang ibig sabihin ay ‘magpatuloy’ o ‘tuloy lang’. Sa katunayan, ginawa ko na ito bilang aking personal na ‘mantra’ at motto sa buhay. At kung hindi ka kabilang sa 85% ng mga tagasubaybay sa blog ko na hindi naman talaga nagbabasa (at may attention span lang ng dalawang talata), malamang ay napansin mong madalas ko itong gamitin sa aking mga naunang akda.
Ngayon ay Kapistahan ni San Jose, ang manggagawa. Siya ang itinuturing ng Simbahang Katolika na Patron ng mga obrero, ng mga manggagagawa. Ngayong araw din ipinagdiriwang sa buong kapuluan ang Araw ng mga Manggagawa o ang Labor Day.
Noong bata ako, itinuturing ko lang ang ika-1 ng Mayo o Labor Day bilang araw ng protesta ng mga aktibista at iba’t-ibang mga unyon ng manggagawa na kung misan, mapapa-“Punyeta!” ka na lang sa kanila dahil nagiging sagabal sa daloy ng trapiko, maingay, at parang mga ngawa lang nang ngawa na wala nang ginawa kung hindi magreklamo.
Pero kahit minsan, naisip mo ba na kung wala ang mga “maiingay” na ito, ang mga raliyista na nagreklamo, ang mga may hawak ng placard sa kalsada na dahilan kung bakit ka naipit sa ga-impyernong trapiko, hindi dapat  natin tinatamasa ngayon ang ilan sa mga pribilehiyo bilang mga manggagawa? Kung wala ang mga nakipaglaban na yan, wala tayong weekend, overtime pay, social security, sick leave,health benefits, at iba pa?
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Imbes na magreklamo dahil nahuli ka sa pagpunta sa mall para manood ng Iron Man 3 ngayong holiday, magpasalamat ka na lang kahit papaano.
Isa sa mga pangarap ko para sa ating Patria Adorada ay ang dumating ang araw na ang Araw ng Manggagawa ay maging isang araw na punong-puno lamang ng kasiyahan at pagdiriwang. Walang protesta. Walang sinusunog na effigy. Isang araw na pinapangaralan at pinasasalamatan ang lahat ng mga dakilang manggagagawa.
Sana, magkatotoo.
Mabuhay ang mga dakila at masisipag na obrerong Pinoy! Padayon!
Elsewhere:
  • NagResignAko.com – Kaunting katatawanan mula sa iba’t-ibang istorya ng mga manggagawang nagbitiw sa kanilang trabaho. Akala mo ay pinaka-impyerno na ang trabaho mo? Bakit hindi mo ikumpara sa kanila?

Philippine Daily Inquirer: You Got Trolled!

It was no surprise that for most of us who have been religiously following the happenings on the cyber world (half of which are journalists and the other half are bored individuals like me) – whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr – that President Aquino made it to this year’s list of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. The news came last April 18 at 7:03 PM, Manila time.

In response, President Noynoy Aquino said that he was merely the “face” of the Filipino people, that the recognition is due to his countrymen and of the whole country and that if success was achieved, it would be the success of everyone.

As most of you know, I have always been fascinated with covers and front pages of various local and international broadsheets and magazines. In fact, it is my daily habit before starting a day’s work to browse and to look at various front pages and covers whether it be in print or in digital format. I consider it as an exceptional art and as a part of history as well. So when the list came out, I eagerly waited on who would be on the cover of TIME’s special issue.

An hour past midnight earlier, while waiting for the developments on the manhunt of the marathon bombing suspect in Boston (and while waiting for my ‘Homeland’ episode download to finish), I dropped by the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer to see if they have already uploaded their page one for today. As I looked at the digital format of the front page, aside from the photos of the two Boston bombing suspects, I saw the photo of President Aquino in an apparently, a cover of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

 

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But here’s the catch: The cover looked fake and the photo of President Aquino that was used was one of his, excuse me, unflattering photos. I immediately searched TIME magazine to verify its authenticity and lo and behold, it turned out to be fake. The cover for this year’s special issue is Jennifer Lawrence. Not President Aquino.

So what? Some trolls and pranksters probably made that “false cover’ to fool on people.  But here’s the thing, it landed on the cover of one of the most respected broadsheet in the country (and they have repeatedly said that they are the leading broadsheet in the country, which, I believe by the way). The fake TIME Magazine cover landed on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. What a shame! (I later discovered that this fake cover came from one of the memes of Showbiz Government, a satirical Facebook page. Good job guys!)

I have a love-hate relationship with that broadsheet. Though I have repeatedly praised some of their creative front pages (like the false cover and the bloodied cover for the Philippine Independence Day celebration), I have also criticized (if not make fun of) some of them. to name a few, there was the juxtaposition failure, their tabloid-esque layout, and the headline that’s more appropriate in the entertainment section.

It has been a buzz in the social media that the Inquirer is “too yellow”,  a broadsheet that is always in favor of President Aquino. In fact, my (new) favorite blog, The Spin Busters, describe the Inquirer (or PDI) as thePresident’s Daily Inquirer. The Inquirer later apologized in a tweet saying that it was an honest mistake. But here’s the catch, they also said that they wish it was President Aquino on the cover. With that being said, I think it is evident that there is no statement “more yellow” than that.

I once worked for the publishing industry and it is a mortal sin among us to run and print non-factual information and materials. Though my previous job is not that of the news industry (I worked for a private company publishing textbooks), this broadsheet, In my opinion, with their hundreds of employees, should have exercised diligence in publishing their paper. Now that the boo-boo has been published and distributed nationwide, I think this broadsheet has lost a bit of their credibility. That’s the price you pay of falling for a troll’s trap.

Going back to President Aquino’s statement that he is the face of the Filipino people, I cannot but take a look again at his unflattering photo. The trolls have successfully used the President’s signature “nganga” image. In the local pop culture, “nganga” – or the act of leaving your mouth wide open – has a connotation of emptiness, laziness, tardiness, and stupidity.

If this is the real face of the Filipino people, then we are travelling not in a promised Daang Matuwid. We are in a Ngangang Matuwid.

Elsewhere:

Three Years After

This day marks the 3rd year, the 1,096th day of the gruesome Ampatuan Massacre, a horrible event in our history where 58 people were killed, 34 of whom were journalists or working for the broadcast industry. Justice is yet to be served, but do you still care?

It seems like the attention of the public on this issue is slowly going to the depths of the abyss of the forgotten. It’s in one of the infamous characteristics of the Filipinos. We have a short attention span. We tend to forget our past easily. Mabilis makalimot. Mabilis magpatawad. Or it is being overshadowed by other news and events.

 

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I partly blame this mentality in our Teleserye culture. For years, or for decades, we have been fed by these drama series shown every weeknights. The stories, though made of recycled plots and formulas, are fast-paced. We are not given an ample time to process what we have seen. We are bombarded every night by the same stories to the point that most of us hardly remember the development of the story, the plot, and the characters. Most TV series abroad are shown on a weekly basis. After each episode – with a definite plot and development – viewers are given an ample time to think, to scrutinize, to discuss, and to process what happened. That ample time, in my opinion, is the way people remember what they have received. And in a larger view, I view this as the way of constantly remembering events that affect our lives in general.

Or perhaps we no longer care about the issue anymore? As I write this piece, the local Twitter trending topics are filled with obscure statements of support for these pseudo-reality love teams and famewhores and other unimportant, self-gratifying topics that would make oneself ‘known’ on the cyber universe. I have always believed that the trending topics on Twitter in a particular country reflects its people’s priority, interest, and views. It’s a tragedy that these fantards behind the so-called ‘famewhore trends’ on Twitter seem to be more influential than the people behind the voices of reform, vital information, advocacy, and policy making. What a shame! 

Whenever there is a viral sensation sweeping online, most of the Filipinos (or those with access on the internet which, I think, is a substantial number) rally behind that thing – giving opinions, fumed reactions, and emotional outbursts. Like an angry mob during the medieval era holding torches and pitchforks, storming the house of an alleged witch or heretic. Take for example the Amalayer brouhaha last week. Almost every Filipinos with social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter expressed their two cents on the issue. It even caught a national attention when the news programs and news portals made a story out of the Amalayer incident.

If we can stand, forgive me for the term, united on this Amalayer thing with lesser significance, then why can’t we do the same with the issues of health, education, poverty alleviation, information, and social reform? Why can’t we do the same thing to rattle the authorities, the justice system, to call for justice for the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre and other extrajudicial killings?

By letting this event just pass us by our consciousness, it would appear that we are condoning the perpetrators of this crime. Or depriving justice to the victims and their families. Or killing the fifty-eight (58) victims repeatedly. The victims’ death will not be given justice if the perpetrators of the crime are not prosecuted and punished.

The victims of this gruesome massacre died doing what is right – the victims, in the sense of a change of leadership by means of a lawful and honest election and the mediamen, by telling their (victims’) story and by acting as our eyes, ears, and mouthpiece of that event.

This massacre is caused by the warlord’s struggle to keep their power and to protect their self-interest against any possible threats. Bad politics, bad leadership, and people continuously feeding these beasts by means of the culture of tolerance, impunity, and patronage politics. But we have seen that it is not impossible to have a good, efficient, and selfless leader to rule among us.

 

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One of the factors why these horrible events happen is because nobody seems to be punished. People choose to be silent for fear of retribution. People choose not to speak out to avoid trouble for them and their family. We are allowing the culture of impunity in our country

Impunity. Kawalang pakundangan. It’s like saying “Go ahead, kill everyone who are against your plans! Shoot the story tellers! We allow murder in our country! No one is punished by the way.”

And we don’t want it that way, right? So what can we do as an ordinary citizen?

  1. Never forget. Let us always put the Ampatuan massacre into consciousness. One way of doing it is to post something about it every 23rd of the month for everyone to see (on Facebook, Twitter, and in your blogs). This will help those who have forgotten to remember. You may notice, especially those who frequent on my blog, that I see to it that I post something every 23rd of the month to commemorate the Ampatuan Massacre and to raise awareness for those who seem to have forgotten.
  2. Be an educated and wise voter. The Ampatuan massacre is an election-related violence which involves (an alleged) private army. Choose your leaders wisely. Do not be swayed by their goods during the campaign season. Yes, we can always say our criticisms against these politicians via our tweets, blog entries, and Facebook posts. But do you know what’s more powerful? Our vote. One single vote can help kick the ass of these ‘powerful’ men of power.
  3. Be vigilant. Stay on guard, be watchful. Let us be our brother’s keeper. And let us keep an eye on the proceedings of the trial (even if it takes 55,000 years, according to Atty. Harry Roque). Let us not lose hope even though it may appear that there is no end in sight for the trial. Believe. Have faith. By means of our watchful eyes, we can achieve justice.

Earlier this morning, I watched the first part of Patricia Evangelista’s documentary ‘58’. Word cannot describe how I felt after seeing those mutilated bodies of the victims. Yes, I used to see gruesome scenes on the movies and TV shows that I watch but this one’s different. It’s real. Nakakapanlumo. Nakakapanghina.

It is painful to admit that the wheels of justice in our country are not well-oiled, causing it to roll slowly. And it is more heart-wrenching to know that the witnesses of this massacre are either being killed one-by-one or being abducted never to be seen again.

But let us not give up, let us not lose hope. As cliche as it may sound, the only way for evil people to triumph – or the culture of impunity to prevail in this country – is for good and responsible people to do nothing.

Let us chase Lady Justice no matter how exhausting, no matter how it seems to be hopeless, and no matter how long it takes.

Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. Never Forget. Never again. 

Photos courtesy of Union Journalists of the Philippines – UP Diliman and John Silva’s Facebook post and Inquirer.net, the website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Elsewhere:

  • 58 (Fifty-eight) – A documentary by Patricia Evangelista and Kiri Dalena aired over ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) on the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre.
  • No End in Sight to Trial of the Century – “Three years after the gruesome Maguindanao massacre, proceedings against the accused in what has been described as ‘the trial of the century’ grind at a snail’s pace and have not even reached the  halfway mark.” (Inquirer.net)
  • The Bravest Citizen Journalist I Know: The Maguindanao Massacre Boto Patroller – The story of the Maguindanao Massacre first broke out from a report of a Bayan Patroller. This is the story written by BMPM Head Arlene Burgos.
  • Special Report – Interaksyon.com’s feature on the third anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre. It includes the timeline of the events, an infographic about the massacre, the key events in 2012 about the trial, and other related stuff.
  • #TalkThursday: Remembering the Maguindanao Massacre – “Rappler.com talks to retired Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer about the Maguindanao Massacre and the prospects for peace in Mindanao.”

Two Years after the Bloodbath

Exactly two years ago, on the day after the bloodbath at the Quirino Grandstand, this was the headline of The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Yesterday marked the second year of the infamous Manila Hostage Tragedy where 8 Hong Kong tourists died when dismissed police officer Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus carrying 25 people in an attempt to get his job back.

Yesterday’s commemoration may have been overshadowed by other issues and events (Sen. Tito Sotto’s alleged plagiarism and his staff’s moronic defense and the sudden death of DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, to name some) but this tragic event in our history is still fresh in my mind, as if it happened just recently.

I was then in between doing my editing works and procrastinating on Tumblr when the news broke out the morning of August 23, 2010. Having seen a similar situation years before when Jun Ducat held hostage preschool students in a bus, I told myself that this will also come to a peaceful end. I even exchanged some good laughs and ideas with an online buddy, Tita Marj, about the possibility of creating a biopic for Captain Mendoza and guessing who would be the best actor to portray him (I personally chose Efren Reyes Jr. and Spanky Manikan for the role).

The whole afternoon and early evening went by with me tweeting and posting some stuff on Tumblr about the hostage crisis, my opinion, my rant against Captain Mendoza, on how would it affect our image to the international community, and being glued on the evening news on television, monitoring the events.

And then the unexpected came. The whole country – and perhaps the whole world – was in shock.

Most of us, I think, were glued then on the television and have watched the events that lead to a bloodbath. Those who have no television during that time resorted to social media, blogging site Tumblr included, for updates. My dashboard became a news feed of sort, thanks to the Tumblristas who posted the events (and opinion) on the blogging platform. (There was even a pun created during that time on David Karp’s cyber empire. Tumblr became ‘Tumblr Patrol’ in reference to the blow by blow posting of events just like in the news program ‘TV Patrol’.)

After the tragic event, the eyes of the whole world were glued to our country and the then two-month old Aquino administration was put under the spotlight of local and international ridicule. The Pinoy culture of ‘mas magaling ang miron’, ‘sisihan’ and ‘turuan’ were seen days after the event. Memes about how pulpol our policemen were spread on various social media. Angry Facebook users stormed the Facebook page of President Aquino (that lead to its early demise and reconstruction). And to make things worse, photos of policemen and students who were taking pictures with the ill-fated bus spread on the internet (that added to the anger of the citizens of Hong Kong.)

It has been repeatedly said that no one wanted this to happen. Our country has repeatedly apologized to the victims. But is an apology enough? No. Is justice served to the victims? Apparently, even after two years, not yet.

Yesterday, the families of eight Hong Kong victims who were killed in the hostage crisis stormed our consulate in Hong Kong as they demand for an apology from our Government. And two years after the tragedy, Hong Kong has not lifted its ‘black’ travel warning that discourages its residents from travelling to the Philippines. (It was originally issued on the day of the hostage taking.)

I understand the grief of the victims’ kin. Two years after the event, only one among those who were recommended to be accountable was punished and sacked from office (the alleged extortionist ex-Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III who is one of the causes of captain Mendoza’s outrage). I personally read the recommendation of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) soon after the document was made public and I was disappointed to learn that some of their recommendations were not followed by the Palace. For instance, they did not follow the recommendation of the IIRC to sanction PNP Chief director General Jesus Versoza, Manila City Vice Mayor Isko Salvador, and DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno (the latter, allegedly, was saved because he was the President’s shooting buddy).

But to be fair, I commend the current administration in their efforts in their drive against corruption. We do not want to make another Captain Mendoza among the civilians and our servicemen. It will be remembered that one of the reasons why Captain Mendoza hijacked the bus was the alleged corruption (and bribery for his pending case) on the Office of the Ombudsman.

Two years have passed and although justice is yet to be fully served on the victims, we can see some changes on the system. There’s already a new Ombudsman in the person of Conchita Carpio-Morales. With the sudden death of Sec. Jesse Robredo, the clamor of the public for a clean and honest governance has increased. With the appointment of the new Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, hopefully, there is a drastic change in our judiciary. And with the active participation of the people through social media, I think, we are getting closer to the dream of having a clean system.

But before all of these good things to materialize, let us not forget that there are grieving relatives of the victims, there are accountable persons who are yet to be sanctioned, and there is still an elusive justice that is yet to be served.

And I hope this would never happen again. Never again.

Elsewhere:

Chasing Lady Justice

This day marks the 33rd month, the 1,004th day of the infamous Ampatuan Massacre, a horrible event in our history where 58 people were killed, 34 of whom were journalists or working for the broadcast industry. Justice is yet to be served, but do you still care?

 

image

 

It seems like the attention of the public on this issue is slowly going to the depths of the abyss of the forgotten. It’s in one of the infamous characteristics of the Filipinos. We have a short attention span. We tend to forget our past easily. Mabilis makalimot. Mabilis magpatawad. Or it is being overshadowed by other news and events.

As of writing, the nation is in grief with the sudden demise of a great man, a great leader, and a great family man, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo (together with two pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitz Chand). He was known to be one of, if not the best Secretary the DILG has ever had. His programs and reforms, most notably the Seal of Good Housekeeping, kept the municipalities and cities striving to perform better.

Or perhaps we no longer care about the issue anymore? As I write this piece, the local Twitter trending topics are filled with obscure statements of support for these pseudo-reality love teams and famewhores. I have always believed that the trending topics on Twitter in a particular country reflects its people’s priority, interest, and views. It’s a tragedy that these fantards behind the so-called ‘jeje trends’ on Twitter seem to be more influential than the people behind the voices of reform, vital information, advocacy, and policy making. What a shame! 

By letting this event just pass us by our consciousness, it would appear that we are condoning the perpetrators of this crime. Or depriving justice to the victims and their families. Or killing the fifty-eight victims repeatedly.

The victims’ death will not be given justice if the perpetrators of the crime are not prosecuted and punished. A great man’s death would be in vain if his good works, programs, and legacy are not carried forward.

The victims of this gruesome massacre died doing what is right – the victims, in the sense of a change of leadership by means of a lawful and honest election and the mediamen, by telling their (victims’) story and by acting as our eyes, ears, and mouthpiece of that event.

Personally, I think Sec. Jesse Robredo gave as an example of what it takes to be a leader – that you can lead and uplift people’s way of lives without the use of violence and intimidation; that you can be a great and beloved leader despite of the the notion of the general public in politics as dirty; that you can lead a city for a long time and still be loved and trusted by the people; and that you can be a leader in its truest essence – a servant-leader.

This massacre is caused by the warlord’s struggle to keep their power and to protect their self-interest against any possible threats. Bad politics, bad leadership, and people continuously feeding these beasts by means of the culture of tolerance, impunity, and patronage politics. But we have seen that it is not impossible to have a good, efficient, and selfless leader to rule among us.

One of the factors why these horrible events happen is because nobody seems to be punished. People choose to be silent for fear of retribution. People choose not to speak out to avoid trouble for them and their family. We are allowing the culture of impunity in our country

Impunity. Kawalang pakundangan. It’s like saying “Go ahead, kill everyone who are against your plans! Shoot the story tellers! We allow murder in our country! No one is punished by the way.”

And we don’t want it that way, right? So what can we do as an ordinary citizen?

  1. Never forget. Let us always put the Ampatuan massacre into consciousness. One way of doing it is to post something about it every 23rd of the month for everyone to see (on Facebook, Twitter, and in your blogs). This will help those who have forgotten to remember.
  2. Be an educated and wise voter. The Ampatuan massacre is an election-related violence which involves (an alleged) private army. Choose your leaders wisely. Do not be swayed by their goods during the campaign season.
  3. Be vigilant. Stay on guard, be watchful. Let us be our brother’s keeper. And let us keep an eye on the proceedings of the trial (even if it takes 55,000 years, according to Atty. Harry Roque).

It is painful to admit that the wheels of justice in our country are not well-oiled, causing it to roll slowly. And it is more heart-wrenching to know that the witnesses of this massacre are either being killed one-by-one or being abducted never to be seen again.

But let us not give up, let us not lose hope. As cliche as it may sound, the only way for evil people to triumph – or the culture of impunity to prevail in this country – is for good and responsible people to do nothing.

Let us chase Lady Justice no matter how exhausting, no matter how it seems to be hopeless, and no matter how long it takes.

Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. Never Forget. Never again. 

Elsewhere:

  • 1,000 Days without Justice – Interakaksyon.com’s comprehensive page  about the Ampatuan Massacre, the continuing battle of the bereaved family members, and the continuing search for justice.

Photo courtesy of Philstar.com’s editorial cartoon.

Pinoy Alternate History

Last Wednesday, Independence Day, I joined RocketKapre.com’s Twitter discussion/trend/story telling about the alternate Filipino history. By means of the hashtag #RP612fic, Twitter users shared their tweet-length stories about our country’s alternative history and realist micro fiction.

The discussion started on the eve of the independence day and I can’t help but laugh my ass off over the creative, insane, and funny tweets about our country’s alternate history. And being one of my favorite topic is history, I decided to joined the discussion and created my own stories.

I decided to collate and post my #RP612fic tweets here in my blog because eventually, these stories will be covered with other stories, opinion, and whatnots on my timeline. Ladies and gentlemen, I am presenting you the product of my love for history, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and TV shows.

  • ‘Ibong Adarna’ was replaced by ‘Amaya’ as a required reading in Middle School Filipino subject by DepEd Secretary Marian Rivera
  • Tiyang Amy, in Face to Face’s 25th anniversary, proved that J.Rizal was the real father of A.Hitler. And Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Bimby Aquino-Yap became the Supreme Chancellor of Ladlad Party List, His Ninong, veteran TV host Boy Abunda was very proud of him.
  • During WW2, Jose Rizal went to Germany and told Hitler: “Adolf, this is how I met your Mother”. That led to the Fuhrer’s suicide.
  • Tyrion Lannister helped the KKK to defeat the Spaniards with wildfire. Unfortunately, Aguinaldo ordered his men to kill him.
  • Jon Snow is the real hero of Tirad Pass. Unfortunately, he fell in love with an Igorot who later betrayed him and had him killed.
  • Unknown to many, Ferdinand Marcos sung ‘Careless Whisper’ in his sex tape with Dovie Beams, not ‘Pamulinawen.’
  • After the successful murder of Kingpin Asiong Salonga, the Soviet Union and the CIA recruited Erning Toothpick to kill JFK.
  • There is a hidden passage in Malacanang Palace that leads to Divisoria (just like the hidden Hogwarts-Hogsmeade passage).
  • Andres Bonifacio did not die. Since all of the members of KKK are infected, he became a walker and ate Aguinaldo’s guts and brain.
  • Since he cannot afford the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, Juan Luna resorted to canvas and blood to paint the Spoliarium.
  • Asiong Salonga was imprisoned for violating the Anti-Epal Law. Lawmakers did not want his picture plastered all over Tondo.
  • Antonio Luna and Andres Bonifacio are laughing their asses off over the failed assassination attempt by Emilio Aguinaldo.
  • Last known tweet of Andres Bonifacio: “Having a good time with my brother, Procopio here at Maragondon. Aguinaldo’s men are Lulz!”
  • ‘The Rains of Castamere’ was played during the declaration of Philippine independence due to the persuasion of the Lannisters.
  • The lead role for the movie ‘Casanova’ was originally given to Gregorio del Pilar. He turned it down and gave it to Heath Ledger.
  • Gregorio del Pilar failed to send the tweet of a distress call for reinforcement. Globe’s 4G signal was very poor at Tirad Pass.

I could have added other insane stories on my tweets but I didn’t want to flood my followers’ Twitter timeline. And I am planning to use them in my ambitious, long-overdue, personal project. (It has something to do with political satire/parody and books. There, I said it.)

It is said that there are no ifs in history. We cannot dwell on the past and try to change it. But we can always learn from its lessons. As what George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

But we can always use our imagination and think of a good and creative historical fiction. And have a good laugh.

Padayon!