To Carlos Celdran,
This was emailed to me this morning by one of my friends. And I do find the need to respond.
When you say I backtracked, were you talking about when I criticized the man I voted for, Rodrigo Duterte, for his decision to bury Ferdinand Marcos in the LNMB? (I need to clarify because I do know you are a fan of the Marcoses so I’m not sure if this is what you mean.)
If you do, then this is all so simple to explain. I’m surprised someone like you who’s fought tooth and nail for the democratic right to express one’s self has to be clarified about this.
it isn’t backtracking when you criticize someone you vote for, Carlos.
What that’s called is ‘my end of the democratic bargain’ or ‘vigilance’ or ‘my duty’, or ‘critical thinking’.
I do not regret voting for Rodrigo Duterte. I would do so again and in a heartbeat if elections were to be held today. It isn’t as if he lied to us about this. He was clear about it and the way he regards the despot Ferdinand Marcos was the bitter pill I had to swallow when I went ahead and voted for him.
That is my right and my prerogative and although I explain it to you now, I really owe no one any explanations for the way I voted.
All told, I still think Digong Duterte is the best man to do the job and I am hopeful that he will do great things for our country–more so for those who have been forgotten for decades and have languished in severe poverty because of a horridly neglectful and indifferent government.
So no, I am not a fan of Rodrigo Duterte.
What I am is ‘someone who voted for Duterte’.
And too, ‘someone who will not hesitate to criticize him if need be’.
The penchant of Filipinos for treating their politicians like demi gods and celebrities who can do no wrong and to be blind to their million and one faults have been our undoing and it has become untenable.
We are at a critical juncture in our country’s history.
Millions–MILLIONS!–of our kababayan live worse off than dogs. Real lives hang in the line.
Only we can end this cancer of blind fealty to politicians we tend to have and that’s been around for centuries now. And we do it by criticizing them to keep them in check. All that blind adoration makes them act weird–like they’re above us and that they owe us nothing and are untouchable.
So yeah, I would vote for Duterte a million times over given the same set of circumstances that made me vote for him last time, but I will criticize him when I think it is warranted.
There is no dichotomy there. No contradiction. No backtracking.
Try it on for size, Carlos–lose your dogma lest you be like Mocha Uson, Jim Paredes, Cynthia Patag et. al. who have lost their ability for critical thought where their political idols are concerned.
Also, a word about intolerance, Carlos– Be mindful. You are turning into the very Damaso you hated. Someone who sees his views as the only legitimate view there is and would not hesitate ramming it down other people’s throats.
Or demanding that they shut up about their beliefs in his presence.
In the end, how different really is political intolerance from religious intolerance?
This man, Rodrigo Duterte, has been given an overwhelming mandate by the Filipino people. He is 71 yrs old now and I know–as you must if you are being fair—that he will give his all for us. And that it will cost him–his health, maybe even his life.
In the last chapter of his life, he is going to give us his all.
I hope that you give him a fair shake. Give him whatever support you can muster so he gets us all on high ground.
The most short-sighted and rotten Filipino right now is someone who cannot wait for this man to fail for the pleasure of saying “I knew it was going to look like this”. I hope this isn’t true for you.
I have been to some of the farthest reaches of our country where the poverty I saw shook me to my deepest core. Our kababayan need us.
They need us to stop being petty and small-minded. They need for us be our best selves now–so they have some chance at getting out of the nightmare of severe poverty they are in.
I hope we close ranks and give the president-elect the support he needs while we do the little we can for others– and yet to never lose our ability to disagree with him and to constantly be on watch that he toes the line.
This is our end of the democratic bargain.
I hope this is clear enough.
May I wear my Duterte baller now?