By Tonyo Cruz
Some say I dropped the “F word” on President Duterte while emceeing for the multitudes last Friday at the Luneta.
That’s not true! I was taken out of context!
But seriously, the “F word” had to be dropped. Worse words have been written and displayed on placards.
I’m not sorry at all, except that maybe I didn’t do it many times, like anywhere between 10 billion (Marcos loot, in dollars) and 24 billion (Marcos -era foreign debt, also in dollars). I wanted to say the Filipino insult that mentions mother and bitch in one go, but we were honoring all martial law heroes who include Soledad Duterte.
Duterte fully and totally deserves the “F word” for honoring Marcos with a hero’s burial and forging an alliance with the most criminal and most corrupt political family in modern Philippine history.
And what is this odd business about questioning why we are that furious that we drop the “F word” in a rally? Why get so protective of a president who curses at anyone, even the Pope?
I know lots of friends who voted for Duterte and they have told me in no uncertain terms that they are either ashamed or angry over the Marcos hero’s burial. The only Duterte supporters who don’t see anything wrong with it are not Duterte supporters really. They are Marcos loyalists, period.
Duterte has problems now. He has to tell the Bangsamoro that he really respects their history, including their fierce fight against the Marcos dictatorship. He has to tell the Communists he engages in the peace talks that the Duterte-Marcos alliance will not jeopardize commitments on human rights, political reforms and socio-economic reforms – things that the Marcoses deprived the nation. He has to calm businesses over the Duterte-Marcos alliance and the high possibility that corrupt Marcos cronies and influence-peddlers may take advantage of his liaison with the family. He has to assure law-and-order advocates that nobody is exempted from the rule of law, including the Marcoses who have been found to have stashed ill-gotten wealth in banks abroad. He has to convince Vice President Robredo and the leftists to stay in the cabinet, and as well as the others who may be silently protesting and felt betrayed that he didn’t trust them that much to tell them what he intends to do.
Those are Duterte’s problems alone, the results of his conscious choice to commit political orgy with the repugnant Marcoses. That is also how Duterte repaid the public who, crossing partylines, gave him a 91 percent trust rating in the heady, first few weeks of his presidency.
On the issues of the Marcos hero’s burial and the Duterte-Marcos alliance, it cannot be any clearer that Duterte is the country’s No. 1 Marcos loyalist. Those who support him on these issues are Marcos loyalists hiding behind names like “Duterte Youth” maybe because the “Marcos loyalist” label is just plainly too dirty.
Duterte’s legions who felt betrayed but still harbor hope for change have no choice but to come out openly. They owe themselves and the nation to stand up to Duterte, denounce his alliance with the Marcoses and prominently join the protest movement. That is the only way to save the change they hoped for from certain ruin under a Duterte-Marcos alliance.
We likewise cannot build the protest movement without respect for all beliefs and colors, space for debate, openness for parallel/joint/coordinated actions, and firmness against with purported partners who spread rumor and gossip. The diehard Yellows must approach the protest movement with care, humility and remorse.
The youth are too brilliant for cheap politics. They see through the lies and deceit of hyperpartisans. A photo by Ateneo’s Matanglawin publication captured the image of students rallying around a placard that placed X’s on Duterte, Marcos, and Aquino, and a check on Pilipinas. They saw what needed to be said and done – the widest possible unity must be promoted and achieved in order to win.
That means isolating the Duterte-Marcos alliance as the target of the protest movement, and while within the same movement, we must restrain the arrogance, conceit, anti-communism, and messianic complex of the discredited Aquino camp. I’m sure people still welcome them as allies in the protest movement, but the Aquino camp should find their proper place or people will help them find it.
We could only repose hope in the youth: That they will not tire as the fighting force of this protest movement, and understand the politics that happen right in front of us and also behind closed doors.
That politics and changemaking is too complex is not an excuse to turn away and to leave it to politicians. It is also an insult to our collective capacity as a nation. We don’t have monarchs, but presidents who should be challenged when they do something terribly wrong as this Duterte-Marcos alliance and the Marcos hero’s burial. In our flawed system, we must view dissent as a citizen’s highest honor, a mark of brilliance and courage, and avatar of social engagement.
All eyes are now on the protest movement and its legal, intellectual, moral, historical, and political challenge to the Duterte-Marcos alliance. And how the millennials would radically disrupt activism and revolutionize Philippine democracy.
The Nov. 25 national day of unity and rage, and the forthcoming parallel rallies on Nov. 30 at People Power Monument and Mendiola all show that the protest movement is moving on and moving forward. The Duterte-Marcos alliance ignited these protests. The protest movement now seeks to challenge, smash, and tear apart that alliance.
We cannot buy the argument that things are too complicated so therefore we should be polite to Duterte. Tell that to Duterte who thinks simplistically about Marcos being a mere soldier and president, and not the corrupt and brutal dictator that he was.
Follow me on Twitter @tonyocruz and check out my blog tonyocruz.com