Nothing on the news today; and I mean, nothing.
That is Gloria Arroyo’s Philippines; that is the Philippines of Lomibao, of Senga, of Mike Arroyo, of her lawyers—many of whom I count as friends (if you read this blog, you know who you are), of those who sit quietly waiting on the fence.
But because of Gloria Arroyo’s censorship of media, only “praise releases” are out on tv and radio. I never thought I would miss being called by radio commentators to comment on anything under the sun but now I do because all that AM radio runs now (sadly, even DZBB and Channel 7, which I thought had enough courage to stand up to dictatorship; et tu, Mike Enriquez? Et tu, Jessica Soho?) is commentary by Miriam Santiago and Romulo Macalintal (the first is a political butterfly of the highest order and the second is a paid legal mercenary; on the other hand, there is not much difference between the two) and all they do is clog up the free airwaves with pro-Gloria propaganda. For those old enough to remember Martial Law, its exactly like those days (remember Rita Gaddi, remember Ronnie Nathanielsz; except its now Cerge Remonde—someone tell him to get rid of that turtleneck sweater, quick, Jarius Bondoc and their ilk).
This is NOT MY Philippines. This is not the country I love. This is not the country that God has promised His people.
Not many of us may have noticed that in Proclamation 1017, Gloria Arroyo clearly stated why this “national emergency” has been declared: to save her. In the second preambular paragraph, it is clearly stated that “these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President.” At least Marcos had the decency to lie about saving the country and all; Gloria just says it out—this “national emergency” is nothing but a grand scheme to make sure she remains seated on her throne.
So what is this all about? One person. In my mind, a chant from the 80s comes unbidden but not entirely unwelcome: Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta! You fill in the blanks.
“Turn the other cheek” is not the appropriate response to tyranny. “Why have you made my Father’s House a den of thieves?” might be a more appropriate response.
I love this country; despite my foreign-sounding last name, it is the only country I know, it is the only culture I know, it is the only nationality I will ever claim. If there is one legacy my parents have given me, it is to be able to think and think well, to love and to love passionately, to feel and to feel compassionately, to serve and to serve with everything I have.
So forgive me if my words sound harsh and I sound unloving, but, given these times, I will love in the only way I know how—with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, with all my strength. And if that means, telling a dictator like Gloria Arroyo and her cronies—NO!—then that is how I shall love.