They have long been sharpening their knives.
It started with trotting out a guy named Matobato. Their friends in the tri-media naturally whooped it up. They had grist for headlines and live feeds from Senate inquiries in aid of publicity.
Or perhaps it was a reactionary ploy because the noose was tightening upon the neck of someone who cavorted, videos and photographs as witnesses, with those who peddle dangerous drugs. Counter-offensive. But peers didn’t buy the tale.
So they needed to invent someone else to fortify the “Killstone” script. They turned a keystone cop who admitted to being the devil himself touched by visions of sainthood. Lascañas to the rescue.
His “handler” promises there are more to come out. Virtually saying the other “witnesses” are still undergoing acting lessons in an ABS-CBN workshop. Abangan the next twist in a ho-hum telenovela whose viewer ratings might not last the season.
But then the “Empire” struck, and the “heroine,” the woman fashioned out by her diminished hordes as a reincarnation of Joan d’Arc, was detained by orders of a court of law. Now she makes herself relevant by writing notes (on yellow pad?) from a cell the likes of which would make her friends in the National Penitentiary drool with envy (though bereft of the good things she allowed them to enjoy in her time), and published deferentially by the cooperative media.
But in this day and age, handwriting has become quite passé.
Decades back, I asked an American classmate why his handwriting, like most all of them, was terribly illegible. His retort: “whatever do you need good hand-writing for?” Oo nga naman. There were typewriters, after all. And now that Moore’s Law has produced cheaper and better computers by the year, who still writes (on yellow pad)?
Clearly the dis-enfranchised and discredited elite puppeteers fighting a provinciano from the deep South who would not be their marionette needed another Joan d’Arc.
So they prodded an amiable lady-in-waiting whose be-dimpled smile and gracious manners made her win in 2016 over one with a strongman’s fabled legacy, and even past more accomplished personalities.
They made her memorize tawdry scripts, and she mouthed these with aplomb, always with that be-dimpled smile.
When the courtiers of the southern “outcast” got sufficiently miffed, they disappointed her from the lofty perch their southern boss generously gave her.
Her followers thought that would anger the public, cast her into the beloved “api” of the masa. It didn’t pan out that way. The southern outcast remained popular, while her glow diminished.
But desperate as these puppeteers were, they built up their noise leading to their annual “holiday,” their holy of holy event which commemorates the defeat of the strongman who once held sway over our lives. They were building a crescendo.
It flopped, not only because a handful commiserated with their commemoration, but because one of their knights “gallant” confronted a handful of “dutertards” in so condescending a manner, in full view of the nation through the magic of quick technology.
Not only was egg splattered on their faces; they looked pathetic. Even the champion they looked up to, whom they earlier roused from hibernation refused to speak before the handful they could muster. Why waste saliva?
So they had to mount the international stage. If people in these “miserable” isles who keep silent despite all the provocations upon “human” rights would not listen, the world might.
But out where the land used to overflow with milk and honey, the new leader was also quite un-attentive. He was focused on his “great wall” to stop “la invasion Mexicana” to bother about a former colony they had always taken for granted anyhow.
So they had to pander to the ancien regime, the veritable riche where “civilization” flowered once upon a fabled time—le grand Europe.
They seized upon an international conference, and quickly when Edsa was unraveling to their dismay, they asked their Jean d’Arc to mouth a five-minuter, a concatenation of anecdotal “evidence” about human rights violations and allegations of extra-judicial killings. They even invented a new patois —“palit-ulo,” which she tried to explain but which many suspected was a Freudian slip about wanting to “palit” the duly elected “ulo.”
And yes, even as she recounted the “horrors” her poor drug pushers suffered, she could not let go of the trademark be-dimpled smile and twinkling eyes. “Mater dolorosa” she could not ape, even before her select, target international “audience.”
Meanwhile, another temporary ally, once a band of mutineers elevated into the halls of the traditional elite, mounted a Sancho Panza dulcinea—an impeachment complaint. Not because it would prosper, but because it would make noise. And perfectly timed to coincide with the “agoniste” of a five-minuter on the ageing theater of the ancien regime.
Meanwhile, the nation is forced to grapple with the vexations mounted against their leader just as the nouveau riche neighbors are pouring their attention and their money into an economy long consigned to rent-seeking decay by previous leaders.
Which brings to mind what a diplomat once assigned to our benighted shores once frankly but apologetically remarked in private dinner (at the time mutineers were mounting attempts against a female president): “Your people seem to have a mysterious urge to inflict self-destruction upon your nation”.
An unsolicited piece of advice to the leader we elected because we are so tired of the ways of the puppeteers: Slay the toxicity. Cut the Gordian knot.
You can never please everybody anyway, not the treacherous left, not the sneaky right whose privileges you have threatened.
Just do what is right by and for your people. Shut the toxic noise out.