The year of the people

“You take the red pill... and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”—Morpheus in The Matrix

Near the middle of the year just past, Filipinos decided they wanted to see how deep a hole they were in as a nation. They were ready, or so they thought, for the unvarnished, unexpurgated, unadulterated truth.

They chose to leave the Matrix-like confines of the Yellow fantasyland, as offered whole and entire by the cardboard-cutout designated heir, and the simulacra being presented as pseudo-alternatives to them by the other, similarly Yellow-infected choices. They picked the one candidate who offered a real break from continuing on as before.

They sought answers and action after six years of unceasing propaganda and benign neglect. They contemplated the abyss and jumped right in with merry abandon.

Their so-called betters were shocked, to say the least. Half a year later, those who think they know what’s best for everyone are still walking around in a zombie-like daze of defeat-in-denial.

Three decades after the restoration of freedom and the people actually chose someone they wanted, instead of someone handpicked by the oligarchs and the plutocrats, the neo-colonialists and the Yellow media, the Manila-centric academe and the castrated political class, the hypocritical Church and the West-loving human-rights crowd. Is this what we fought for, they asked, wringing their spa-pampered hands and tearing at their coiffed hair, at Edsa in 1986?

And the Yellow-tinted hissy fit has been going on for six months now, as the horrified elite tote up the bodies in the war on illegal drugs that they never thought was possible, to stamp out a problem they never even acknowledged as real. They ignored all of good that was being done outside of the headlines that they thought would ignite the populace—which, in turn, ignored them, as they cheered lustily in favor of they change that they knew, in their hearts, was coming and was still to come.

Most of all, they nursed the hurt of being relegated to the sidelines of the national discourse, of being exposed as an irrelevant minority pining for the loss of their glory and preeminence. They wanted us to take the blue (or Yellow) pill, after all, and to continue believing what they’ve always wanted us to believe.  

It’s not been a good year for everyone. It’s just been that way for ordinary people, who are still basking in the afterglow of their unprecedented victory over the unelected, vastly outnumbered elite classes.

But that’s just the way it should be. If you give people the right to vote, there’s a chance they might turn their backs on your none-too-subtle advice and choose who they really want.

The various elites got clobbered by the rest of us in 2016. No wonder they want their old rule, their formerly exclusive social media and all the other lost trappings of their power back. 

It’s been an excellent year for the people, all around. Not all the people, for sure, but enough of them to finally make everyone see the utter and disgusting nakedness that the old emperor made believe was his regal clothing.


Vice President Leni Robredo arrived yesterday from her mysterious holiday trip to the United States and “went straight,” the usual fawning media reports said, to visit the victims of a huge fire in Quezon City recently. Why Robredo didn’t proceed directly to her home province of Camarines Sur, devastated by unseasonal typhoon Nina right before Christmas, was not made known.

Robredo kept an unusual (for her, anyway) vow of silence while she was away. She left none of the usual trail of tweets or Facebook posts, releasing only prepared motherhood holiday statements for Christmas and the New Year.

It was as if she was not only unaware of the calamity that struck her hometown. At times, it seemed like the publicity-hungry VP had not just gone stateside but had fallen off the face of the earth.

Her usual boosters attempted vainly to spin her absence and uncharacteristic silence as the result of her losing her job in the Duterte Cabinet. They could not nearly explain how an official who has reveled in the blanket coverage she’s been receiving from an adoring mainstream media from the day of her controversial, protested election could not even issue a direct statement about the typhoon.

Robredo, of course, is like Obi-Wan Kenobi to Princess Leia in Star Wars, representing the only hope of the irrelevant Yellow elites of surviving what promises to be a six-year calamity for them. She cannot suddenly go missing and leave her faithful without a word, thus causing the political equivalent of a panic attack amongst them.

Robredo must also understand that even if she no longer has a real job, her neighbors, relatives and original constituents in Naga City and its environs look to her as their patroness, as the highest elected Bicolana politician in the land. If they can’t trust her to be around and to immediately come to their aid when disaster strikes when she is basically twiddling her thumbs doing nothing, how will they know that she will be there for them when she has a real job?

Topics: The year of the people , Filipinos , The Matrix , Edsa , Vice President Leni Robredo

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