social reality

april 26, 2001

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It's interesting to look outside the window and see what's going on. The books we read, the movies we watch, the music we listen to— all pale in comparison to real life. There is some truth in the saying that life is stranger than fiction.

One example: the whole mess surrounding Estrada.

Erap has been arrested. A crowd is gathering in front of Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police. People are also amassing at the Edsa Shrine. Figures from the 1986 and 2001 Edsa events are balking at the "desecration" of the ideals that the Edsa Shrine represents.

Political soap opera anyone?

Whether Estrada is guilty or not is no longer the issue. It has been blown into a struggle between the masa and the elitista; however, it has become into one because of Estrada.

While you were... shopping

We were in Greenhills yesterday. After arriving from Hong Kong the other day, my mom decided to go shopping. A stone's throw away from the Greenhills Shopping Center was the crowd amassing in front of Estrada's residence. A stone's throw away, Erap was arrested.

Everyone inside the shopping center seemed to be discussing what was happening next door. After all, it was all major news— the case, the innocence or guilt, the 13-0 vote, Erap himself. Policemen were visible outside and inside the shopping center. Soldiers with automatic rifles patrolled outside.

And Erap was arrested. While we were shopping.


It's a wonder why the Philippines still stands. It's also a wonder that we haven't yet descended into anarchy and chaos akin to the protests in Indonesia.

We have to admit that our country is in a mess. We also can't completely put the blame on the Spanish, Americans, nor the Japanese for the state of our nation. We are the ones running the government.

Leave the protection of your home. Roll down your car windows and inhale the stench we are in. Observe the homeless, the street children, and the poor in shanties. Look at the shameless propaganda each politican uses to promote himself for the next elections.

Is it any wonder that there are Filipinos amassing for Erap?

He may be guilty, but the Filipino is gullible— although Erap isn't the underdog macho protector of the poor he portrays in his films, the masa still believe him to be so. And it will take a bulldozer to destroy that image.

Facts and raw images will not destroy Erap, for you cannot appeal to the Filipino through logic.


The reality is there is a great rift between the poor and the rich in this country. You cannot ignore that.

You also cannot ignore the fact that we are an emotional people. Watch a debate on TV and you can see what I mean.

Logic dictates that there is a basis for arresting Erap. His arrest does not mean he is guilty. People are arrested to make them available to stand trial for the charges laid against them. The court decides their guilt or innocence. Therefore, the arrest of Erap is within his rights.

However, that is not what the pros see.

They see that his arrest means that he is guilty. They see the media as an adversary which has branded him guilty without rhyme nor reason. They see the current government as an extension of elitist rule.

So, you see, it has come to this: a pseudo-class struggle. Pitting one faction of the country with another.

While all of this is happening, the poor continue to sink. The rich continue to get richer. And the government grows more corrupt everyday.

How do you expect change with all of this happening?

Mabuhay. Welcome to the glorious land that is the Philippines.

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