Funny the way things turn out. Time was when supporters of politicians like current Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III and his ilk in what is now known as the “Yellow Mob” used to be quick to draw upon the notion that a “people power” show-of-force could pretty much over-rule any product of the Philippines’ legal framework. Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros, for example, made a name for himself citing how anything that gets in the way of an Aquino presidency back during the 2009-2010 presidential campaign will have to answer to the threat of street display of the “true people’s will” which could spontaneously erupt at any time.
Back then, de Quiros generously gushed about the “magic” of BS Aquino’s appeal to the general Filipino public…
Noynoy holds the key to it. If he discovers it, he will raise, like Aragorn who conscripted the dead kings and their legions in “Lord of the Rings,” an army mightier than any of his enemies can muster.
How times change the tide. The only army we see today is Duterte’s army of rabid followers — so rabid that they will probably raise hell as soon as they perceive a serious enough threat to their bet’s bid for the Philippine presidency. Unlike the Yellow Mob who advocate Gandhi-style non-violent protest, however, Duterte’s Mob take their cue from their gun-toting tough-talking vigilante champion. In short, the disturbing question at hand is, what sort of “people power” will Duterte’s followers exhibit when they choose to exercise their “right” to “hit the streets”?
Back in the day, Yellow Mobs would usually adorn their rallies with rosaries and yellow ribbons, perhaps start the occassion with a prayer and a bit of spiritual reflection, and then go off to invite others to join their giant love-in in the spirit of “interfaith solidarity”… blah blah blah. Priests and nuns would be present in abundance in most of these rallies further lending further contributing to the semblance of peace and prayerfulness supposedly promoted by these “people power” exercises. Indeed, you can play Political Correctness Bingo or Bleeding Heart Peacenik Bingo when listening to a news reporter covering a Yellow Mob rally on TV.
Now that Duterte’s bid for the presidency is gaining critical mass with an increasingly-agitated growing throng of supporters clamoring ever-loudly for “change” (that word again) in the coming 2016 presidential elections, it would be interesting to speculate on what form Pinoy-style street parliamentarianism may take in the coming months and years.
Suffice to say, it would be an extreme stretch of the imagination to expect a rally composed of Duterte supporters following the same theme. A Duterte “people power” rally (if it will even be called that) will likely be an anarchist-styled riot — probably involving lots of vandalism, roads blocked with burning tires, and even firearms being wantonly fired in the air by rallyists riding on Toyota HiLux pickups. Hakot may be an even bigger enterprise in such rallies considering that most of the participants will likely be flooding into Imperial Manila from the southern provinces. I’d buy stocks in inter-island passenger shipping companies and durian plantations if I were you.
The good thing about this is that Mindanao is finally asserting itself. After many decades of getting suckered into being the Philippines’ “bread basket” without ever getting commensurately rewarded for that excellent supporting role, its residents are now making their voices heard at the capital. We may be seeing the dawn of a new era when Luzon-based politics could be strongly counter-balanced by a resurgent Mindanao. Will Duterte be up to the task of leading such a worthwhile movement?
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata!