I knew Cocoy Dayao back when he wrote for his own blog Big Mango in the early- to mid-2000s. Back then, a healthy respect for Yellowtardism still pervaded the political discourse, but there was, even then, a growing skepticism surrounding what was perceived to be a disturbing trend towards extra-constitutionally changing duly-elected leaders (a.k.a. “people power uprisings”). This was just shortly after former President Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada was removed from office in what went on to be referred to as “EDSA 2” because the uprising followed the same 1986 modus operandi involving pedestrian “activists” massing in huge numbers on EDSA as a show of protest.
Back then, Cocoy wrote in a relatively partisan-agnostic way and focused on the true fundamental issues that posed real challenges to the ability of the Philippines to progress. Indeed, he was, at the time, counted amongst a then-rare set of Internet writers who delved beneath the intellectually-thin layer of petty politics (the layer where “‘tards” both past and present slug it out in so-called “debates”) to focus on the deep social and cultural character of the Filipino and, using insights gleaned from exploration at that level, came up with great ideas. Indeed, such was my admiration for his work that I invited him to write a foreword for my e-book Get Real Philippines Book 1 which I put online for download back in 2006.
Cocoy’s view of the Philippines and, consequently, the approach he took (at the time) to systematically mapping a path ahead for his country can be encapsulated in this passage from the Foreword he wrote.
It isn’t any one person, or group of people or this or that leader that has brought this Republic – this race – to this point; this rut. The moment, we choose to set aside the blame, to dig deep within our own Filipino psyche, to take our own destiny into our hands; that will be the moment we as a people step up and make good on the myriad of promise exhibited by generations past. Still to get there, one needs a greater understanding of who the Filipino is.
This is interesting, considering the view Cocoy takes today in singing off the same page in the Yellowtard hymn book that pins disproportionate blame for the sorry state of the Philippines on both former President Ferdinand Marcos’s Martial Law “regime” and the allegedly “violent” administration of current President Rodrigo Duterte. This is unfortunate considering that I best remember him for his monumental sixteen-part blog series Understanding Nation Building where he articulated his (at the time) deep understanding of the Philippines’ real challenges.
Even more interesting is how he espoused federalism (at the time) as he wrote in the first blog post of this series…
Building a Federal government is probably the best way to go. We have been a centralized government since the Spanish ruled here, perhaps the other way will benefit us.With a Federal Government, we can encourage development in the country side. Development can be on a per provincial or regional level. Those governors know what their people want. The people in the country side know what they want. We should trust them.If you travel the Philippines, each region is a paradise. We are an industrious people. Yet the treasure that’s fat is on the national level.You may say what happens to the poor regions? They have to work hard then. They must create industries. They must elect better leaders.With a federal government, we create a much simpler country.
The “success” of “EDSA 2” made the Yellowtards feel invincible. They felt that they could shout down any president or government executive they did not like for any reason their Yellowtard brains could think up. Back in those days, Cocoy knew better than to lap up the Yellowtard idea that using extra-judicial means to change leadership is such a divine “power” possessed by Filipinos. Indeed, like a true realist Cocoy asked the right questions, like What happens next? as he does in a brief deviation midway through his blog series in the lead up to an impeachment bid against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In Of Leadership, Of Moral Ascendancy, of People Power and Of Truth, Cocoy writes of the then Opposition (which was composed of the same Yellowtards that lead today’s Opposition)…
The Political Opposition is asking for a great change. Yet where is the plan for tomorrow? We kick out President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today, the man walking in the street begging, will still be begging tomorrow. Traffic will still be outrageous. The prices of oil will still be determined by economics and like many across the globe, we will still need to pay bills and mortgages. The only change that will happen will be, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will no longer be President of the Philippines.
Rightly, the Opponents of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) are correct in that the moral degeneration of our society is such a contemptible thing and we have the right to demand the highest post in the land be placed in a higher standard and lapses of judgment, of ethics is a serious crime. Yet, PGMA is but a tiny manifestation of a cancer prevailing in our society. This cancer fills every fabric of our culture, of our nation, of our people. Where are the cases against those who cheated in the elections, irregardless of post, of position, because every elected position is a sacred public trust? Why just PGMA? Why not also those who made cheating possible?
We can see now that Cocoy thought in a fundamentally different way back in the mid-2000s. The question we need to ask ourselves is this:
What happened to Cocoy Dayao between then and now?
Many of the Yellowtards’ foremost “thought leaders” think they are on the same wavelength as Cocoy Dayao today. This is, perhaps, because Cocoy chooses to think and act at their cognitive level. Credit perhaps goes to the allure of celebrity and pedigree politics that Yellowtards are known to be national experts at. But, really, it is likely that very few of Cocoy’s Yellowtard “allies” are aware of the ideas Cocoy used to delve in back in the old days. Indeed, they will be unlikely to wrap their heads around these ideas, much less articulate them coherently even if they tried.
Let the story of Cocoy Dayao’s tragic embrace of Yellowtardism be a cautionary tale of how popularity and massive fandom can fnck up the minds of even the smartest amongst us. Perhaps Cocoy (wherever he is today) could take some time to reflect on how level-headed he used to be — before he succumbed to the dysfunctional emotionalism of the Yellowtards he found himself in the company of in recent years.