By Jun Ledesma

Make up and glasses for 2022 

THIS early there is a perceptible move and movements all geared towards 2022 regular elections. These rumblings bring together the political oppositions of varied ideological persuasions, rightists, and the radical left in what looks like they are having a sweetheart deal. This strategy brought Cory Aquino to power. Prof. Nur Misuari, leader of the Moro National Liberation Front had opted to cool his feet in Saudi Arabia following the surrender of his top field commanders led by Commander Roni while Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army chief Jose Ma. Sison was comfortably issuing orders to his combatants from the comfort of his Utrecht, Netherland.

Joma got his part of the bargain while Professor Nur his Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao enshrined in the Cory constitution. The only biggest loser in the political mafia was Salvador “Doy” Laurel. But that’s another story altogether.

I brought these images of the past to what is obtaining in the present. Marcos dictatorial government was hounded by power struggle from within and he was losing control because of his debilitating sickness the economic environment was likewise hostile. This was aggravated by civil unrest incited by his political adversaries who had been waiting he will kick the bucket and to their disbelief accepted the challenge for a snap election instead. Cory had to declare a revolutionary government to quickly quash the talks she lost that election.

Fast forward to 2020. Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte. A little more than halfway in his 6-year term, this man from the boondocks of Mindanao, being looked down by the well-heeled opposition for being far from their decency standard, consistently enjoys an unprecedented approval and trust rating described by the acerbic BBC HARDtalk journalist Stephen Sackur as a record wished for by any world leader. Duterte has an economic team headed by Carlos G. Dominguez which rev the economy to the country’s best and Asia’s wonder. But that was not enough, the Duterte government earned for the country its investment-grade and stable status from the prestigious rating agencies. In the mid-term elections, despite their posturings, the Liberal Party was totally routed.

And then came the new coronavirus we now know as Covid-19. Quickly it became a pandemic hitting mostly the 1st world countries and crippling their economies and the nations’ health never imagined can happen in a digital age. The Philippines, of course, was not spared.

It is unfortunate that we responded late as Health Sec. Francisco Duque was paralyzed to inaction in the first salvo. In retrospect, the eruption of Mt. Taal was a blessing in disguise as international flights were suspended giving Duque another lead time. But even with the provisioning of personal protective equipment, he was sluggish. IATF absorbed most of his duties and he was reduced to just reporting the numbers of people infected, recovered, and dead which could have just been done by a clerk. What really took us in disbelief was when suddenly he reported 64,000 recoveries in just one day. It could have been a cause of celebration and not of consternation had they explained the protocols on reporting first and reviewed the numbers of patients that fall in the category of those that were believed to have been healed and then later segued into that statistics. What happened, the critics had a hay day hitting the government for twisting statistics.

See how good news can explode into the face of the government. And mind you their main target is President Duterte. The turrets of their black propaganda are all aimed at PRRD because of his endorsements and assurances matters.

Thus, we see how they made a big issue of the non-renewal of ABS-CBN franchise which had actually expired. The never made a fuss over the fact that even the Aquino-controlled Congress did not even entertain their application for renewal. When the anti-terrorism law was passed they went to the streets to rally as if it’s only the Philippines that have these security measures. Crazy! And a bunch of them made a scene in the Supreme Court asking the justices to issue a TRO. Hours after the Jolo terrorist bombing the other day that killed several soldiers and innocent civilians, a human rights group hurried to the high court to demand a TRO.

Anything they can do to demonize Duterte, the cabal of opposition is not sparing any. When President Duterte flew to Davao City their propagandist conjured a scenario that he flew to Singapore because of health issues and then came back on a chartered Lear jet. When Sen. Bong Go took a picture of the First Family having lunch at their skimp dining room with wife Honeylet holding a copy of a current issue of Manila Bulletin, they said it was photoshopped!

And then VP Leni Robredo, who had always something opposite to say, suddenly had a makeover. A new hairdo that came along with a new pair of eyeglasses. Nice. But it fails to hide her eyes moving while reading from a teleprompter.

Then comes an Ateneo “researcher” made headlines last week after coming out with horrifying estimates that sometime in April to May close to 3- million Filipinos were Covid-19 positive. He did some extrapolations of Covid-19 cases in ASEAN countries did some pencil-pushing and voila he had the numbers to make him famous!

Before submitting his research for peer review, however, Jan Frederick Cruz, went to press instead. Where else but to the rapacious Rappler which, of late, had been demonizing Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. And I thought press freedom and democracy are dead in what Maria Ressa described the Philippines as much worse than any country in a state of war.

And before we thought only Rappler would gobble up the hogwash, CNN Philippines had Cruz on TV. The Ateneo researcher obviously relished his popularity but his supposed peers appear to be wary of his methodology and numerical extrapolation nobody is reacting. One famous professor I sought an opinion from regarding the said research gave me a curt reply: “If you have a copy of that research paper, just throw it in a garbage bin”.

Whether or not the so-called research is garbage, it makes up for good material to incense people in times of crisis and all the way to 2022. Funny, how talks about a revolutionary government is tweaked even suggesting it’s seditious. No matter how the opposition spice up the propaganda dishes to make them a viable alternative, the sad truth is that they are hard stuff to swallow. Thus they will never get away from their own slogan: “Otso deretso sa inodoro”.



About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.