My prayer

05:06 AM May 09, 2018

I pray for feisty women who seem to be the President’s bête noire. Is this only misogyny? Hasn’t he been blessed with fine women? President Cory and his mother set him on the road to the presidency. He had a fine wife and, now, a fine partner.

Topping my list are Sen. Leila de Lima and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. It’s terrible to be repudiated by colleagues; worse when they so behave due to intrigue or fear. I can still see Leila fading from the Senate Hall with nary a glance from other senators glued to their seats. Fast and furious was her jailing. Now Sereno is fighting every inch of the way but minions gloat; it’s a done deal. Lord, these cases are not consummatum est.


I pray for Representatives Edcel Lagman, Gary Alejano, Tom Villarin, Antonio Tinio, Carlos Zarate, and allies. In a body close to 300, can only a handful dare oppose?

I pray for Matobato, Lascañas, all conscience-stricken whistleblowers no longer willing to take the deception and left with no choice but turn fugitive for survival.


I pray for groups like Movement Against Tyranny, Gomburza, Bayan Muna, People Power Volunteers for Reform, Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity et al.—a critical mass growing despite hostile ground. Are they on the cusp of “galvanizing,” as the entire political spectrum did in the 1980s?

I pray for the millennials. When Marcos “stole” honorable burial ground in November 2016, millennials heaved and rose. I was on the verge of writing “Feel the crescendo.” But too soon fortissimo softened to pianissimo. The torch is waiting to be passed for our generation is too enfeebled to “even walk.” Aeneas carried his old father Anchises out of burning Troy toward the future of Rome. Nick Joaquin’s “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino” is also about the young carrying the old from one era to another. Where will our millennials carry us?

Through political theater on stage and screen, millennials are now defining this juncture in our history. Why do people think that art is often late? It never is. In fact, it captures the most lasting, truest, most powerful statements of any era. Oh, for the days I watched “every” play in town—the first staging of Joaquin’s “Portrait” on the very ramparts of Intramuros, the pioneer Repertory play to an audience with less people than the cast on stage.

Out of my ken, social media, I hear, is where millennials are in the thick of battle. I salute the Jover Laurios who slug it out. I do the millennials wrong to think that they are down to a whisper, certainly not the lions’ roar on Mendiola.

I pray for mainstream media. The latest tightening is the revocation of credentials for journalists who “besmirch the reputation of the House of Representatives, its officials or members.” So, our representatives would make sacred cows of themselves? Old royals know that such entitlement is no more.

Do I pray for the President? I would be a hypocrite if I shout, “Yes I do!” But decibels softer, I can sincerely say, “Yes I do.”

I pray that he stay a pleasant homespun raconteur and “stop” (one of his favorite threats) before “gago,” “ignorant,” “stupid,” “idiot” and dirtier words spill out of his mouth. Why is he bringing up the Filipino people, whom he claims to love, in a cesspool of dirty language? Like many of us, didn’t he have a lola who said she’d wash our mouth out with soap (Sasabunin ko bibig mo)?


I pray that he fix the China situation. How long can he show two faces — now strong, now subservient? Our victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration will wither and die without care, as Acting CJ Antonio Carpio keeps warning. Globes with the nine-dash line that schools and students will use have been sold in Divisoria.

I pray that he does not impulsively or deliberately create fear. On one hand, it may reinforce his strong, man-of-action image as a fast way of getting what he wants done; on the other, it may reinforce his Hitler-in-the-making image, a volatile combine that can implode.

I pray that he is not cultivating more servility in an already feudal people, just a step away from a people so benighted they will fall for any promise (land, money, jobs), possible or not, and be fed any legislation (new constitution, new system of government, taxes), understood or not. One day we may wake up to the same cry in the ’70s and ’80s — “Diktadura!” And we’d have no one to blame but ourselves.

* * *

Asuncion David Maramba is a retired professor, book editor and occasional journalist.

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TAGS: Antonio Tinio, Asuncion David Maramba, Carlos Zarate, Corazon Aquino, Duterte critics, Edcel Lagman, Gary Alejano, Inquirer Commentary, Leila de Lima, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Rodrigo Duterte, Tom Villarin
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