‘Weaponization’ and ‘woke lolas’

Every season of turmoil creates its militant vocabulary. On target now are “weaponization” and “woke.” To weaponize is “to adapt for use as a weapon of war” something not meant to be warlike at all.

Not meant to make war is social media — “social,” i.e., to make and keep friends and relations, to make life more pleasant, to be informed, to bond, to share. Weaponized, social media has become a destructive engine which, I’m told, has a “war room” organized in clusters, watching the movement of every criticism against government and the powers-that-be and shooting down message and/or messenger as desired.


After the 2016 elections, bugbog cerrado si Leni. This machine sat a president in the Palace, and continues in its omnipresence, to confuse people as to what’s fake and what’s true.

The President is unmatched in weaponizing the spoken word to strike fear and trembling, as in his latest on whistleblower Eduardo Acierto: “Why is this man still alive?” (3/28/19)


The most diabolic and ironic weaponization is that of the rule of law, which exists precisely for peace and justice. Have you ever witnessed a more warlike law than now—the twisting, double talk, loopholes; the acrobatics that men of the law execute, transforming both themselves and the law into pretzels?

Look at the victims of this weaponized law. While we were sleeping, Sen. Leila de Lima was hauled into jail. “… not convicted; guilt… not legally proven; charges… not properly outlined; not even arraigned.” (“Fight for Freedom and Other Writings,” p. 68). There’s another name for this: “no case.”

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s case introduced us to quo warranto. So obsessed were the lawyers over the word, they never let go. There’s a basketball term for that: “forcing.”

I’ve lost count of the many cases being rattled off to trap Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV: rebellion, mutiny, resurrected and rehashed. Ab initio was latched to the mystery of the missing document, and perforce his amnesty was declared void.

Maria Ressa is “it” now. In her portfolio are several tax evasion, cyberlibel and antidummy charges. What next? A second lightning arrest on arrival from San Francisco.

I haven’t even touched on the extrajudicial killings. Won’t they stop until the burial of the spirit of the law? Law books are for studying, not for throwing at victims.

“Woke” is a more pleasant word, ungrammatical, but carrying the force of its sound. “Woke” is a person now aware of and alert to the political situation and to the need to do something. Sadly, it may imply that the person was once in hibernation or in a stupor.


Senatorial candidate Chel Diokno is tagged as “woke lolo,” meaning progresibong matanda, a bit of a misnomer as he isn’t old. Besides, he has never hibernated. Matagal nang progresibo would be more apt. We join you, sir.

Six “woke lolas”—Myrna Ortiz, Monette Andal, Josie Santamaria, Star Gamo, Lita Mendoza and myself, in our 80s and two in their 70s—got together to see what we could do. Down the line of “8 Things You Can Do Para Sa Otso Diretso,” we chose No. 3: flyers and tarps, “http: etc… I-download ito at tumungo sa printshop.” We started with two tarps for each, not to drape the streets like you-know-who, but for gate and fence. Since then, we have logged more than 60 orders for tarps.

Lolas who lunch, brunch, dance, mahjong; lolos who walk, golf, poker; how about it?

Alleluia, the People’s Choice Movement, a faith-based organization of lay leaders, is also “woke,” with a dauntless list of 10 senatorial candidates. Snowball! It’s now or never.

“Weaponize” is a bad word; it’s a scourge. “Woke” is a good word; it may be the only weapon (pun intended) to save us from the scourge.

* * *

Asuncion David Maramba is a retired professor and book editor; columnist since 1984 and contributor to the Inquirer since 1992.

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TAGS: Asuncion David Maramba, Inquirer Commentary, Rodrigo Duterte, weaponization
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