‘The substance/life is in the letters’
It is better to destroy a strategic bridge than to have it taken over by enemies. Rigoberto Tiglao considerably destroyed the credibility of the Inquirer’s Letters to the Editor section by making it appear dominated by fake letters from President Aquino’s propagandists who hide behind pseudonyms. How the heck can Tiglao be so sure that the pseudonyms, if indeed they are, are not created by me, Harvey Keh, Ernesto Magtoto, Chief Justice Renato Corona’s in-laws, the Central Intelligence Agency, Steve Vespera or Zorro? God knows I “oozed with uncivilized venom” when I forged some of my letters in searing hate. Tiglao himself justified “hiding behind pseudonyms when attacking those they dare not cross.” Notice the veiled threat in “those they dare not cross.” “Those” are Tiglao’s still powerful gods (a hibernating despot with the highest journalist kill, a notorious Chief Justice, a “berdugo” at large, and more) who want ordinary letter-writing insects like me to submit our driver’s licenses which show where we live. A pseudonym isn’t such a bad idea for insects who cross gods.
One reassuring beauty of the Inquirer’s Letters section is that here, gods and insects, names flaunted or withheld, are only as weak or powerful as the substance of their letters, which are published based mainly on the truth (relative or absolute) and relevance of their message.
Through the years, this section has featured many interesting, novel, funny and ever-relevant letters from a wider spectrum of people, from the powerful to the powerless, from the brilliant to the absurd, from the likes of Rene Saguisag, Joker Arroyo to a lowly company driver like me who never existed on the Internet before his letters to the editor were published. During the Arroyo regime, I saw our country trapped in an indefinitely prolonged dark night. So I created an e-mail name that stands for lights in the night—“nitelites”—not just one light but many. We are many. And I for one am not a pseudonym. Although there may always be Marcial Bonifacios, Quijano de Manilas, Leon Guerreros and Laong Laans casting their thoughts like bullets in letters, this does not mean there are no beating hearts in the pseudonyms and that their messages do not count. The substance/life is in the letters.
I humbly ask the Inquirer editor to reinforce this strategic and dynamic bridge, this Letters section that supports and facilitates relevant opinions, ideas and revelations from the people to the people and powers that be. Perhaps gathering an anthology of the best letters to the editor in a book or special magazine with supplementary updates, noms de guerre and back-stories from the editor would translate into a warm and comforting bonfire in the night.
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