The Rabid and The Sane

(Graphic from

On Good Friday, of all days, my Facebook and Twitter feeds erupted with battles. Not between the opposition and Duterte supporters, but between various individuals known to me as anti-Duterte.

Some of the posts showed appalling levels of duplicity and illogic. For example, one of the leaders of The Silent Majority (or the woman who claims to be its leader), let loose with an angry screech against her fellow opposition voters supporting the Liberal Party-led Ocho Derecho.

Her beef: many in their ranks were showing independent positions, by ADDING ONE OR MORE BETS on their ballots. The most common additions being Neri Colmenares, the former Bayan Muna lawmaker and lead senatorial bet of the Makabayan bloc, Ka Leody de Guzman of the labor federation Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), and Sonny Matula of the Federation or Free Workers – all endorsed by the Labor Win coalition and the Makabayan bloc.

I started laughing reading her post: the false claim that Neri’s core supporters (mainly activists) were not going to vote for other candidates.

Not true: aside from Leody and Sonny, Makabayan also endorsed Chel Diokno, Pilo Hilbay, Erin Tanada, Samira Gutoc, Bam Aquino (from Ocho Derecho), Serge Osmena (independent), Grace Poe and Nancy Binay.

Eleven bets; Obet de Castro, Makabayan deputy secretary-general says their core are welcome to add anyone for the twelfth slot.

Diokno, Hilbay, Tanada, Gutoc and Osmeña have long stood by with Colmenares on burning issues and are genuinely liked by many activists — and they’ve gotten grief from the more hardline Ocho Dereho forces for their positions. They don’t agree with each other all the time but relations are respectful, even with Hilbay, who served under former President Aquino.

But even more ridiculous was the logic of this woman, who complained that Makabayan had not endorsed ALL their bets – sone of whom are clearly allergic to Neri :)

Time and energy that could have gone to convincing voters to take a risk with their candidates were instead diverted to pouring vitriol on their own friends and independent voters. Though the real intention was to burn Colmenares, who comes next to Bam and Mar Roxas among oppositionists in surveys of the two main elections pollsters.

It got so bad that Jeff Crisostomo of Akbayan had to remind friends with this tweet:

Other posts claimed that Neri approved the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani . Again, not true, as any simple Google news search will show. Neri was among those who challenged President Rodrigo Duterte’s order at the Supreme Court.

Also, Makabayan solons were among those who staged a rally at the Libingan ng mga Bayani — ACT’s Antonio Tinio, Gabriela’s Emmie de Jesus and Arlene Brosas and Bayan Muna’s Carlos Zarate pushed against police shields, breached the cordon, and raced to the gates of the cemetery. I was there, saw that, took videos.) Check this out:

Others questioned whether Neri was always against the drug war. He’s a leader of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) that took up early calls for an end to Duterte’s mad war. They are also counsels of around a dozen families of those slain by cops that have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court. They have already partially won a case, with a police officer ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman, which also recommended the filing of murder charges. READ here

But why were there leftists in the Duterte Cabinet, if they were against Marcos, asked another. Here’s a convo shared by Peachy Tan, a friend but independent of Makabayan:

(Of course, no one in the Makabayab bloc has ever taken this against the VP. You engage as you can, you criticise and campaign where possible.)

But amid the word wars – that, I am sure, must have delighted the Duterte camp – came saner, wiser voices.

Like Ago Pedalizo, who shared this poster on Hilbay (and other Ocho bets) campaigner Zena Bernardo’s page.

He gave me permission to use this.

He shared this to illustrate that most opposition groups are sane, fair, and not prone to fall for the rabies virus affecting a small section in the opposition ranks.

This is a section infamous for tarnishing the opposition with its dirty tricks and its penchant for fake news – disinformation – making it almost as bad, competing with the DDS forces for falsehood and venality.

Let me share more words from Mr Pedalizo (we do not know each other) in response to my request for permission to share. share.tshare.

“Please po. Even when we sponsored partly the tour of Alejano in the US, we were firm that we will vote for 12, not 8. And that we aim to support a united. front against Duterte.”

And on his account, with an additional poster, these words of wisdom: “From Amsterdam to San Francisco, we affirm our support for solid and straight 12 opposition senators!

“Let’s go beyond party lines and look at the global picture of resistance. No single party has the monopoly for courage and patriotism.
No single party can claim to be the vanguard group. No single party can claim to be the mainstream opposition. The people has the right to speak out and support the broadest alliance that can defeat the violence and corruption of the present regime.
The people has the right to choose and include anyone from the center to the progressive left so long as we all agree on the basic aspirations for national sovereignty on the West Philippine Sea, protection for women and the LGBT, jobs and tenure for workers, securing the Philippine Constitution of 1987, and most of all right to life and dignity.”


I don’t have to agree to all the choices to see the beauty. BUT IT SURE PRODDED ME TO RETHINK MY LIST :)

I only have one thing to say to those who seem to see electoral allies and supporters as pawns and serfs to order around: These are the hands that feed you, NOT BECAUSE THEY OWE YOU, but because they are willing to risk their future on your candidates (some of them, mine, too), including some with problematic records.

And just one more word for the candidates concerned, including those already in my internal ballot: With friends like these, you don’t need enemies.

To end this, here more wise words from Dino Manrique that should answer the flawed math of some folks: “Actually, if we only acted with an abundance mindset, our campaign will be much easier. Imagine such a coalition with all these candidates’ supporters supporting each other. The definition of politics as addition cannot be more true in this case. 🙏🏼❤️✊”

I am not telling people who to vote for, merely pointing out that you should vote for the right reasons.

Some will stick with the issues dearest to their hearts and turn back on some possibles. That’s valid. At least, do proper research and stop with the lies and hammering people when their choices don’t reflect yours 101%.

Some will opt to accept the less palatable to improve the opposition’s chances. And that’s a choice as legitimate as the first.

It is self defeating to retreat into a fortress where you mount barricades and, from behind these, launch attacks on your allies. You should be sallying forth to create new unities.

As for that math, let me put it this way: It works only when you’re after the interests of just one candidate.