Rodrigo Duterte and My Lola

Carlos Quiapo
May 31, 2018 · 5 min read

The Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, one of the youngest and the first female Supreme Court Chief Justice has just been ousted by the Supreme Court— for the sole reason that she is a strong critic of Rodrigo Duterte.

She is not the first however, with Senator Leila De Lima still in jail for her case of fighting against the Strongman. And she won’t be the last either

With Chief Justice Sereno’s ouster, and her being the head of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), we all know what’s next. There is more to come. Vice President Leni Robredo is next. It’s a done deal. This Republic is dead. Like Thanos, Duterte virtually has all three branches of the Government at his disposal now.

My family openly supports President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (They even complete the package by being Marcos apologists). They all have voted for this man who made radical promises to save a country from falling into the hands of a false devil — with the man himself posing as the new Messiah. I get it, those sweet words of progress, of quick solutions to alleviate our problems — and trust me, he won those votes.

“My family openly supports President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.”

The count for Mr. Palengke, Mar Roxas, who came in second, was barely at his 60%. He won, and it was obvious unlike our counterpart in the US. He won because of those spicy, strong, sweet words. Good enough for 39% of the population to say yes. Good enough to make him the first President outside “Manila.” Time to end the regime of the Capital, they said.

Scums of the world? Let’s kill them all. We’re okay if we kill drug users because we hate rape. Unless you’re Duterte because we love his rape jokes. Such a strong man of virility! He is but a simple man of humility! Unless you’re his granddaughter celebrating her 18th birthday worth probably more than enough to feed an entire town or two.

Fuck the Pope? We need such a strong man. Call him one, and the people lose their heads. Like an all-bark, no-bite dog, he spews aggressive oral trash like spit. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Barack Obama or a member of the special council of the United Nations. Unless you’re Xi Jinping. Because he’d probably lick your shoes to worship you.

I’m not here to enumerate what he has done to divide a country, whose long history of corruption and greed has only recently come close to a halt thanks to the dedication of a bald guy, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Got to give credit to that man. He who is currently the most hated Filipino in modern history, just because we needed a designated antagonist in this faux heroic narrative.

I am here to face the ugly truth that most people in my generation are currently facing: the moral dilemma between blood and water — whether politics is enough to cut off blood ties with your family.

I am lucky enough to have the means and opportunity to call out anyone in my family simply for voting for this man. I don’t risk getting kicked out of the house, or close to that. I see it as a privilege but at the same time a responsibility to represent those who can’t answer back and have a proper dialogue with their Duterte-voting relatives because “Bata ka lang naman.” (You’re only a child).

Bata ka lang naman.”

But I am over that. No matter what you say, no matter how much justification you tell me using “facts” you probably gathered from your amiga’s Facebook (or worse, Mocha Uson’s blog), there is one thing you are not allowed to say anymore: that you’re a decent person.

For all it’s worth, 20+ years of my education revolved around being a good person for others, you should be proud I learned well.

I get it, people make mistakes. We are only human. But that narrative should have ended a long time ago the moment they signed that ballot. As fragile as it seemed, my family made a mistake. The worst part, however, is them believing they didn’t.

“Being my family does not excuse anyone from losing my moral respect.”

I’m over the narrative that non-politicians should have stayed away from politics. That we should not talk about it over family dinner. Politics controls our lives and dictates our moral levels. It is our duty to talk about it, to work around it. Is it enough to decide the level of respect you should give to someone else? Yes.

Being my family does not excuse anyone from losing my moral respect.

My Lola (grandmother) wrote me one day, “I am 71, you know nothing.” As if seven decades were enough to see absolute truth in humanity. She supports Ferdinand Marcos, yes, that dictator whose amassed fortunes cost the Filipino democracy and basic decency in my country some 30 years ago. She now supports Duterte, the death penalty, and the fight against human rights. She’s okay with rape jokes. She’s okay killing scums of the world. The thing is, you can’t support any of these things and say that God is with you.

Like water and oil, you can’t say that you support Duterte and that you’re a good person at the same time anymore. Every justification sends you a little bit down the circles of hell. If it’s one circle per victim of his War on Drugs, you’d be back and forth ten-folds.

Every time I have to call out my grandmother because she posted something on Facebook (usually fake news), I get a hit. I disrespected her, I acknowledge that. When my mom shares something about Duterte, I send her a message. Every time I have to argue, at the back of my head, I know it’s hurtful. But it’s a compromise I’m willing to take.

It doesn’t mean I hate them. It doesn’t mean I despise them. Remove the idea from the persona that I know. It means taking an effort to change their mind, to have a dialogue. It only appears to be disrespectful for the privileged generation so scared of the fragility of their seniority. It’s only disrespectful when the privilege to be more superior is challenged by equality and conversation.

I will not stop from trying to get my family back because it’s something that I know I still can. It is difficult when the morals that they have built for you to develop over the years of growing up, are being counter argued by them.

They told us cursing is bad, and now they’re celebrating every Putang Ina’s. They told us men and women are equal, and now rape jokes are normal. They told us follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and now they’re okay killing people. So tell me, what went wrong?

How did we end up here? How did we end up in a field where all biases are against the truth? What was my crime? Asking questions cause I am but a young, inexperienced 24 year old? As if history books aren’t enough? As if testimonies from women with vaginal scars from state-sponsored rapes aren’t enough?

Yeah, I’ll take that. No hard feelings. I can’t say I’m a good person, but I have the confidence in saying that I’m not a bad one either.

Carlos Quiapo
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