The Lash., ca. 1863 (5574585348)ang talagang hinahanap ng Pilipino? Galing kay Sandra Cam (link), sa Kongresista (link), sa Senado (link), sa Presidente (link) o kaya kahit sa pampook na opisyal (link)? Sa huling nakalink, nakakatakot pa talaga ang konklusiyon ni Manolo Quezon: The most troubling about Arturo Lascañas is that he must surely be only one of many hitmen working for many local leaders with many more victims under their belts, applauded on the one hand by their constituents, and enjoying impunity because they are valuable allies for national leaders on the other. Meanwhile, anyone holding a contrary opinion is confronted with the possibility that expressing his mind could have lethal results. Sa madaling salita, kumontra ka sa isang meyor, baka patay ka. Sa bagay, baka malagay ka na rin sa drug list kung galit sa iyo ang barangay captain. Tama na siguro sa iilang mga may topak diyan na “nayayabangan” sila. Buti pang masigawan na lang ni Sandra Cam.

Pero kahit hindi ka matokhang, matroll o pakitaan ng pagkaastig ng mga iyan, puwede ka ring mabulok na lang kung saan-saan, tulad nitong iniistorya ni Joel Pablo Salud (link):  I and my wife once visited the resettlement houses built in Calauag, Laguna. Roughly 48,000 people were resettled there at the time from various parts of Metro Manila. Sure, they were given houses. But the promised living conditions, as well as opportunities for work, were denied them. These famillies, hard up as they were to put food on their tables, were forced to pay for their electricity bills (which came by way of generators), fetch supplies of water from miles away, and steal from neighbors if only to get by. Children as young as 12 took to prostituting their young bodies for cups of noodles and coffee. Husbands were also forced to make that trip back to Metro Manila for work, leaving their wives and children to fend for themselves. Gangs began their felonious job of controlling the villages. The houses were dilapidated structures, without ceilings, walls barely holding up the roofs, looking good on the outside but crumbling in the inside and infested by termites.. Crime allegedly rose in that part of Laguna as incidents of poverty and violence spiked.

Para na talagang mga favela ng Brazil o township ng South Africa ang mga lugar na ganyan. Hawak ng mga gang, pero para na ring mga gang leader ang kilos ng iilang mga local officials (ano pa nga ba iyong kung may mga hawak kang killer?) at halos ganoon na rin ang asta ng iilang mga mas mataas pang opisyales. Sa kanila ka dapat matakot – hindi sa batas o regulasyon. Dahil kung malakas ang kapit mo, marami sigurong paraan. Kung mahina ka naman sa matataas, maaring kawawa ka. Ibang mundo ito kaysa iyong mundo na nakabase sa batas na sinusundan ng mga tao.

Kapag nakikita ko ang Pilipinas ngayon, naiisip ko itong artikulo tungkol sa Sicily (link): being a Sicilian myself I have observed and thought about how power is articulated into the history of Sicily. If you notice, Sicilians look up to people and institutions that represent the power. The power is something to be feared, but also could allow you favours, and [those in power might share] some of the wealth. In a nutshell, I would say there is this kind of medieval relationship with power. Kapit, palakasan, dilihensiya. Kultura ng padriño at mga “inaanak”. At biktima.

Malay ko nga ba, baka naman iyong iilang mga “disente” diyan sa Pilipinas, mas suwabe lang kaysa iyong mga magagaspang na lumalabas ngayon. Iyong mga iilang disente diyan, baka katulad ng mga Corleone na may postura, samantalang iyong mga nasa poder ngayon, mas katulad ng medyo baduy at magaspang na Don na si Tony Soprano. Sabi ng maraming mga pabor sa gobyerno ngayon, ipokrito raw ang mga disente. Kung tama sila, sino pa ba diyan ang matino, magpakatiwalaan – at hindi lang ginagamit ng mga iba’t-ibang grupo diyan? Hindi ko pa ito masabi.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, ika-10 ng Marso 2017