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Roxas Resign!

By: Raymund Fernandez September 20,2016 - 09:03 PM


If Mar Roxas won the presidency, media would certainly have been just as critical of him as they are of the current president. Likely, even more.

The claim that media is critical of the sitting president is correct. It is the job of media to be critical of sitting presidents. And, of course, the accusation that it is biased against the incumbent is easy to make. Seldom does that accusation ever have meaningful basis. When the supporters of incumbent political leaders call for a boycott of certain media, they show only a lack of understanding of how media and democracy work.

Media is divisive. But it is the work of media to divide categories of information and their adherents. In a democracy, political decisions derive from choice. Good people try to make their choices on the basis of fact and truth but these are always hard to pin down, they are contested ground, often even indeterminate. Choice inside a democratic system is not obligated to fact and truth. It is obligated only to opinion.

Responsible media working inside a democratic system ought to obligate itself to fact and truth; but above this, its primary obligation is to function freely. To prove its freedom, it must always look at political leaders with a critical eye. And this allows for inevitable bias.

Thus, if Mar Roxas were president and he embarked on an adventure of allowing, even encouraging, extrajudicial killings for whatever reason; I would certainly protest. I expect my peers in media to do the same thing.

I am biased this way. I protested death squads in the time of Marcos as in the times after him. Extra -judicial killings are wrong because they erode the collective respect not only for human rights but for the police and judicial institutions of government. To engage in a war on crime by employing criminal acts is self-defeating and anachronistic. And if Mar Roxas pursued this project, I would call him an idiot and put that down in writing.

And if this project targeted mainly the poor in the slums, then I would take him to task for being anti-poor. For if Mar went into a project of cleansing our slums from addicts and pushers without exerting even the slightest effort to curb the poverty there; I would certainly call him an oligarch who has deluded himself. Making the middle class feel safer in their gated subdivisions and condos by extrajudicially killing off the poor in the slums achieves nothing. Such an act crosses over to the dark side.

Such an act will have grave historical consequence. It threatens not only to return us to the time of Marcos’ martial law, it threatens to return us to the time immediately before that.

Only a few of us remember the chaos of those times. But I remember clearly how those were a time when there was virtual anarchy in the streets.

This anarchy manifested itself in an almost total lack of governance resulting in further eroding collective trust in government institutions especially the judiciary and the police.

And all this happened inside a situation of palpable tension between the rich and poor of the country. We applied a name to this situation. Between each other we called it a “revolutionary situation.”

And we called it that because it resulted from a long history of poverty and oppression exacerbated by corrupt government regimes led by oligarchs who placed the goals of holding on to power and amassing wealth above their obligation to cure the country’s ills. In the end, poor people realized as they might realize the most abject motive for violent change: We have nothing to lose but our chains!

And if he ever came this close to setting this particular historical precedent for violent change, I would certainly call him a fool. I would call for Mar Roxas to resign.

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TAGS: EJK, Mar Roxas, media, resign

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