Episode 31: Topsy Turvy

In a Blogwatch article,  I discussed the actions of Pio Mijares, the Ateneo de Naga student who was recently arrested for disrupting the celebration rites of our Independence Day last June 12.

See what I did there?

If you compare what I just wrote to other descriptions of Mijares’ arrest (using Google, of course; I’m not about to give other *ahem* questionable blogs a free ride), you should easily spot what I wrote differently: rather than state that Mijares was arrested for “heckling PNoy,” I wrote that he was arrested for disrupting the celebration rites.

Does it make any real difference?


By framing the arrest in the context of heckling, we begin with, and subsequently reinforce the idea, that the heckling itself, and not the disruption caused, is the reason for the arrest. I believe I exhausted that argument in my Blogwatch article, and by now it should be clear that far from being penalized for his speech, Mijares is being charged with “tumults and other disturbances of public order” for the disruption he caused. In other words, he could have been shouting “ANG IIIIIIINEEEEEEET!” or “I LOVE YOU <insert name of girl here>,” and it wouldn’t have made a difference; he could’ve been charged anyway, because free speech is not at issue in the charge of tumults and other public disturbances.

So why does it keep getting framed as a free speech issue?

Because my general rule of reasoning is that I attribute to stupidity things that may otherwise be attributed to malice, my initial answer would be that many people simply cannot distinguish between protected speech and unprotected (even penalized) conduct. Some cannot separate the act of shouting from the act of disruption, and so go about their discourse assuming they are inseparable, if not one and the same.

As simple as stupid sounds, talking about the malice is inevitable.

Of course, there are some who may have other motives for wanting the focus to be on free speech. Take the Fascist Left, for example.  They have milked the Mijares incident dry, even calling for a presscon for Mijares (in which Mijares gets relatively less airtime than his FL compatriots). Must be a slow day at the picket lines; after all, ever since latching on to the issue of PDAF, they rode that horse until it could no longer move, and until it died – and then they kept kicking it, even up to Independence Day.

Stop kicking that dead horse, folks.

Perhaps the most amusing thing about how the FLs have taken advantage of Mijares’ fifteen minutes of fame is the lengths they will go to just to make sure that Mijares’ arrest and charges are tied directly to PNoy – despite documentary and personal accounts to the contrary, and without proof to back their claims. Proof be damned, facts be damned; because Mijares is being punished for his SPEECH, and PNoy is PIKON!!!!!!!!111!1!1!1!!!1!!

Somewhere in the afterlife, Goebbels is smiling.

It would be a simple thing for Mijares to simply face the charges – he’s also charged with direct assault for resisting his arrest – and prove his innocence before a court. In fact, Mijares has made such a statement publicly, that he is ready to face his charges. But it an odd juxtaposition of roles, it is now the FLs who clamor for the charges against Mijares to be dropped.

Now, think about that for a minute. Here is Mijares, caught in flagrante delicto, and they want him freed, all charges dropped. Yet there goes 3 senators, all charged with plunder, and the FLs want them in jail for something we have yet to prove they did?

Something feels wrong here.

Don’t get me wrong. I would love nothing more than to see all those involved in the PDAF scam be hauled off to court and found guilty. But is this really how we want to do this? We’re all great at wanting to “jail all,” and we’ll even call out the President on alleged coddling, but when push comes to shove, we will refuse to let one of our own spend a day in jail, even if what he or she did may be criminal.

Talk about selective justice.

It would be easy to dismiss FLs as hypocrites, but I suspect that the problem is far more fundamental. An upcoming article on Blogwatch might be a better springboard to discuss this, but suffice it to say for the time being that in trying to fight the monster known as “patronage politics,” it seems that these so-called “progressive” groups have slowly turned into the very monster they strove to defeat.

Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.

― Friedrich Nietzsche


One response to “Episode 31: Topsy Turvy

  1. Ironic that there were at least 3-5 K (?) people, depending on who released d reports, marched & shouted along MM streets, carrying bonggacious effigies, even burning some of them, carrying banners & shouting d same- “OUST PNOY”, “Patalsikin si PNoy”, & other slogans wc only only aimed in shaming & demeaning d president. But it didnt made so much news as this Bicol incident. If there were pple taken into custody in MM, well they might as well hav disappeared coz they werent bailed out & presented to the media ala presscon.
    Does this mean that if u conduct ur rally & protest by book, u wouldnt make the news?
    Some of d members of these grps have become d trapo we all hated.
    Who said the student had no right to say what he said? Those who rallied on d streets shouted worse. But these new form of trapos intentionally, albeit disgustingly, chose instead to highlight d no argument freedom of speech, NOT where & how this student decided to do his ” freedom of speech”.
    Comparing PNoy’s reaction to other foreign leaders on how they reacted re- hecklers, PNoy chose to ignore. He has his own freedom also to choose how he reacts. If u dont want his style, som1 from this grp better run& win d election so he or she can “act” acc to what u say PNoy should’ve acted.
    It was d local police who filed d case but this grp keep on harping PNoy should interfere & tell those guys to drop case &let it go. Srsly? now u can never use d word meddling again vs PNoy.
    Ironic that a well planned ( no scrimping on d cost of effigies, banners & tarps – hakot crowds fr ur local trapos) announced 2 all forms of media, w/ celebrities even as guests – didnt get d attention- imo only- they were hoping it would. so they all have to ride on this incident to stretch d news about them.
    Too many agendas broke d camels’ back. Too many cooks spoiled d broth…

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