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