Fish be with you

By: Reyshimar Arguelles

Only a graduate of Wanbol University could get away with saying the dumbest things. But it’s Wanbol University, which means to say, it’s an institution where you could still graduate even if you have an IQ less than that of a potato. And the fact that Tito Sotto was able to get elected with a Wanbol diploma says a lot – even though there’s not a single shred of substance in the words he ushers forth from under his moustache.

Seeing that people were quick to gang up on Sotto for his comments about itinerant fish gives hope that, at least, the online world isn’t totally desensitized from what goes on in the poisonous realm of politics. Memes poking fun at Sotto populated everyone’s newsfeeds last week amid talks of treason, collaboration, and impeachment hounding the Duterte administration. For all the naiveté and grandstanding he has practiced as the Senate President, Sotto has at least re-directed everyone’s attention to the lengths this government is willing to take just to defend its inexpedient relationship with the Peoples’ Republic of China.

There is collective anger that is rational and at once destructive to the administration’s agenda of appeasement. But from underneath the mirth and the rage we get from its supporters who try desperately to justify the country’s dealings with a regional hegemon, there are more disturbing things to be found in the situation that President Duterte has knowingly led us into.

Following the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese trawler, it took the administration a few days before it was able to make heads or tails of its official response. What it did, however, was to get its lackeys to deal with the damage control. Sure enough, none have done a very good job at covering for what has happened.

What they did achieve was to confirm the idea that the government won’t hesitate to drop all other arguments in trying oh so desperately to peddle the idea that Beijing is our friend. All that talk about an investigation is irrelevant on the outset if the President would later on capitulate on this imaginary idea that there would be an imaginary shooting war in the offing.

As if things won’t get any nonsensical, the President and his supporters have lost their marbles in interpreting what the constitution says about sovereignty. The justifications don’t end there. As if overnight, everyone on the side of the Duterte clique has become instant constitutionalists, believing that the words of the Constitution itself shouldn’t be taken word for word. This, no doubt, is a far cry from their assertion that the news organization Rappler violated constitutional provisions on foreign ownership.

It’s clear that the law is nothing but a plaything to people like Sotto and everyone else who submit themselves to the Duterte magic. It’s also clear that good intentions stand on a ground of malice when you’re dealing with countries that expect you to submit. This has been the reality countries like the Philippines will have to endure. International power struggles have reduced this country into a chess piece. And when you expect your leaders to “man up” against grotesque giants such as China and the United States, you are only fooling yourself in believing they’re looking after our best interests.

Cynicism is needed in looking past the supposed intentions of our leaders. They are not as upright as we thought them to be, given that they are prone to bending over when it’s necessary. The law becomes fluid as they twist it to fit their fancy, telling us that they’re doing so to preserve the common good, protect the welfare of the people, and other reasons that’s supposed to legitimize their being sworn protectors of the flag. What a bunch of malarkey!

If they’re going to twist the law and reinterpret it to fit their pro-China stance, then what makes us think that they won’t do the same to protect the interests of their political benefactors?