BION: I totally agree with Trillanes

TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - May 18, 2020 - 12:00am

I have never ever previously written about Antonio Trillanes in which I have not been critical of him. I disdain and loathe the guy for his arrogance and self-righteousness. He is quarrelsome and unreasonable. And he once took up arms against the very government he, as a soldier then, was duty bound and sworn to protect. Had that caper escalated, he would have put the lives of all Filipinos, my family included, in grave peril.

But believe it or not, I find myself agreeing with him on the folly, the stupidity, the madness, and the senselessness of the police in arresting a man from Agusan del Norte for calling President Duterte "buang" in a Facebook post. In all probability, the guy was Bisaya, just as the president is. To us mga Bisaya, the use of the word "buang" is more of an expression, as an expletive, than as a characterization.

Duterte himself loves to use the word because, as a Bisaya, he understands perfectly its nuances. But granting the poor guy arrested by the police truly meant to describe Duterte in its literal English translation which is crazy, so what? Where is the offense there that merited his arrest? Are the police crazy?

Calling Duterte crazy is not the same as offering a reward of millions to anyone who can kill the president, as what two fools did and belatedly found out. The two are now in jail and facing charges for their foolishness. Even if said in jest, as they claimed, a threat just cannot be taken lightly. Not even if you are just threatening your own self, like standing on the ledge of a building as if ready jump. The authorities will certainly take you down.

A threat against the president, or anyone, even as a joke, cannot be taken lightly. That is why you cannot shout “fire” in a cinema or “bomb” in a plane. But to call the president crazy is funny, even if said in all earnestness. Only fools take it seriously, which is why Duterte himself should order the policemen who effected the arrest to have their heads examined. "Buang" is pablum compared to the far worse things they are calling the president.

Look, if the police really have to be that zealous in wanting to ensure the safety of the president, maybe they should start doing some real sleuthing into who is behind the spate of online threats against Duterte. I just do not buy the scuttlebutt that some people are just kidding when they offer money to kill Duterte. I think it is part of a grand scheme, a set-up to draw the president into a situation with little wiggle room.

I think somebody is pushing people to do such crazy things as threatening the president to bait the authorities into making arrests, as they should. Just look at what happened after the arrests. The usual noisemakers are again at it, the arrests having given them reason to criticize the president and the government, accusing them of the usual allegations of oppression and repression.

I have a nagging suspicion that COVID-19 having deprived anyone of any real reason to keep criticizing the president and the government who are doing what they can for everyone, the enemies of the state have to be really inventive and ingenious to keep waging their protracted war to bring the established order down. So what better way to do it than to instigate arrestable offenses and then cry repression in the aftermath?

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