Saturday, October 16, 2021

Velez: Our world of secrets


BETTER break it down, in the world of secrets, in the world of sounds.”

This line from the Tears for Fears’ Break it Down Again resonate as secrets are being spilled onto our digitized screens this past week.

First, there was Jim Paredes, 67-year-old Apo Hiking Society alumnus, whose private video chat and self-pleasuring was spilled online to the delight and jeers of the people who hated his self-righteous swag and his being an apologist of the previous president.

He was man enough though to bare himself (figuratively) online and apologize for his mistake.

He made that statement on April Fools’ Day. Some may think he was the fool, but what about those who feasted on and shared his video?


But more secrets are spilling out. A series of videos from an anonymous former drug runner dragged the presidential son to the narcotics trade.

Then a report from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) came out, revealing some irregular reports from the presidential family’s wealth.

First, about those videos. This has a problem of veracity of its source and its message. Is the “whistleblower,” whose face is hidden in the video, real? Is that “tara” or ledger of bank transactions real?

Given that our country has been turned upside down by the President’s war on narcotics, this “story” drags all facts and fiction further, like many conversations and debates where we believe on our own version of truth.

The only true thing happening are the deaths of the poor who were dragged into this trade out of desperation. The people behind this trade remain in the dark.

Or perhaps the recent Supreme Court ruling to release the “tokhang” records could shed some light on how real this war is.


The PCIJ report, though, is verifiable, having done its homework of poring over statements of assets and liabilities (SALNs) and other records of the President, the daughter-mayor and son-former vice mayor.

It reported an increase in each of their net worth while they held office. Their assets, though, are muddled in vague terms, such as donated properties. Sara’s law firm with her husband, which has been operating for over 10 years, is not registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The President said this is nothing new since all documents are public and they have been scrutinized since day one. But that still leaves more questions unanswered.


Sadly, while these secrets become topics of debate between Duterte defenders and critics, the more open issues such as the massacre of 14 farmers in a police operation in Negros, the Chico Dam deal, and Duterte’s threat of revolutionary war remain in silence.


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