Friday, October 22, 2021

Batuhan: Hang in there

“Pumapatak na naman ang ulan sa bubong ng bahay,

Di maiwasang gumawa ng di inaasahang bagay,

Laklak ng laklak ng beer magdamagan

May kahirapan at di maiwasan

Mabuti pa kayang matulog ka na lang

At baka sumakit ang tiyan.”

GROWING up, my memories of youth are filled with the strains of music from the Apo Hiking Society.

Jim, Danny and Boboy’s ditties were the theme songs of many a teenage relationship and with Apo members having been known as smart, clean-living and rather amiable individuals, it is not difficult to see why they were such stratospheric icons in their heyday.

It did not hurt that the band’s members were also known for their patriotism and integrity. When the fight to topple the Marcos dictatorship heated up, the trio were always front and center of the struggle. Frequently attending rallies and mass demonstrations demanding for the ouster of the late president, they were also prominent during the final days leading to the Marcos’ flight. And then when it was time to rebuild from the rubble of the strongman, they were always visible with the democratic forces supporting the late president Corazon Aquino. In short, everyone had a lot of respect for the Apo, and all that they did and stood for.

It is small wonder then that Jim Paredes, arguably the band’s most prominent member, would continue his crusade for clean and democratic governance even today. Although it is clearly unpopular to support a popular president–albeit arguably popular for the wrong reasons–he still chose to stick his neck out and make his voice heard. At EDSA, where the anti-Marcos movement finally culminated, he was once again visible with like-minded citizens, this time protesting the actions of a figure whose track record of decency and civility is sketchy, at best.

Of course, being in the opposition is always risky business, especially in today’s world when digging for dirt is just a few clicks away and the cloak of anonymity for the perpetrator of dastardly deed is very difficult to pierce.

I am sure many of the President’s supporters–and by definition, Jim Paredes’ detractors, must have been beside themselves with glee when news of his “scandal video” broke out. To be fair, nothing of this barely resembles news and compared to the antics being displayed openly by the President, his close family and his entourage–this could be described as being rather lukewarm and tame. But for those baying for the blood of people who have the gall to take on their beloved president, anything to taint their good names is like manna from heaven.

And so it is that Jim Paredes was publicly embarrassed by his moment of indiscretion. None of the public have any business watching him do the business, but that did not stop the mob from acting like a mob.

And yet, what is this scandal really, but a totally private matter illegally made public? Of course, no one cares. St. Jim is a saint no more, never mind that the person they support against him is thousands of times a non-saint. Now they have a stick to beat Jim with, and rest assured, they will keep beating him with it.

It’s not fair to be subjected to ad hominem attacks and especially those that hurt the person’s family aside from the person himself. But then, this is part and parcel of the struggle that Jim knew full well he was getting himself into. So for a man whose life was dedicated to fighting evil and dictatorship, this too shall pass.

Hang in there, Jim. Not everyone is against you, though a vocal minority may make it seem like the whole nation is.


Belated birthday greetings to my dad, former National Labor Relations Commissioner Bernabe Batuhan, who celebrated his birthday on April 3, 2019.


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