THE social networking sites were abuzz, we were again glued to the television for almost 12 hours, there was a hostage-taking and it had a bloody end.

The melodramatic among us cried to high heavens, shouting shame, shame, shame to the Filipinos. Others ranted at the police, stupid, stupid, stupid! And more blamed corruption for what it has done to our law enforcers. There's just so many people to blame.

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What didn't grab our attention was the uncontrollable mob of kibitzers who rushed to the bus soon after a policeman waved to signal the hostage taker, bemedalled former Police Senior Inspector Rolando del Rosario Mendoza has been taken down, killed.

The heavy rainfall, the fully armed policemen, and the whole situation itself was not enough to keep those "usizeros" on the fringes where they should have stayed. And that, for us, reflected what was going wrong in our country that has placed us right down on centerstage in a gripping hostage-drama involving a busload of foreign nationals that was aired worldwide.

Some had umbrellas, others just their regular clothes, but they just have to be right outside the bus because they just have to be there, to get a ringside view of what has happened now the gunman has been taken down, silenced forever.

The following day, we were glued again to the television watching Miss Universe and believing that in Venus Raj, the Philippines will recover from the grandiose crash the country suffered just the night before. And we jeered and rued at her answer; some castigating Venus for her fifth place finish.

The mob of rushing kibitzers at the end of the hostage drama the night before, and the prattling social networking site critiques of Ms. Raj the morning after -- spectators all.

And thus we ponder on what we really are.

Monday night, it was the police/government negotiators against disgruntled and desperate former policeman/hostages. We conduct our lives as Filipino citizens like there's always a game going on between two teams: the poor majority and the powerful rich, the landgrabbers and the poor indigenous peoples with their ancestral domains, the mountain dwellers and the multinational mining companies. The rest of us, however, are not part of the game because we prefer to be out there in the stands, watching.

We applaud, we jeer, we shout, we rant, and then we rush to bask in the glory of the winners' victory only to return another day at the stands to applaud, jeer, shout and rant and rush to the next winner. All throughout, we remain just spectators up there on the stands, coming down only to congratulate the winners and commiserate with the losers after the game is over.

How the police conducted themselves was pitiful, we say. How government handled the crisis was shameful, we say. But that is all after the crisis is over. We never cared if the police were not getting enough operational budget. We just handed over bribe money when the scalawags demanded for those. We have always been just passive members of our communities. As such, we have allowed government and police to be that way while we watched at the stands, jeering and cheering.

"You must be the change that you wish to see in the world," Mahatma Ghandi said, and that change can only come if we put an end to this spectator culture that we have nurtured among us, which has kept us glued on our television, cheering and jeering but doing nothing.

For as long as we don't own up to being part of the blame in what happened, we cannot expect our country to become any better.