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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Alamon: Teddy’s confessions

I’VE been reading Teddy Boy Locsin, Jr. since high school and college when he wrote the front page editorial pieces on the now-defunct Today broadsheet and I have been a fan ever since. He stands as among the most original and courageous voices in Philippine journalism and he has invaded new media, particularly the twitterverse by storm. Whoever is at the opposite end of his wit is sure to wilt and be forced to crawl under a rock.

It is easy to dismiss the controversial tweet of his as another one of his brusque repartees that everyone awaits with bated breath and popcorn. Commenting on the 30th Edsa anniversary celebrations, Teddy Boy quipped that only the communists fought the dictatorship of real consequence and not any of those appropriating its gains 30 years later. This raised the rankle of many who believe that everything that is true, good, and beautiful in this nation can only come from the jaundiced camp. It goes against the grain of popular consciousness which erroneously ascribes the defeat of the dictatorship to those few days at Edsa.

Such is the power of the myth that some sectors are even threatening to catapult a former president to sainthood on the basis of the miracle that was Edsa – a matter that the journalist corrects even if he was known to have been within her inner circles then.

Proof that this was a matter that he felt strongly about, Locsin dedicated an extended and impassioned diatribe on the matter in a recent segment of his popular “Teditorial” on nightly cable news. Here, he makes clear his point that it was the communists who fought and won against the dictatorship by sacrificing their well-being and security within the torture chambers inside military camps and waging an armed revolution in the countryside long before those miraculous days at Edsa.

He called them “Soldiers of the Night,” the unknown yet the heroic who kept the fire of resistance burning when most everyone were cowering in fear or were seeking concessions from the dictatorship for their own and their families’ safety and comfort.

A whole generation of the best and brightest of the nation turned their backs on life in the mainstream to work and live with the masses from the margins. For them, it was the most effective way not just to rid the country of the dictatorship but also to usher in comprehensive social change.

It is a point that remains unacknowledged by the official historiographies about the dark period of our country’s recent history. Historical evidences abound to support this claim. It was the communists who first showed resistance within the campuses of the University of the Philippines immediately after the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. They were also the group that displayed the first organized open defiance by the launching of the strike in La Tondena in 1975.

Of course, many areas in the Philippine countryside were transformed into liberated zones which represented in concrete terms the growing achievements not just of the anti-dictatorship struggle but also of the movement for comprehensive social change.

Teddy’s argument is really simple, the middle class and a section of the elite would not have found the courage to resist the Marcoses if the communists did not lead the way. He went so far as declare that the communists were close to achieving military victory at this time which eventually created the political conditions for the strongman’s ouster. To save American-sponsored democracy, the US had to step in by throwing its support to the yellow bloc of Cory and when the situation called for it, diffuse the seething social tension by providing an exit for the Marcoses with their loot.

Eventually, the section of the elite to which Teddy Boy Locsin, Jr. belongs to hijacked the ouster of the dictatorship with their People Power sidelining the decades of struggle by the communists from the emerging national discourse. The event ushered the return of the oligarchic elite whose stranglehold over the nation’s political institutions and economic resources remain firm till the present.

The journalist was and never will be a comrade given his ideological dispositions and intellectual inclinations. At best, he is a maverick but staunch liberal who at that time, may have been worried about the impending ascent of the armed left into power like many sections of the disenfranchised national elite. In a manner of speaking, the impassioned editorial and the controversial tweet can be regarded as a coded confessional about the real motives behind the so-called “Edsa People Power Revolution.”
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