Two faces, two realities

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    ‘Yes, you have that right: these people are advocating for what is essentially an overthrow of a constitutionally-elected government so they could put Duterte in place as head, minus the annoying trappings of constitutional mandates and the rule of law.’

    THEY say that there are always two sides to every story. Sometimes, three or four. Our society is no different, and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted even more the stark differences that exist within our midst.

    On one hand, Overseas Filipino workers who were forced to come home endured longer quarantine periods (for some, more than a month) because of the long wait for the results of the PCR tests. A friend of mine waited almost two weeks just to get an appointment for testing from a private hospital, and waited another two weeks for the result. On the other, congressmen who were handpicked to watch President Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address were able to get the results of their tests in record time – so they could safely be around the Chief Executive.

    A healthcare worker’s tweet about an unidentified couple went viral on social media and broke the hearts of many who read it. The husband and wife were both admitted for severe cases of COVID-19, but there was only one bed available in the ICU. Doctors had to make a choice about who needed intensive care the most – the wife, being more critically ill, was given the slot. Sadly, she succumbed to the disease soon after. The choice was made not to inform the equally sick spouse, who was finally admitted to the ICU, not knowing that his wife’s passing allowed him to take the space. Meanwhile, a high official announced that he tested positive for the virus, and was whisked post-haste to the intensive care unit of an undisclosed hospital. While I do not wish this person any ill, I wonder how a bed was secured so quickly, given that most hospitals in the National Capital Region and nearby areas are running at full capacity, with tents being set up in parking spaces to accommodate the overflow of patients needing medical attention. Another friend mentioned that there is a sign that says “We are full” placed in a prominent position in the driveway of a hospital in Makati, while another said that the wait to see a doctor in the ER has extended to three days. How lucky are the chosen few to be able to get urgent medical attention at this time.

    On one hand, prominent opposition members, including Vice President Leni Robredo, were quickly the subject of a complaint for inciting to sedition on the say so of one man – the one known as “Bikoy,” who spun a tale of yarn so enthralling and fantastic that it didn’t need the corroboration of truth, fact, and logic. One wonders if Mr. Advincula was really the masked personality supposedly revealing all in the series of videos against the President and his son, or if even questions were asked to that effect – where, when, how – or whether his “truth” was swallowed hook, line, and sinker by the PNP because well, it implicates the opposition.

    On the other, you have a “private group” publicly calling for a revolutionary government to replace the current government with – wait for it – still President Duterte. Yes, you have that right: these people are advocating for what is essentially an overthrow of a constitutionally-elected government so they could put Duterte in place as head, minus the annoying trappings of constitutional mandates and the rule of law. What do they get? A meeting with the chief of the Philippine National Police, who demurred from joining their cause, and a non-committal statement from the palace along the Pasig River – it’s their opinion, and they are free to express it. And that’s about it folks: no recriminations, no reprisal, not even a peep of condemnation for inciting a revolution.

    Another cliché is out the window: “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” clearly does not apply to ordinary Filipinos just trying to survive the pandemic or those who are, in the words of the Filipino phrase: “Malayo sa kusina.” Clearly, in Dutertopia, there is only tapang at malasakit for those who are allied with the powers-that-be.

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