By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento
As an active KakamPINK, you might have met resistance to messaging about our candidate using documented facts such as her achievements, moral integrity and qualifications. Those who should know better are bedazzled and deceived by the historical revisionism of the Marcos Martial Law years and illusory promises of more gold to come. As Imelda R. Marcos declared: “Perception is real; truth is not.”
Tellingly, Imee Marcos was taking up Religious Studies at Princeton--the better to keep on manipulating the credulity of desperately poor Filipino peasants and laborers. Belief among the C-D-E socio-economic classes in “kulam, usog, sumpa, malas, dancing Sto. Nino sa batya, kambal na ahas o sanggol na dalag” is up there, along with the mass delusions of Tallano gold, and Yamashita treasure. Even in his post-WWII campaigns for congressman and senator, Marcos Sr. perpetuated the myth he himself had created that his supposedly heroic feats against the Japanese were due to an anting-anting Gregorio Aglipay of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente had bequeathed unto him. This anting-anting gave him super powers, like being bulletproof and invisible. From there, it was a short segue to Marcos’ claiming the Yamashita Treasure and the Tallano Gold as the sources of their family’s infinite wealth, and portraying himself and the First Madam as Malakas at Maganda personified.
Like fighting fire with fire, those behind the Facebook Page Kwentong Hiwaga have resorted to their own myth-making about Leonor Gerona Robredo, which is not sanctioned by her official campaign. Foremost, is the interpretation of a Nostradamus prophecy about a Lady of Light who will rise in the East to save her people. The name Leonor is supposed to translate from an unidentified language into “Giver of Light.” Her Gerona ancestors are said to have been members of the Index of Romana Pax, the nemesis of the mysterious, much maligned Illuminati. Today’s Illuminati Pinoy-style, are said to include the current administration and the SOD, in association with Mainland Chinese. Together they are responsible for such evils as taking over the West Philippine Sea, the manufacture and distribution of shabu, Styrofoam rice and fish preserved in formaldehyde. Not to be outdone by the Marcoses, the Gerona’s are also said to have some gold—but they’ve already been using this to do good, like to help the guerillas against the Japanese in WWII, and just like the PCSO, to pay the needy’s hospital bills.
Kuwentong Hiwaga also features numerology involving the number 3. The Philippine flag has 3 stars and Leni will be our 3rd woman president. She won 3 recounts of the 2016 vice presidential votes. Her birthdate, April 23, ends in 3, but if you add 4 for April, the 4th month to 2 and 3, that totals 9 which is 3 squared. May 9, election day, and June 30, inauguration day, have numerical dates which are also multiples of 3. On the other hand, the SOD was born in 1957. If you add the digits of his birth year together, they total 22, and 2 + 2 = 4 which in Chinese represents death. Thus 57% of the SOD’s staff were stricken with COVID-19, which all goes to show he brings malas.
The Kuwentong Hiwaga site is filled with warnings against malas, such as Huwag iboto ang lalaking adik—malas iyan! and that the Tallano Gold and the Yamashita Treasure are similarly cursed. Cursing God is also malas which was why after the father of the SOD’s running mate did it, COVID-19 struck the Philippines especially hard.
One wonders how effective this counter-messaging will be among those for whom Facebook is their major source of information. It’s like using a tiny bit of venom to create an antidote against a spreading poison, much like the way a vaccine may use cells of the bacteria or virus which causes the disease. The darkest hour is before the dawn. With the coming of a new day, hopefully everything will become clearer.
Menchu Aquino Sarmiento is an award-winning writer and a social concerns advocate. IRL (In Real Life) are short verbal pagmumuni-muni, the essay equivalent of fast fiction--but in real life. She really wants more Filipinos to care, and to do something legal and non-violent about it, preferably together, so that we act more like a civilized country, a mature democracy.