I didn’t write about that infamous display of arrogance and brute power at a golf course that happened during the Christmas break because I have this thing against kicking a man when he is down. Fellow bloggers have already riled about it anyway and mainstream media have already picked it up. Jojo Robles has written about the incident in his column in this paper as well.
The whole thing is painful for them? They want people to be sensitive to their feelings? He actually thinks that bloggers are being unfair to them?
Either the man is hopelessly naïve, in which case, he has no business being in politics, or he is a total dimwit, in which case he should just shut up. Is this guy for real?
His sons and their bodyguards assaulted a 56-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy, for crying out loud. Mauled them to a pulp, some quarters reported. While armed to the gills.
This cannot and has not been disputed: The Pangandamans had the upper hand in that ugly incident. Coercive power was heavily stacked in their favor and unfortunately, they succumbed to one of the most hackneyed clichés ever: Coercive power is the last dirty word. Picture this in your mind: On one side, there were the two Pangandaman brothers and at least four bodyguards; on the other side, a 56-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy. And oh, Bambee de la Paz, a woman. And if this is not enough, consider the infamous public declaration of extreme political arrogance of one of the Pangandaman sons: Hindi n’yo ba kami kilala? (Don’t you know who we are?)
Anyone who cannot see why public empathy is on the side of the De la Paz family needs to have his or her heart examined.
The question of who instigated the fight or who was more arrogant on the golf course or at the club house is important, but not relevant anymore. I am not saying arrogance and provocation are not germane to the whole discussion; what I’m saying is that first, these things are subjective and typically denigrate into a battle of credibility. Second, I don’t think there’s a kind of provocation that deserves that kind of brutal assault. Particularly since the Pangandamans are in politics and are supposedly public servants, people who mouth slogans about how public service is a public trust. Their father also happens to be a Cabinet secretary, which, in case they have forgotten, is required to measure up to an even more stringent standard of public behavior as an alter ego of the highest official of the land.
But rather than bow their heads in shame, keep their mouths shut, and at least go through the motions of projecting remorse in the midst of the expected public outrage, the Pangandamans were initially defiant. They first projected themselves as the victims in the whole sordid affair. And then, when it became apparent that there was no frigging way anyone in his right mind would buy that story, they turned to buttressing their defense by obfuscating facts. One such squid tactic being done is to provide a racial spin to the incident and turn it into a Muslim-versus-Christian thing. Another has been the attempt to paint the Pangandamans as the epitome of virtues.
Pangandaman was reported to have said that he had asked his family not to respond to the criticisms and the angry blogs. But in the same breath, he maintained that his family is still studying the possibility of filing countercharges against the De la Paz family. This is the kind of conflicting, even hypocritical, message that is not earning them any brownie point at all. What kind of a person issues a public apology and in the same breath washes his hands in public of any accountability and, worse, hints at getting back at the complainants?
Perhaps the honorable Cabinet secretary is not aware of what’s happening around him just as he was reported to have been oblivious to the mauling incident which happened in his presence. Contrary to what he wants us to believe, his family, or at least their supporters, is not exactly sitting out the attacks in the blogosphere like, well, sitting ducks. They, or at least their supporters, are also out there in the blogosphere deftly countering, disputing, deflecting, and obfuscating the issues. Oh please, it is quite obvious that there is orchestrated campaign in the blogosphere against the De la Paz family as well.
If Pangandaman wants absolution from the people, there is a simpler way to get it: Through sincerity and contriteness. It wouldn’t have hurt if we read about the secretary chastising his sons or their bodyguards in public as well. He should also stop whining about how the whole thing is unfair to him or his family.
Like I said, there is no chance that people will see them as the victims in this whole imbroglio. He may or may not be directly and personally guilty of it, but unfortunately for him, there’s just too much unwarranted political arrogance happening today in this country. And what his sons and their bodyguards did to the 56-year-old man and 14-year-old boy was exactly the kind of political arrogance that deserves public outrage.