OPINION: Evelio Today

Duterte’s war on drugs has killed hundreds of alleged drug abusers in the streets, in broad daylight, often in public places. Come to think of it. It looks like it’s the same cold-blooded murder that killed Evelio Javier, in broad daylight, in the presence of the public in 1986.

It was the era of near defeat when Marcos tried to win his way against Cory. That time, Evelio made sure that Cory won in his province. But Marcos was a cunning, unrelenting, and vicious statesman. In his pursuit of eliminating Cory’s supporters, Evelio was singled out. The result was a gruesome death.

Despite the political turmoil during the Marcos’s regime, Evelio was imbued with the idea that politics is the concern of good and decent people. He saw how his province and people need him in those times. He realized that “it was preferable for the Antiqueños to have a leader in such times than none at all.”

Evelio fought against the dictatorship. He had noble dreams for his people. He intended that Antiqueños would be free from the claws of tyranny. The price was his life. And his death triggered the monumental EDSA Revolution that overthrew the dictatorship.

On his 34th death anniversary, many things about the Marcos regime seemed to make a flashback. During the martial law, many were made political prisoners. Critics were silenced. Newspapers were closed Now, the same thing happens. Leila Delima, a staunch critic of Duterte, was imprisoned. Ma. Lourdes Sereno, an opposition, was ousted from her post. Rappler, an online news agency, was crucified. And lately, ABS-CBN fears of non-renewal of license. Déjà vu, right?

There is an abuse of power in the present administration. This abuse of power has led to loss of innocent lives on a massive scale. We are governed by a leader with a wrong paradigm. This government tries to put down the voice of the people and the media. If we keep on holding our tongues, who else will speak out?

Evelio’s death was a ripple. The whole nation saw his blood-covered body. The horrors struck them that they decided to stop it. So the slogan, “tama na, sobra na, palitan na.” It was February 11 when Evelio died. Eleven days after his death, the People Power Revolution happened in Manila in 1986.

It’s such a bitter pride for a sweet sacrifice that an Antiqueno had made big waves to change the landscape of politics and governance in the Philippines. But three decades after Marcos, we elected another despotic, tyrant-ready leader who doesn’t like to be criticized for his mistakes. We forgot about the depravity of dictatorship that we even tried to install Bongbong Marcos as vice president. Plutarch Heavensbee (Mockingjay) said that “we are fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.” He was right. We totally forgot about the horrors of a regime led by a tyrant. We have the tendency to self-destruct by electing sociopaths, like a Daenerys Targaryen kind of mad. They are dangerous leaders. They make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. We do not deserve them.

Remember, Evelio died so we can be ushered into the new era of free speech and vibrant democracy. Did we value this gift? No, we didn’t. We forgot that Cory rebuilt the country out of Marcos’ scraps. We accused her of making the Philippines a poorer country than it was during the Marcos regime.

Evelio helped us gain this democracy. But we seem to forget the significance of his sacrifice because of our urge for money, power, influence and fame. The youth use different mediums now but instead of using it to make a positive influence, they use it to spread negativity, hide truths, and create physical and virtual chaos. We use our voice now to create violence, not peace. Peace and justice are slowly fading away. And some of us choose to stay quiet or remain blind because we are cowards who hide behind our apathy.

Thirty four years after Evelio died, we seem to bury in our memories the essence of his death. When random people are killed in the streets for alleged drug peddling, we don’t remember how and why Evelio died. If Duterte were Marcos’s stand-in, the unrightable wrong will remain as is.

Do we really remember why Evelio died? Yes, perhaps every February 11. But not in every single occasion when we are being enslaved by foreigners in our own hometown, in our own country. We do not remember when our local businesses are being murdered by the mushrooming malls owned by monopolizing foreigners. We do not remember even when our farmers cultivate the lands they don’t own in order to survive on a daily basis. We do not remember even when our right to know the truth is being defeated by fake news propagators and political propagandists.

We remained indifferent.


Author: theprismdaily

The Official Student Publication of University of Antique Main Campus

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